Livongo “unleashed a belief that you could build these kinds of companies,” said Hemant Taneja, a managing partner at the venture capital firm General Catalyst, one of Livongo’s initial investors.
Investors have taken note, pouring money into so-called health tech deals. U.S. investors put roughly $32 billion into private health care technology companies last year, a record, and nearly double the amount from 2020, according to PitchBook data.
Dr. Krishna Yeshwant, a managing partner at GV who is leading its Synapticure investment, learned of the company through a colleague, Graham Spencer, who has A.L.S. Although Dr. Yeshwant, who is a physician, and others at GV have sought ways to help their colleague, he said the firm wouldn’t have invested in Synapticure unless it was a clear opportunity for big returns.
“You can lose a lot of money solving complex issues for friends,” Dr. Yeshwant said.
Synapticure makes money much the way a typical doctor’s office does, billing insurance companies for its services, including neurological consultations and counseling. It does not charge patients any additional fees.
The company’s nurses, counselors, neurologists and medical assistants help patients sort through their existing care and connect them with providers who can fill any gaps. The company also monitors current and pending clinical trials to see which of its users might qualify. With a database of clients who are eager to share their health records, Synapticure hopes to make it easier for biotech start-ups that conduct these trials to find potential research subjects, a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
“That is a clear need,” said Dr. Eva Feldman, the director of the A.L.S. Center of Excellence at the University of Michigan. She and her team spend roughly four hours with each patient at each visit — about the maximum they can handle — leaving no time to talk about outside research.
“Right now we only discuss the clinical trials we’re doing, and that’s what every center does,” Dr. Feldman said.