A doctor by training, Iman Abuzeid and her colleague Rome Portlock both had family members entrenched in the health care system, and watched them struggle with long hours, low pay and unpredictable schedules.
Together, the pair started San Francisco-based Incredible Health, a platform that connects health systems with nurses.
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Incredible Health announced on Wednesday it raised $80 million in Series B funding led by Base10 Partners, with additional investments from Kaiser Permanente, Andreessen Horowtiz, the 444 Fund led by TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, and Workday CEO Chano Fernandez. This brings total funding to $97.5 million and takes the startup to unicorn status with a $1.65 billion valuation.
How it works
The 5-year-old startup offers a slew of development and training courses accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It also exclusively finds employment for full-time nurses at a time when hospitals are employing temporary and travel nurses to fill gaps left by the shortage. Travel nurses are paid more than full-time employees, but because their work is temporary, it often leads to inconsistencies in care and workflow at hospitals.
“Hospitals are running businesses that are low margin,” said Abuzeid, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health. “When they are low-staffed they hire temporary labor and the quality of care goes down and it’s more expensive.”
Nurses sign up on Incredible Health, which then collects information on licenses, certifications and malpractice cases. It also finds out about a candidate’s goals,,where they want to work and what skills they want to gain. The automated platform uses machine learning to match them with health systems in an average of 14 days. The company says that timeline beats the national average of 90 days.
“Let’s say you’re a nurse recruiter at Cedars-Sinai,” Abuzeid said. “You don’t want to see the thousands of nurses potentially available, you want to see the five nurses that are the right fit for what you’re looking for.”
A shortage of nursing staff
Incredible Health is addressing a problem long festering in the health care industry before the pandemic exacerbated it: A nursing shortage in America. Burnout has affected every level of the health care industry, sparking an exodus of doctors, nurses and hospital support staff, and leaving hospitals critically low on staff while they experience an uptick in patients.
Startups aiming to connect health care workers to employers have seen a seismic increase in funding. According to Crunchbase data, startup funding in the space increased 87.5% between 2020 and 2021. And, despite the economic downturn that has venture firms holding back on funding, startups in this space raised $228.3 million in 2022, compared to $246.7 million raised the year prior.
Incredible Health joins startups like Greater Good Health, a Manhattan Beach, California, company that raised $10 million in May to partner health systems with nurse practitioners who can take on a larger role in patient health in lieu of a doctor.
“The shortage affects all of us,” Abuzeid said.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
Update: a previous version of this article incorrectly named cofounder Rome Portlock. The story has been updated to include the correct spelling of his name
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