Strive Health grabs $166M to provide end-to-end kidney care

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It’s widely known that healthcare is expensive in the United States and that patients are looking for better quality of care that is more cost-effective.

That kind of care, called “value-based,” has been referenced a lot in recent years. Just this week I just wrote about Carrum Health’s $45 million Series B investment to offer value-based cancer care.

When it comes to your kidneys, Strive Health is working to provide value-based care specifically to the 37 million adults living with chronic kidney disease. Chris Riopelle, co-founder and CEO of Strive Health told TechCrunch that healthcare used to be mainly fee-for-service where the incentive was if you did more work, more reimbursement would come.

“While that is necessary, important and valuable, it doesn’t take into account fee-for-value, which is if you do a lot of good work, you should create a bunch of value and have very high-quality outcomes,” Riopelle said. “My definition of ‘value-based care’ is making sure the organizations that are responsible for caring for patients are really focused on the outcomes and the quality that they drive. Over time, that will create more value in the system than just seeing a patient many, many, many times.”

Strive Health brings value via technology-enabled care interventions and seamless integration with local providers to form an integrated care delivery system that follows a patient from chronic kidney disease to end-stage kidney disease.

Simply put, the company takes in patient data and puts it through machine learning programs to identify what stage of kidney disease a patient might be and then be able to predict the probability of the disease’s progression. This way, Strive Health can provide what Riopelle called a “super targeted intervention.”

That’s important because of the 37 million Americans that have kidney disease, only 10% are diagnosed and over $400 billion a year is spent on kidney care, he explained.

The company launched in April 2020 with 700 patients in St. Louis and since then its value-based care approach has led to an over 20% reduction in the total cost of kidney care and a 42% reduction in hospitalizations.

Overall, Strive Health now manages over $2.5 billion of annual medical spending and has grown to 550 employees serving 80,000 patients across 30 states. It also partners with over 600 nephrology providers in 10 states.

Strive Health itself has now secured $166 million in Series C funding in a round led by NEA and five new investors, including strategic investor CVS Health Ventures. Joining them in the round were existing investors CapitalG (Alphabet), Echo Ventures, Town Hall Ventures, Ascension Ventures and Redpoint.

Riopelle said that Strive Health heard from the investors that it had the right approach to the market. Some competitors are just pursuing health insurance companies as their main customer, while others go after kidney specialists. Strive Health is the only company doing both, he added.

Mohamad Makhzoumi, co-president of NEA, agreed with that, saying in a written statement that among value-based care providers, “Strive stood out with its proven performance advancing clinical outcomes and simultaneously reducing total cost of care.”

Meanwhile, Riopelle declined to get specific on the company’s revenue growth beyond saying “the company has been growing so fast.” He also said the company’s valuation is “strong and healthy for a round this size.” He expects to amass 100,000 lives by the end of the year.

With this funding, the company intends to invest in technology development and to expand its existing payor, health system, nephrologist and medical group partnerships. It will also expand into new markets and invest in scaling in the 30 states where it already has a presence.

“So our employees are called ‘Strivers,’ and our caregivers are called ‘Kidney Heroes,’ and this funding will allow us to keep bringing on new Strivers and Kidney Heroes,” Riopelle said. “There are no big acquisition plans, however, we have a strong pipeline and will continue to scale the business and execute that pipeline.”

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