Category: Funding

Heartbeat Health raises $8.2M to improve cardiovascular care

While you’ve probably spent a lot of today thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worth remembering that other health issues aren’t going away — and that heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

Heartbeat Health is a startup working to improve the way that cardiovascular care is delivered, and it announced today that it has raised $8.2 million in Series A funding.

Dr. Jeffrey Wessler, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, is a cardiologist himself, and he told me that he “stepped off the academic cardiology path” about three years ago because he “saw some of the work being done in digital health space and became incredibly enamored of doing this for heart health.”

Wessler said that the delivery methods for cardiovascular care remain almost entirely unchanged. To a large extent because that’s because the existing model works, but there’s still room to do better.

“As of the last seven or so years, we’re in a new era where we’ve figured out how to treat people well once they get sick,” he said. “But we’re doing a very bad job of keeping them healthy.”

To address that, Heartbeat Health has created what Wessler described as a “digital first” layer, allowing patients to talk with experts via telemedicine, who can then direct them to the appropriate provider — who might be a “preferred Heartbeat partner” or not — for in-person care.

This initial interaction can help patients avoid “a lot of inefficiencies,” he said, because it ensures they don’t get sent to the wrong place, and “kick[s] things off right with evidence-based, guideline-based testing, so that they’re not just falling into the individual practice habits of random doctors.”

In addition, Heartbeat Health tries to collect all of a patient’s relevant heart data (which might come from wearable consumer devices like an Apple Watch or Fitbit) in one place, and to track results about which treatments are most effective.

“Ultimately, we want to be the software, the technology powering it all, but we don’t want to leave any patient behind at the beginning,” Wessler said.

He added that the program works with most commercial insurance and is already involved in the care of 10,000 New York-area patients. And apparently it’s been embraced by the cardiologists, who Wessler said always tell him, “We’ve been waiting for that layer to come in and unify this incredibly fragmented system, as long as it works with us and not against us.”

The funding was led by .406 Ventures and Optum Ventures, with participation from Kindred Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Designer Fund and Max Ventures.

AvePoint lands $200M investment to expand market for Microsoft cloud governance tools

While Microsoft cloud services such as SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 are used widely by large organizations, the products don’t come standard with an enterprise-grade control layer. That’s where AvePoint, a Microsoft independent software (ISV), comes in. Today, the company announced a $200 million Series C investment.

The round was led by TPG Sixth Street Partners with additional participation from prior investor Goldman Sachs and other unnamed investors. The round brings the total raised to $294 million, according to the company.

The company says that the equity investment has a couple of purposes. First of all it wants to provide some liquidity for long-time investors. Secondly, it wants capital for company expansion.

Specifically, it provides a set of governance and migration services for Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, Office 365, and other Microsoft SaaS products. The company has been around for 18 years, but transitioned about five years ago to protecting online services, chief marketing officer Dux Raymond Sy explained. Prior to that it concentrated on on-prem services like SharePoint backup.

Today, AvePoint takes care of few key management tasks. First of all, it provides a policy layer on top of Office 365, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to give companies the ability to enforce usage rules across these products. For instance, it could define the types of files an employee can share in Teams.

In addition, the company provides backup for the three services and others like Microsoft Dynamics to aid in disaster recovery, and finally it has migration tools to move data from a related cloud service to a Microsoft cloud service.

For example, AvePoint could help move documents from Google Drive to Office 365 or Slack data to Microsoft Teams.

Sy says the company has been growing rapidly with four consecutive quarters of record growth, which he said works out to about 40% year over year growth. AvePoint currently has 1250 employees serving 16,000 customers. Overall, it is helping to protect 7 million Microsoft cloud service users around the world, but it has a long-term, rather ambitious goal of adding more than 40,000 new customers.

It hopes to expand its market further by adding new services to sell to existing customers, while expanding aggressively into the SMB market. It also wants to enhance relationships with channel partners to sell AvePoint on its behalf. It already has a number of channel partners including Ingram Micro, Synnex and TechData.

The new investment should help the company invest in the engineering, sales, customer service and partner relations that this level of expansion will no doubt require.

BigID bags another $50M round as data privacy laws proliferate

Almost exactly 4 months to the day after BigID announced a $50 million Series C, the company was back today with another $50 million round. The Series D came entirely from Tiger Global Management. The company has raised a total of $144 million.

What warrants $100 million in interest from investors in just four months is BigID’s mission to understand the data a company has and manage that in the context of increasing privacy regulation including GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California, which went into effect this month.

BigID CEO and co-founder Dimitri Sirota admits that his company formed at the right moment when it launched in 2016, but says he and his co-founders had an inkling that there would be a shift in how governments view data privacy.

“Fortunately for us, some of the requirements that we said were going to be critical, like being able to understand what data you collect on each individual across your entire data landscape, have come to [pass],” Sirota told TechCrunch. While he understands that there are lots of competing companies going after this market, he believes that being early helped his startup establish a brand identity earlier than most.

Meanwhile, the privacy regulation landscape continues to evolve. Even as California privacy legislation is taking effect, many other states and countries are looking at similar regulations. Canada is looking at overhauling its existing privacy regulations.

Sirota says that he wasn’t actually looking to raise either the C or the D, and in fact still has B money in the bank, but when big investors want to give you money on decent terms, you take it while the money is there. These investors clearly see the data privacy landscape expanding and want to get involved. He recognizes that economic conditions can change quickly, and it can’t hurt to have money in the bank for when that happens.

That said, Sirota says you don’t raise money to keep it in the bank. At some point, you put it to work. The company has big plans to expand beyond its privacy roots and into other areas of security in the coming year. Although he wouldn’t go into too much detail about that, he said to expect some announcements soon.

For a company that is only four years old, it has been amazingly proficient at raising money with a $14 million Series A and a $30 million Series B in 2018, followed by the $50 million Series C last year, and the $50 million round today. And Sirota said, he didn’t have to even go looking for the latest funding. Investors came to him — no trips to Sand Hill Road, no pitch decks. Sirota wasn’t willing to discuss the company’s valuation, only saying the investment was minimally diluted.

BigID, which is based in New York City, already has some employees in Europe and Asia, but he expects additional international expansion in 2020. Overall the company has around 165 employees at the moment and he sees that going up to 200 by mid-year as they make a push into some new adjacencies.

Sleek raises $5M to help companies incorporate and operate in Singapore and Hong Kong

Sleek, a startup that is making it easier for other startups and companies to incorporate and operate in Singapore and Hong Kong, said today it has extended its seed financing round to raise $5 million.

The extended seed round for the two-year-old startup was led by private investors Pierre Lorinet and Fabio Blom, and MI8, an Asia-focused European backed private investment company.

Sleek also counts a number of high profile individuals including Martin Crawford, former Group CEO of corporate services giant Vistra, Olivier Gerhardt, founder of Wavecell, Eric Barbier, founder of TransferTo, and Olivier Legrand, MD Asia at Linkedin among its investors.

Sleek, founded by French entrepreneurs Julien Labruyere and Adrien Barthel, today helps more than 2,000 startups and companies in Singapore and Hong Kong, an additional market it extended to in mid-2019. Some of its clients include Yours Cosmetics (funded by Sequoia), Aspire Financials (which raised $30 million recently), Ematic Solutions, Devialet, and oil and gas giant Total.

As we wrote about them in June this year, Sleek not only helps startups and companies incorporate themselves in Singapore (and now, Hong Kong), but also takes care of their accounting, taxes, regulatory compliance and other administrative work.

Sleek founders Julien Labruyere (right) and Adrien Barthel (left)

Singapore and Hong Kong have emerged as epicenters for startups and tech worldwide. “Hong Kong is a historical Asian financial hub, with six times more operating companies than in Singapore and an amazing business ecosystem,” said Barthel, adding that despite the current situation in Hong Kong, the business is growing in the market.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong today offer a range of benefits including government-backed startup programs to attract businesses, but setting up shops there still require a lot of paperwork.

The traditional way of dealing with accounting and incorporation is a cumbersome task, and the last thing founders want to deal with, Barthel explained to TechCrunch in an interview. Plus, there’s no transparency in what the actual cost of doing these tasks would be, he said.

Sleek offers a subscription business, where it charges a fixed amount — about $600 — to its customers each year. Starting second year, it waives some of its fee, said Barthel. “We also offer a simple dashboard for our clients to quickly check the progress we have made on any front,” he added.

To make the deal even better, Sleek offers vouchers with subscription to AWS, Stripe, Google Cloud — that they are likely going to use in their businesses anyway — worth thousands of dollars. The startup also connects its partner entrepreneurs with financial institutions to help them access working capital.

Barthel said before signing up a client, Sleek does its own due diligence. “Singapore, for instance, has stringent on KYC (know your customer) processes. Among other things, we use a number of APIs that are tied with all the major global databases to ensure that our potential clients are not doing notorious business,” he said.

Sleek, which today employs 85 people, will use the fresh capital to expand its tech team, build new features for clients, and increase its operational capacity.