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Former HCA execs land $4M for hospital bed management

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Feb 20, 2024
Illustration of a woman in a hospital gown made from a one hundred dollar bill sitting on an examination bed.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

UnityAI, a startup aimed at helping hospitals better manage bedside operations, raised a $4 million seed, CEO Edmund Jackson tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Hospitals are struggling to discharge recovering patients to new settings, reducing overall health system capacity.

What's happening: Max Ventures led the round, alongside a co-investment from existing (and largest) backer Whistler Capital.

  • Nashville Capital Network and Company Ventures also participated.
  • Funds are designed to last 12–18 months as the Nashville-based company grows its R&D team, Jackson says.

How it works: Developed by Jackson, Cody Hall and Jason Parker — all former data scientists at HCA Healthcare — UnityAI uses machine learning and large-language model to streamline daily hospital workflows.

  • The patient discharge process, for example, involves moving pieces like post-acute placement, durable medical equipment needs and medication management instruction.
  • Using UnityAI's platform, providers can identify specific patient needs and coordinate with other team members quickly to discharge, says Jackson.

What's next: The company is evaluating product market fit with a few large hospital networks in Nashville, Jackson says.

  • "We expect to be in tens to dozens of hospitals by the end of the year," he adds.

What they're saying: Max Ventures has seen a lot of decks for new health care AI companies, says partner Ryan Darnell. The UnityAI founders' backgrounds helped it stand out.

  • "From his time at HCA, his time in health care, [Jackson] knows exactly what the problem is. He knows exactly how these hospitals operate," Darnell says.

Between the lines: Bed management operations can differ significantly depending on the size and location of a health system, which could make customization and implementation more challenging for UnityAI.

Yes, but: Jackson says that's part of the problem.

  • "We believe that there are some standard things that should be implemented in a similar way across hospitals," Jackson says.
  • "So we're building a portfolio of playbooks ... which can then be adjusted" using generative AI, he adds.

State of play: Startups deploying AI to streamline and automate hospital operations have attracted investor dollars in recent months.

  • Last November, General Catalyst merged portfolio companies Commure and Athelas with a $70 million investment, purporting to create an AI-powered, integrated hospital operating system.
  • In January, Artisight raised a $42 million Series B from Nvidia and other undisclosed investors for a smart hospital platform, pairing IoT sensors and machine learning.
  • Last October, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz teamed up to back Hippocratic AI, which offers providers AI-patient simulation models to boost medical learning. (Though the company has kept mum on specific applications to date.)
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