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Exclusive: Hello Heart pulls in $70M

May 2, 2022
Illustration of an EKG line coming out of a heart shape.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Hello Heart, a digital therapeutic startup, raked in $70 million in Series D funding led by Stripes growth equity, the Menlo Park-based company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and it also tops the charts from a cost perspective. Identifying risks early or managing symptoms in a way that is convenient — ie. the Hello Heart app — can act as a big boost on heart health.

  • "Our mission is to empower people to understand and self-improve heart health," co-founder Maayan Cohen says. "We do it by using technology and behavioral science."

By the numbers: The Stripes-led capital infusion brings Hello Heart's total funding to date to about $140 million. IVP, Resolute and BlueRun Ventures joined in the round.

  • The funding follows a $45 million Series C round in May 2021, led by IVP, which pushed its post-money valuation to almost $295 million, per PitchBook.
  • Hello Heart declined to disclose where its latest capital infusion pushes valuation, but Cohen says it has more than doubled since its last round.

State of play: Government agencies have cast a light on the problem, triggering employers to act, and generating more demand for offerings like Hello Heart's.

Yes, and: Hypertension rates and mortality rates associated with heart disease is dramatically higher in underserved populations, creating an opportunity to address health inequity.

  • Employers are looking at DEI solutions to fill these gaps in care, Cohen says. "It's time to start looking at which populations are underserved and addressing their needs as well."

How it works: Hello Heart offers a blood pressure monitor and an app that, using AI-based technology, tracks blood pressure, pulse, medications, weight and activity.

  • The app provides real-time alerts and encourages engagement with health care professionals to prevent symptoms from developing into more serious issues. (Hello Heart boasts the highest engagement rate in the category.)
  • A report by The Validation Institute illustrates its cost savings to employers.

What's next: The funding is about growing to keep up with accelerating demand from employers, Cohen says.

  • "With the pandemic wearing off and mental health solutions already in place," Cohen says, "this is the next big thing" that employers are being pushed to prioritize.
  • Hello Heart has doubled its customer base since the start of the year, and aims to double that footprint again by the end of the year, Cohen says.

Plus, Hello Heart plans to expand beyond blood pressure tracking and management, evolving into platform addressing overall heart health.

  • That means getting into tracking for hyperlipidemia and cholesterol, AI-driven digital coaching for hyperlipidemia and medication reminders, for example.
  • M&A may be a lever to help it get there, Cohen notes.

Context: For Cohen, the genesis of Hello Heart, founded in 2013, is personal.

  • Cohen says she spent hours online each day trying to educate herself after her then-boyfriend was diagnosed with a brain tumor 12 years ago.
  • "During this experience, I learned that people just don't have any tools to understand and improve their own health."
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