Buoy Health Secures $15 Million To Grow Its AI Engine For Providing Personalized Clinical Support

By Dan Anderson ● August 22, 2019
  • Buoy Health, a platform for your health powered by an advanced AI engine to provide personalized clinical support to individuals, has raised $15 million.

Buoy Health — an all-in-one platform for your health that is powered by an advanced AI engine to provide personalized clinical support to individuals the moment they have a healthcare concern — announced it has raised $15 million in Series B funding.

“When people get sick today, they have to turn into a medical student and an insurance expert,” explained Buoy CEO Andrew Le, MD. “I went into medicine thinking that clinicians are the front-door of health care. They’re not. The internet is. And, when people are sick, they’re left to drown in the complexity of information on the web, leaving them feeling helpless, alone, and scared. At Buoy, we’re obsessed with fixing that paradigm. We want to empower people to get their care in a more personalized and convenient way. We’re here to give people a better front-door to care.”

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By operating as a digital triage, Buoy has been shown to de-escalate the intent for nearly 40% of E.R. visits at a time where E.R. overuse is on the rise across all patient populations.

Bill Hambrecht led the company’s $15 million Series B round of funding. Hambrecht had famously founded Hambrecht and Quist and is credited for popularizing the OpenIPO model and organized the first J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Some of the companies that Hambrecht has taken public include Apple, Google, Genentech, and Adobe.

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“I’ve seen many young companies grow to reach their full potential… enough to know that Buoy has the vision, talent, and drive to fulfill theirs,” added Hambrecht.

With this round of funding, it will allow for the continuation of the company’s rapid growth in the US market by building on the 6.7 million annual interactions and 3.7 million completed self-triage interviews taking place on the site every year. And the company plans on expanding its enterprise offering by providing more in-depth navigation for new populations, including the “Baby Boomers” and those covered by Medicaid.

“Based on our proprietary MESE models, Buoy’s impact relative to the amount of money they’ve raised is astounding, and we’re very bullish on their future,” explained Thomas Thurston, a partner at Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures and founder of Growth Science.

And this funding round also brings a new strategic partnership and investment from Humana — which is one of the largest publicly traded managed-healthcare companies. Buoy Health also received additional funding from its existing investors F-Prime (Fidelity Investments venture capital firm) and Optum Ventures.

“We believe Buoy is poised to revolutionize the way patients engage in and access the health care system,” noted Carl Bradford Byers, an executive Partner at F-Prime Capital Partners (Fidelity Investments’ private venture capital firm).

Le founded Buoy Health with Adam Lathram in 2013 while Le was completing his residency rotation in the emergency room of Harvard Medical School. In an interview with Forbes, Le said that he was seeing many patients searching on Google for their symptoms before going to the ER. In an example, he pointed out how one man with uncontrolled diabetes delayed treatment for a foot ulcer after reading something on the Internet that said treatment may not be necessary. And by the time he got to the ER, the tissue damage was so bad that amputating the leg was the only option. That is when Le became obsessed with using AI for creating a more efficient way for patients to access a better level of care at the right time.

Buoy offers more than a potential diagnosis and it provides doctor recommendations within employer health plans for users who list their employers. And none of the information entered is shared with employers. Buoy is HIPAA compliant and it will soon be HITRUST-certified. Going forward, Buoy will also book appointments, organize transportation, and follow up after visits to the doctor without a cost to the user.

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