Palliative Care Company Secures $32 Million from Google’s VC Firm

A Nashville-based palliative care provider co-founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has received $32 million from an investment round led by GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG).

The new company, Aspire Health, was founded by Frist and CEO Brad Smith three years ago after Smith realized there wasn’t a huge market for palliative care. He believed that the potential was tremendous.

“Our goal was to figure out how to build a sustainable financial model,” Smith tells Home Health Care News. “We are trying to go after a really big problem with really sick patients in hopes to help them stay at home instead of staying in a hospital where quality of life is not so good, in some cases.”

Currently, Aspire has 18 locations in 12 states and provides 24/7 in-home care to patients with serious illnesses, such as cancer, severe dementia and organ failure. Aspire usually works with patients for only six to eight months, but that can vary based on the patients’ needs.

The company provides various care plans to patients, which usually include symptom management, disease management, coordination with other medical professionals, communication among family members and/or other caregivers and 24/7 support in the event of a crisis.

Aspire wasn’t necessarily looking to raise capital at the time GV came to them, but at a health care conference nine months ago, Smith was introduced to GV by current investors and they were very interested in investing, Smith explains. Aspire is GV’s first investment in Nashville.

This is also the largest round of funding Aspire has ever received. Previously the company received $2 million in funding, followed by $5 million and $15 million rounds.

A large part of the funds will help Aspire with geographic expansion. In the the next six to 18 months, Aspire plans to expand to additional states and cities.

“We also plan to use it for additional investments in data science and analytics and try to figure out the exact kind of care every patient needs,” Smith says.

The company plans to build out its current team of about 15 data engineers and scientists to create its own predictive analytics systems to help collect and store data for each of its patients. This data will be specific to how each nurse practitioner should handle each patient based on their condition and personal preferences.

The third primary use of the $32 million will go toward a new oncology program. Aspire is currently in the process of putting together this program to help cancer patients.

“We are partnering with community-based oncology companies and exploring our options,” says Smith. “We plan to start rolling out the program later this year or early 2017.”

Written by Alana Stramowski



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