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Exclusive: Virtual care enabler Capable raises $6 million

Illustration of a hand tapping an app icon with a medical cross

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Capable Health, maker of a plug-and-play software platform for nascent virtual care startups, raised $6 million in seed funding to expand its provider portfolio, CEO Peter MacRobert tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Many digital health companies build their apps from scratch, a lengthy process that often involves complex puzzles of separate components. Capable is among a small but rapidly expanding number of startups aiming to ease the process with an out-of-the-box platform.

Details: M13 led Capable's seed funding round and was joined by AlleyCorp and Able Partners.

Driving the news: The recently passed federal rule banning information blocking gives patients unprecedented access to their health data and that lit a fire under the virtual care sector.

  • "These businesses are all building from zero and it's like, why? If you were building an e-commerce business you wouldn’t start from scratch," MacRobert says.

How it works: Capable's software platform lets providers build and grow HIPAA-compliant digital clinics, and offers them tools for...

  • Patient onboarding
  • Care plan creation
  • Patient-provider messaging and video chat

Meanwhile, New York-based Capable has partnerships with other HIPAA-compliant companies that startups can use to add tasks like scheduling and lab and prescription ordering.

By the numbers: Capable says its customers get set up in roughly eight weeks, compared to the five to seven months other entrepreneurs in the sector tell Axios they spend building their foundations.

  • The company has 12 customers including New York-based Alloy, a women's telehealth startup focused on menopause, and Cleared, a digital pharmacy for allergies.

💭 Our thought bubble: Capable reminds us a bit of two other digital health infrastructure companies — Wheel and Zus Health, which launched with a bold plan to become both the common platform digital health companies use to build their tools and a unified health record.

What they're saying: The health tech enablement wave has begun. Following earlier phases of the digital health transformation — which largely centered on consumer and provider-focused businesses — the current phase is seeing a proliferation of foundation-building companies for entrepreneurs, experts tell Axios.

  • The industry is "now big enough to need its own enablement platforms — the picks-and-shovels players," says Ruby Gadelrab, CEO and founder of MDisrupt, a platform that connects digital health founders to sector experts.
  • "The public markets may be bearish at the moment on telemedicine [but] I’m still long term bullish on the infrastructure opportunities in digital health," says Deena Shakir, a partner at Lux Capital with a range of investments in the space.

What's next: Shakir says health tech infrastructure businesses have a bright future as enablers of the sector's next wave.

  • "These companies have the opportunity to become the Stripe, AWS, Shopify, etc. for digital health," she adds.
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