Feb 1, 2022 - Health

Remote patient monitoring is raking in venture funding

Red cross with hospital windows

As COVID-19 dials up demand on health systems large and small, startups offering to unload some of the burden with digital devices are raking in the cash.

The big picture: Most recently, Athelas, a remote patient monitoring company, raised $132 million in two back-to-back rounds led by General Catalyst (GC) and Tribe Capital, respectively, GC managing director Hemant Taneja tells Axios.

Why it matters: Once reserved for isolated scenarios, remote patient monitoring (RPM) is rapidly becoming a common practice among hospitals seeking to provide care outside of their four walls.

Details: Silicon Valley-based Athelas, which made its name with a finger-prick blood testing device for immunocompromised patients, raised $72 million from GC, then bagged an additional $60 million from Tribe that tipped its valuation from $1.53 to $1.56 billion, Athelas co-founder and CEO Tanay Tandon tells Axios.

  • Starting with acutely immunocompromised people "was a great wedge to get us into health care facilities, and that helped us expand into broader infrastructure for chronically ill patients," says Tandon.
  • The round follows significant venture capital raises from rival RPM companies, Cadence and Medically Home. Cadence closed a $100 million round in December, while Medically Home raised $110 million earlier this month.

Between the lines: Athelas is closely following the playbook of Livongo, a digital health company Taneja co-founded out of General Catalyst's offices that sold to Teladoc for $18.5 billion in 2020.

  • Like Livongo, Athelas started with a deep and singular effort in immunocompromised people, and has since expanded to other conditions and use-cases — something that drew Taneja's interest.
  • Similarly, Athelas' Tandon was drawn to GC's Taneja "for his deep health system expertise and to be a partner when it comes to innovating in a responsible way," he says.

Our thought bubble: We expect to start seeing RPM companies begin carving up the map as each strikes up contracts with clinics and health systems.

  • Perhaps some will dominate the Northeast, for example, while others partner mostly with clinics in the West or South.

The bottom line: Remote health tools will continue to rise in popularity because of their role in maintaining safety, reducing inequity, and improving health system efficiency.

  • "The health care system is transforming," Taneja says. "That train has left the station."

Erin Brodwin co-authors the Axios Pro Health Tech deals newsletter. Subscribe at AxiosPro.com.

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