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Exclusive: Summer Health grabs $12M for pediatric support

Illustration of a blue teddy bear with orange band-aid on its arm.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Pediatric telehealth messaging startup Summer Health raised an $11.65 million Series A, CEO Ellen DaSilva tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Fewer doctors are going into pediatrics while parents grapple with soaring child care costs and worsening pediatric mental health.

Zoom in: New backer 7wire Ventures and previous investor Lux Capital led the round.

  • Other existing investors Sequoia Capital, Metrodora Ventures, Box Group, and Shrug Capital participated.
  • New backer Melinda French Gates' Pivotal Ventures also joined.

How it works: The New York City-based company offers text-message support for questions about primary, urgent, and developmental care ranging from subjects like lactation and sleep to rashes and colds.

  • Summer's newest feature is its ability to connect parents to the same provider for repeated interactions for more longitudinal care, DaSilva says.
  • Parents can buy the direct-to-consumer offering for $45 a month. The company also offers its services through some employers.
  • Summer's providers are a mix of contracted and employed MDs and DOs who specialize in primary care, emergency medicine, or another field.

Flashback: Summer in 2022 collected a $7.5 million seed co-led by Alfred Lin at Sequoia Capital and Deena Shakir at Lux Capital.

What they're saying: "I have privilege most women in this country don't have and I still find it so challenging to get real, on-demand pediatric support for my kids," says 7wire Ventures partner Alyssa Jaffee.

  • "Summer Health is meant to feel like it's your best friend who happens to be a medically licensed professional, who can answer that question, treat, and diagnose," says DaSilva.

The big picture: Although children represent roughly a quarter of the U.S. population, they account for less than 10% of national health care spending — so pediatric care hasn't attracted a large portion of investor attention, per a recent Rock Health report.

  • Plus, kids don't directly consume most health care products; their caretakers do.

Follow the money: Despite that, funding to pediatrics digital health has risen in recent years, the Rock Health report found.

  • From 2020 to 2023, pediatrics represented an average of 5.1% of annual digital health funding, compared with just 1.7% from 2011 to 2019.

State of play: Several startups focused on family support, children's mental health and overall wellness have drawn venture dollars in recent years.

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