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Exclusive: Nitra raises $62M seed for doctor payment platform

Illustration of a credit card shaped like a health plus.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Launching a Visa Business card for physicians, fintech startup Nitra raised $62 million in debt and equity, CEO Jonathan Chen tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Health care's outdated payments ecosystem means doctors rely heavily on manual tasks and accountants to buy medical supplies and handle office upkeep — cutting into the time they spend on patient care.

  • "When it comes to the small- and medium-sized business owner — or in this instance, a doctor running their own clinic — they don’t have access to the financial services that cover what they need," says K50 Ventures partner Ryan Bloomer.

Deal details: Of the total funds, roughly $16 million is equity financing from Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates, Pantera Capital, KB Financial Group, Jerry Yang/AME Cloud Ventures and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, according to Chen.

  • CoVenture provided a $45 million debt facility, he adds.
  • The debt-heavy nature of the fundraise is a favorable funding structure for cash-intensive corporate credit card businesses, as equity can be expensive, Chen says.
  • Primer Sazze Partners, SparkLabs Taipei and Global, Dunamu, Expa, Soma Capital, Slope Capital, K50 Ventures, 8090 Partners, Comma Capital, Gaingels and Gold House Ventures also joined the round.

What's next: Chen says he plans to use the current funds to establish Nitra among a few hundred clinics.

  • Nitra aims to raise a Series A (size TBD) in a few months, as well as extend its debt facility "into the hundreds of millions."
  • Chen sees Nitra as a natural acquirer in the medical vendor space, saying "we are definitely thinking about the M&A track."
  • "There are a lot of niche companies targeting specific vendors and that’s an avenue we want to explore — purchasing another company as opposed to building that ourselves," he adds.

State of play: Infrastructure-based startups have boomed in the last two years, with companies emerging to handle back-end tasks in health care. Possible takeover targets for Nitra could include:

  • Heard, a startup that handles therapists' bookkeeping, payroll and tax services in May raised $10 million in Series A funding.
  • Tomorrow Health, which contracts with health care payers to match patients with medical vendors, in June raised $60 million in Series B funding.

How it'll work: Nitra's first product is a Visa Business card custom-built for physicians that lets them earn rewards on things like medical and surgical supplies and office and business upkeep.

  • The card's cash back rewards percentage is 2.2%, Chen says.
  • Current partners include health care vendors and suppliers Jaanuu, PatientPop, Betty Mills, DirectShifts, Vitality Health and Dealmed.

💭 Our thought bubble: New York-based Nitra is homing in on the spend management trend we've seen pioneered by fintech companies including Brex and Ramp — only with features tailored to physicians.

  • Given Brex's recent exit from the SMB market where a lot of independent physicians operate, Nitra has more opportunity to scale.

What we're watching: In the near future, the company plans to roll out a full suite of integrated medical software and supply chain tools for physicians — allowing users to pay bills, do everyday accounting, apply for loans and insurance on medical equipment, and handle payroll.

  • For now though, "the goal is to get to as many clinics as possible," Chen says.

Lucinda Shen contributed reporting.

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