Medify, Incubated at Voyager Capital, Raises $1.3M to Reshape Health IT for Consumers

It’s not quite two guys in a garage getting their big break, but it’s close. Medify, a healthcare IT startup incubated at Seattle-based Voyager Capital, said today it has raised $1.3 million in first-round venture funding. Voyager put in $1 million, and the rest was from angel investors and the founders. The stealth company is led by Derek Streat, former vice president, and Jay Bartot, former vice president of Farecast (now part of Microsoft’s Bing).

Medify bills itself as “data-driven care management” for consumers. It’s too early to get into many specifics about the company’s technology, but let’s just say it is off to a pretty compelling start. Streat, the business guy, and Bartot, the technical lead, have been working on the company since late last year when Bartot left Microsoft. He had previously co-founded Netbot and AdRelevance before working on the travel site Farecast (from the early days through its $115 million acquisition by Microsoft in 2008). Streat, for his part, began his career as an investment banker, joined in its early days, and co-founded AdReady, before getting into social technology entrepreneurship.

Streat met Bartot while working on Unitus New Ventures, a social innovation vehicle for companies in developing countries, which he helped start in 2008. The two connected over “understanding data-oriented businesses, and how to build community around those things and extract value for those things for consumers,” Streat says.

In 2009, tragedy struck when Streat’s two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with glomerular nephritis, a life-threatening kidney disease. Streat and his wife put in hundreds if not thousands of research hours, trying to understand the disease and how to manage their daughter’s care. “It’s a mountain we’ll be climbing for the rest of our lives, at least until the technology changes,” he says. “This is hands down the most complicated, information intensive, and most important project of our lives.”

That was the impetus for Streat to start building Medify. The idea is to provide online software tools to families so they can gain control over illnesses and health issues in an efficient way—whether it’s caring for their children, say, or their aging parents. The basic idea, as I understand it, is to put all the tools in one place, so a family member can go online, access the medical literature and other information about a particular ailment, connect it to their loved one’s medical history and condition, and also connect with family, friends, and others across a support network. That sure beats doing endless Google searches and joining separate health and wellness social networks (of which there are plenty).

Medify is interesting because it will play in a consumer niche that connects across many other types of health IT systems, from media and content sites like WebMD to medical record systems like Microsoft HealthVault to community sites such as PatientsLikeMe. But Medify seems to have … Next Page »

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