Sharing the stories of healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs and executives who are moving the digital health industry forward.
Digital Health Forward Dandi Zhu
Sharing the stories of healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs and executives who are moving the digital health industry forward.
Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, Sword Health, on freeing 2 billion people from pain
In this episode, we meet Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, Chief Medical Officer of Sword Health. SWORD Health is the world’s fastest growing virtual MSK care provider, on a mission to free two billion people from pain.
The company’s clinical-grade virtual therapy platform pairs expert physical therapists with FDA-listed wearable technology to deliver a personalized treatment plan that is more effective, easier and less expensive than traditional physical therapy. SWORD Health believes in the power of people to recover at home, without resorting to imaging, surgeries or opioids. Since launching in 2015, SWORD Health has worked with insurers, health systems and employers in the U.S, Europe and Australia to make quality physical therapy more accessible to everyone.
Launched in 2015, the company has raised approximately $324 million to date, with nearly $300 million raised in 2021 alone. In November 2021, Sword closed a $189M Series D financing round led by Sapphire Ventures with participation from new investors including Sozo Ventures and Willoughby Capital as well as previous investors including General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures. This round valued Sword Health at $2B. (Source: Bloomberg)
Dr. Vijay Yanamadala brings over a decade of clinical medical expertise as a world-renowned surgeon with a firm belief in reducing dependency on surgery through data-driven and patient-centered treatment plans. He has published over 60 papers focused on the safe and effective treatment of complex spinal conditions through advanced and innovative techniques and the use of multidisciplinary teams, for which he has received numerous awards. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School (MD), Harvard Business School (MBA) and Harvard College (BA).
In this episode, Dr. Yanamadala and I chat about:
How his early childhood experiences motivated him to pursue a career as a surgeon and what led him to join Sword Health
Why over 50% of spine surgeries today are avoidable and unnecessary and why the least invasive & highest value care (physical therapy) is underutilized
Sword Health’s approach to improving access to comprehensive digital MSK care and how their outcomes compare to traditional care
Vijay Kedar, Tomorrow Health, on Healthcare at Home
In this episode, we meet Vijay Kedar, Co-Founder and CEO of Tomorrow Health. Tomorrow Health is a technology-driven healthcare company changing the way individuals and families manage healthcare at home. They are partnered with over 125 health insurers and provider organizations to coordinate and deliver home-based care for their members. To support their ambitious vision, they have raised $32.5M from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Box Group, Rainfall Ventures and CEOs and founders of Tenet Healthcare, DoorDash, Flatiron Health, Oscar Health, Quartet Health, Casper, Moat and PillPack.
In 2021, Business Insider listed Tomorrow Health as one of the Most Promising Healthcare Startups of 2021, according to top VCs.
Prior to Tomorrow Health, Vijay spent several years helping to scale Oscar Health — leading care management strategy and operations to support chronically ill patients through home-based interventions. He was critical in shaping the success of the company by executing on strategy, financing efforts, network development, medical management, regulatory affairs and more. He is an alum of Harvard College and Harvard Business School and made his way to Oscar after years in Private Equity at Goldman Sachs, where he evaluated $1.1B in investments across healthcare, technology and energy.
In this episode, Vijay and I chat about:
How his experiences as an early employee at Oscar Health and navigating his mother’s cancer care ultimately led him to start Tomorrow Health
What is driving unprecedented growth in the US home healthcare market and the biggest challenges facing each stakeholder in the ecosystem — DME suppliers, payers, providers, patients and their caregivers
Tomorrow Health’s approach to building a holistic home-based care ecosystem, starting with Medical Equipment and Supplies
What it means to Vijay to change the healthcare system from within and the importance of marrying innovation with distribution
Vijay’s approach to assembling a world class team of advisors, colleagues and investors
Chrissy Farr, OMERS Ventures, on Breaking News and Fueling Innovation
In this episode, we meet Chrissy Farr, Principal at OMERS Ventures. Previously, she was a writer and frequent on-air contributor for CNBC, Fast Company and Reuters News, among other publications. She was raised in London, UK, and received degrees from University College London and Stanford University.
Over the last five years, OMERS Ventures has invested more than $340 million of capital in nearly 30 disruptive technology companies across North America, creating over 5,000 jobs, and attracting an additional $1.2 billion for portfolio companies. Their portfolio companies include: 360insights, AmpMe, Busbud, Citizen Hex, D2L, DCG, Fusebill, Hootsuite, Hopper, Interaxon, Jobber, Kaleo, Klipfolio, Klue, Leafsift, League, Mojix, Nudge, Ranovus, Rover, Shopify (IPO 2015 — NYSE & TSX: SHOP), Smile.io, Vidyard, Vision Critical, Wattpad, Wave.
Chrissy continues to write and share her perspectives here: https://ovsecondopinion.substack.com/
In this episode, Chrissy and I chat about:
Chrissy’s personal story: from her time at Stanford to her experiences as a journalist and her love for research, learning and connecting with innovators
Her approach to investing and thesis development, areas of digital health which are underserved/overlooked and opportunities in women’s health
Digital health superlatives — Chrissy’s takes on the most disruptive healthcare company of the year, most interesting merger/acquisition, innovative early-stage start-up to follow, and her favorite news sources
Predictions for digital health in 2022, reflections and words of wisdom
Dan Brillman, Unite Us, on the Future of Whole-Person Health
In this episode, we meet Dan Brillman, Co-founder and CEO of Unite Us. Unite Us is the leading outcome focused coordination technology company connecting healthcare, gov’t, and social services together to address the social determinants of health. Together, these partners are leading the care transformation movement towards whole-person care.
Unite Us recently closed a $150M Series C financing round led by ICONIQ Growth, valuing the company at over $1.6B. Investors in the round include Emerson Collective, Optum Ventures and Transformation Capital, as well as existing investors, Define Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Town Hall Ventures, and several healthcare partners. This investment will ensure the mission-driven company is able to continue to deeply invest in community-based organizations to bring social care to the same priority level as medical care. Unite Us also recently announced the acquisition of personalized referral platform NowPow and leading analytics company Carrot Health. Unite Us and NowPow will add Carrot’s data-driven solutions to their community-based technology that predicts needs, enrolls clients in services, measures impact, and pays for community-based services through its nationwide network — creating a truly holistic experience for people receiving and providing care.
Dan graduated from Yale University in 2006 and worked in finance and consulting before joining the Air Force Reserves as a combat pilot, where he still serves today. After earning his MBA from Columbia Business School in 2012, Dan worked in venture capital in NYC at Scout Ventures, where he focused on investing and technological innovation. Dan co-founded Unite Us in 2013.
Dan is a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service and was included on Business Insider’s “30 People Under 40 Changing Healthcare” in 2019. Most recently, Unite Us was named one of the top three companies in America on 2021 Forbes’ list of Best Startup Employers.
In this episode, Dan and I chat about:
Dan’s personal story and path — from finance/consulting to joining the Air Force as a combat pilot, venture capital and ultimately, what led him to start Unite Us
How Unite Us scaled, from the early days of serving the veteran population and in one of the most complex geographies, New York City, to serving hundreds of thousands of individuals in 42 states
Why social determinants of health matter and the measured impact Unite Us’ platform has had on health outcomes
What it means to take on something big in order to make long-term shifts in an industry and Dan’s 2022 ambitions for the company
Paxton Maeder-York, Alife Health, on the Future of Fertility
In this episode, we meet Paxton Maeder-York, CEO and Founder of Alife Health. Alife Health’s mission is to improve the efficacy and affordability of IVF through artificial intelligence. Founded in 2020, Alife recently raised a $9.5M seed round, led by Lux Capital.
Founded in 2020, Alife recently raised a $9.5M seed round, led by Lux Capital. Other investment firms include Amplo, IA Ventures and Springbank Collective, as well as angel investors such as Anne Wojcicki, the founder and CEO of 23andMe; Fred Moll, the founder of Intuitive Surgical and Auris; and Amira Yahyaoui, the founder of Mos and Sequoia Scout.
Paxton Maeder-York started his career building surgical robots to fight lung cancer at Auris Health, which sold to Johnson & Johnson for $3.4 billion in 2019 and holds a bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering and a Master’s in Data Science and an MBA from Harvard University.
In this episode, Paxton and I chat about:
Broader trends and innovation in the fertility space to serve the 1 in 8 couples who face infertility challenges today
How Alife’s technology works to improve each step of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process to improve clinical efficacy and access, and reduce cost (less IVF cycles = less cost) for patients
The early partnership structures Alife established to obtain access to large sets of embryo data to enable algorithm development
The FDA’s approach to regulating AI algorithms in healthcare
Paxton’s reflections on the recent capital infusion, the road ahead and entrepreneurship
Harpreet Singh Rai, ŌURA, on Owning Your Health
In this episode, we meet Harpreet Singh Rai, CEO of ŌURA. ŌURA is the company behind the Oura Ring — a wearable health platform that delivers daily, personalized sleep, and overall health insights. With precise data and personalized guidance, ŌURA helps people better understand their health and live healthier, more fulfilled lives. To-date, ŌURA has sold 500,000 rings across 100+ countries.
ŌURA has raised $148M in total funding to-date, recently closing a $100M Series C financing round led by The Chernin Group and Elysian Park; health investors Temasek, JAZZ Venture Partners, and Eisai Co., Ltd.; growth investors Bedford Ridge and One Capital from Japan. Existing investors who participated in the round include Forerunner Ventures, Square, MSD Capital, Marc Benioff, Lifeline Ventures, Metaplanet Holdings, and Next Ventures. In 2021, Fast Company listed ŌURA as the #5 (out of 10) Most Innovative Wellness Companies of 2021.
Prior to joining ŌURA, Harpreet worked as a portfolio manager at Eminence Capital for 9 years and began his career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Harpreet majored in MEMS, Micro Electronic Mechanical Systems (sensor design) at the University of Michigan.
In this episode, Harpreet and I chat about:
How Harpeet’s personal motivations and passion for technology and health led him to joining ŌURA and what it means to “own your health”
Broader trends and landscape of the wearables industry — and how ŌURA’s focus on clinical validation and accuracy is different from other wearable companies
How ŌURA has partnered with numerous sports leagues, including the NBA, WNBA, UFC, and NASCAR to optimize performance and monitor a user’s wellness
What is required for wearables to reach their full potential: from consumer education to buy-in from healthcare stakeholders
Rich content for any professional
Podcast host seems very sharp. Asks engaging and intellectual questions but at the same time can banter with guests - hard balance to come by.