Brooklyn health startup raises $65M for tech-driven community care

Cityblock, a Brooklyn health company devoted to using technology to care for low-income patients with complex conditions, has raised $65 million in a Series B round, its founder announced on Medium.

The company, founded in 2017, set up its first location in Crown Heights in partnership with EmblemHealth’s AdvantageCare Physicians. Emblem was the first insurer to agree to have Cityblock manage the health of its members.

It also has expanded to Waterbury, Conn., working with EmblemHealth’s ConnectiCare, and plans to grow in North Carolina later this year through a deal with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The company has now raised about $88 million in total.

Cityblock CEO Iyah Romm said in an interview Cityblock would use the money to grow its team, enter new markets, invest in its technology and add new health services for members. 

The startup uses its technology platform, Commons, to facilitate communication among health team members who provide medical, behavioral and social services to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in underserved neighborhoods. Patients’ care teams are made up of doctors, nurses, mental health providers and community health workers trained in coaching and managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

While some patients see doctors affiliated with Cityblock, it’s not a requirement of receiving services.

“We never ask a member to change to us, we meet them where they are and fill the gaps in care as they present,” Romm said. 

Its pitch to insurers is that its coordination of care will give patients alternatives beyond costly emergency room visits. Hospitals and doctors with insurance contracts that incentivize keeping patients’ costs down are prospective clients.

The round was led by Menlo Park, Calif.–based Redpoint Ventures, which has invested in companies including human resources platform Justworks and daily fantasy sports website Draft Kings. New investors include 8VC, StartUp Health and Echo Health Ventures, a fund affiliated with Cambia Health Solutions and Blue Cross North Carolina.

“Existing care delivery models simply don’t work for many in lower-income communities,” Elliot Geidt, a partner at Redpoint, said in the Medium post. “As a result, many people in these communities get stuck in a cycle of emergency room visits and hospital stays.”

Cityblock now has about 180 employees, including health care providers, engineers and data scientists, and said it serves thousands of members.

It was spun out of Sidewalk Labs, the urban-focused innovation arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet that is led by former Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff. Sidewalk Labs participated in the Series B round along with existing investors Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital, Maverick Ventures, Town Hall Ventures and EmblemHealth.

Asked about the prospect of a future IPO or sale, Romm said, “I honestly don’t think about it all that much.”

“I think about building a sound business and improving the health of the population we care for while driving a return for shareholders,” he said. “There’s many pathways that may take.”

SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.