Primary care providers serve as the first line of defense in healthcare and are responsible for coordinating medical treatment. However, primary care physicians routinely need consultations from external specialists to provide the best treatment plans. Access to specialists is becoming increasingly more difficult with long scheduling times that create a bottleneck in treatment. RubiconMD solves this problem by connecting primary care providers to specialists for eConsults through its platform that exchanges anonymized patient data in a secure manner. Getting that specialists consultation is now done in a matter of hours instead of a matter of weeks or months, saving time, money, and unnecessary referrals.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO and Founder Gil Addo to learn more about the company, its start, future plans, and latest round of funding, which brings its total funding raised to $19.9M.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We have just closed a $13.8M Series B financing. The round was led by HLM Venture Partners and Optum Ventures with participation from Centene Corporation. Key existing investors Alma Mundi Ventures, Waterline Ventures, Dioko Health Ventures and the Heritage Medical Systems also participated and were joined by Blue Ivy Ventures.
Tell us about RubiconMD.
RubiconMD is an eConsult platform that unlocks medical expertise by allowing primary care providers to consult with top medical specialists. Through RubiconMD’s digital platform, primary care doctors share relevant, anonymized patient information and in return, receive eConsults from specialists within hours. This streamlined process helps determine when specialists are needed, saving both patients and doctors time and money on unnecessary referrals.
What inspired you to start RubiconMD?
We both had personal experiences that shed light on the need to unlock specialized care. My grandmother had a tumor that required her to travel between her home in Barbados and her specialist in Boston, taking a toll on her overall health. Carlos’ grandfather developed a hearing problem that could be solved by modifying a standard medical device, but there was no manufacturer producing it for his specific needs. The problem in both cases wasn’t the absence of a solution, but the inability to seamlessly access specialized care. After working together at an MIT healthcare hackathon, we realized there was an opportunity to remove the greatest barrier to specialized care — access — and allow patients to work with their primary care providers to receive care in their own communities.
We work to support primary care, which we believe is the foundation of healthcare. We focus on empowering primary care physicians to be the navigator of care rather than having patients make a decision they may not be armed to make. We also focus on fitting into the workflow of existing health systems to best serve providers’ needs.
What market does RubiconMD target and how big is it?
We’re targeting the inefficiencies in healthcare, an industry that currently accounts for 20% of GDP. RubiconMD is focused on eliminating the $800 billion of waste that exists in our healthcare system. We’re doing that by working at the center of primary and specialty care, where there are nearly 160 million interactions each year between primary care providers and specialists.
What’s your business model?
Health systems subscribe to RubiconMD on a monthly basis and the primary care physicians in their group have access to the platform. They can submit an unlimited number of eConsults through our platform. On the other side, specialists are compensated for each consult they complete.
How has your business and industry changed since we last spoke back in 2016 after your Series A round?
As an industry, eConsults were a new concept when we began. What’s changed the most in our business is being able to bring specialty care to communities where it’s most valuable and necessary. We’ve seen a greater interest as people have become more comfortable with digital health platforms. Because of this, we’ll be using this new capital to keep up with the interest in demand for eConsults across the country and fuel expansion in key markets.
What was the funding process like?
There’s a value in going out to raise capital because it tells you how the market is viewing your business. The interest right now in digital health investment is at an all-time high. That interest speaks to the challenge and opportunity in healthcare to do things better, faster and cheaper. The RubiconMD platform was well-received and we saw a lot of excitement for what we’re working on.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Fundraising involves pulling together a lot of parties and we wanted to make sure we were working with the right ones. Deciding who the best investors were to support our mission was something we put a great amount of thought into. We’re extremely happy to bring on the expertise of HLM Venture Partners, Optum Ventures and the Centene Corporation along with the continuing support of our previous investors.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We’ve built a robust, highly-qualified specialist panel and a strong operations team. This allows us to turn eConsults around in a few hours and empower primary care physicians to better serve their patients. When we launched, we saw a big market in individual health clinics and Medicaid networks dedicated to patient-centered care. Today, Medicaid accounts for over two-thirds of our business, but we have also expanded to work with larger health systems. We’re helping create efficiencies in access to specialty care for patients covered by major providers, including the Central California Alliance for Health. This growth has allowed us to provide care to people from all populations in their own communities. The investors have seen these results and know that by leading the eConsult charge, we’re helping to bring the healthcare industry into the future.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to leverage this investment to expand to new key markets and continue our growing presence in the 35 states we currently service. We are also working to apply new technologies to extract specialist insights from our existing product infrastructure. This work will build on five years of anonymized information from hundreds of thousands of eConsults across 150 specialties.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It’s a unique time for technology in New York City and it was very much a deliberate decision to base the company here. When you’re out in Silicon Valley or other cities, much of what’s happening is driven by the tech ecosystem, but there are so many other industries here. It’s a blessing and an opportunity that tech doesn’t dominate in New York and I would recommend companies look to communities and industries that are outside of tech for support. We’ve made close ties with the local healthcare community and their support is reflected in our recent fundraise and the work we’ve been able to do over the past five years.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We believe that eConsults will soon become the first step in how specialty care is delivered. We want to continue to be the ones providing access to top specialty expertise in communities across the country. To do this, we will continue to grow and work at the nexus between primary care and specialty care. We also plan to leverage the insights collected on the platform from the last five years and use it to provide better and more streamlined care to all communities.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Havana Alma de Cuba. Great food, great vibe and a nice garden in the back.