To accompany our Healthcare Informatics 100 list of the largest companies in U.S. health information technology every year, we like to give readers a heads-up on some fast-growing companies that could very well make the HCI 100 in years to come. In fact, one of the companies we chose as an Up-and-Comer in 2014, Evolent Health, recently registered for a $100 million initial public offering.
Some of the firms in this group may not have much revenue yet, but their growth trajectory suggests they could have a significant impact on the healthcare sector. Others are coming at seemingly intractable problems in healthcare from completely new angles. Keep your eye on these six.
Some successful companies find their niche almost by accident. Ryan Beckland, co-founder and CEO of Validic, started the company in 2010 with the concept of helping corporate wellness programs incentivize health behavior change. But the technology platform the company built to enable customers to track employee health devices turned out to be of greater interest to potential customers. Today, Validic’s digital health platform connects patient-recorded data from digital health applications, devices and wearables such as Fitbit and Jawbone to hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies, payers, and others.
‘We would be pitching to corporate wellness programs, and they would say, ‘wait, you can integrate all the data from these apps and devices?’ They didn’t care about our assessment programs and behavior modification modules,” Beckland recalled. “Everybody was telling us the same thing: they were having problems accessing data.” So the company spun out its integration platform and brought it to market in 2013. “It grew so fast we were inundated with demand for it,” he says.
Since then, the company has grown its client population reach to over 160 million lives in 47 countries and now integrates with over 175 fitness and clinical devices and applications. EHR vendors Cerner and Meditech are using the Validic platform to integrate mobile health and in-home clinical device data into patient portals. In the first quarter of 2013, the Durham, N.C., company consisted of its two co-founders and four software developers. Today it has 50 full-time employees. “We plan to hire 60 more people in the next 12 months,” Beckland says. “It is an exciting time, but also a challenge to grow an organization quickly.”
“I’d like to think we have been smart about continually improving,” he adds, “but we were just in the right place at the right time with the right product, and we saw that we had a tiger by the tail and did everything we could to capitalize on it.”
Research firm Frost & Sullivan recently named Validic a “Top Ten Company Disrupting Healthcare,” noting that its platform solves "key data integration challenges with devices and applications." Its disruptive impact stems from its ability to "enable next-generation patient engagement and population management for care coordination and wellness programs" by integrating data from fitness, clinical and other sources into one platform for action.
Validic recently secured a $12.5 million Series B round of funding led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Kaiser Permanente. “We need to scale our organization,” Beckland says. “What we will do in the next two years will absolutely dwarf what we have done in the last two,” he says.
While Beckland says annual revenue is below $50 million, it grew about 1,000 percent between 2013 and 2014 and will grow roughly 400 percent between 2014 and 2015.
“We are very pleased with the customer response,” he says. “We are stomping on the pedal with that funding from Kaiser to take this company to the next level.”