Business COVID-19 Startups Venture

Austin Telemedicine Startup Medici Raises $24M As Demand Surges Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

We’ve seen a number of industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’ve also seen a number with increased demand. Telehealth is one of the latter.

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To that end, Austin-based Medici announced today it has raised a $24 million Series B from a group of existing backers including Barry Sternlicht, chairman of Starwood Capital Group; Howard Jenkins of Publix; Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel and Nathan Kirsh of the Kirsh Group. The investment brings Medici’s total raised since 2016 to over $70 million, according to Crunchbase data.

I’ve been following Medici over the past few years and it’s been fun watching the company’s model and business evolve.

Basically, Medici was doing telehealth before telehealth was cool.

The startup offers a HIPAA-compliant virtual health care platform for over 20,000 health care providers and their patients to “securely” communicate via text, voice and video chat.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated, Medici says it saw its patient registrations increase by 1,409 percent from February to April compared to the fourth quarter. Specifically, in the month of April, CEO and Founder Clint Phillips told me that Medici experienced over 120,000 patients receiving consults via its platform. That is up 15 times compared to last year at this time. Usage and revenue were both up 400 percent in the first quarter compared to Q4, he added.

CEO and Founder Clint Phillips

The company currently has 70 employees, up from 40 at this time last year.

“Even more, patients are being helped to stay informed,” Phillips told Crunchbase News.

For example, Dr. Tina Carrol Scott uses Medici daily through its “announce” feature to update all of her patients, many who are underserved, on COVID-related issues. In the last two weeks she has sent her patients resources on: avoiding infection, domestic abuse, employment resources and healthy food distribution centers. She’s also sent them a book on parenting via Medici, according to Phillips.

Medici also has over 1,000 veterinarians using its platform.

Standing out from the rest

I covered the company’s last raise–a $22 million round in June 2018 from individual investors including executives from Citadel, Dell, Publix and Starwood Capital.

At that time, Phillips told me that “plenty of companies like Doctors on Demand, MDLIVE and Teladoc provide a patient with a call center doc.”

“You don’t know them; they don’t know you. There’s no context or records involved. And your medical record becomes fragmented,” he said.

What differentiates Medici, according to Phillips, is the company’s ability to allow people to “speak to their own doctor,” and not some random physician.

Additionally, doctors don’t view the company as a threat since it claims to enhance or protect their business–not replace it, he added. Medici is HIPAA compliant and provides malpractice insurance in an effort to provide a “safe” environment for doctors, Phillips said.

A few years ago, Medici added a desktop version of its app after getting feedback from doctors that it could be hard to answer questions via their mobile phones, according to Phillips. Medici also included a group chat feature to allow doctors more freedom to incorporate an assistant or bring a specialist into a conversation with a patient.

“Doctors had been longing for this feature,” Phillips told Crunchbase News at the time. “It sounds simple, but in health care, you have to know where conversations can be stored and where they are going (due to HIPAA regulations).”

The company plans to use its new capital to invest in Africa and to look at “various global markets.” However, 85 percent its focus is on the United States, according to Phillips.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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