Ready, an on-demand health care startup that delivers home- and community-based services, has raised $54 million in Series C funding. Among the investors in its latest funding round: GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), the parent company of Google.
The recent boost in funding has brought Ready’s valuation to over $350 million, according to Bloomberg. The startup has raised more than $107 million since launching in 2016, according to Crunchbase.
As part of its business model, the New Orleans-based Ready deploys “Ready Responders” — who are trained as EMTs, paramedics and nurses — to patients’ homes. All responders are connected to Ready’s platform through their phones and are also equipped with iPads, as well as various testing and monitoring equipment.
Announced Wednesday morning, the new capital will help Ready continue the momentum it has built during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has accelerated a wide variety of in-home care models over the past several months. During the crisis, for example, Ready has helped deploy thousands of tests in the six major markets where it operates.
“The goal has been to recreate a doctor’s office in the home to support telehealth,” Justin Dangel, Ready’s CEO and co-founder, told Home Health Care News. “And to then train a group of responders that, having conducted a medical visit together with our telehealth professional, can help work towards better outcomes through working on social correlates, behavioral health, mental health and adherence measures.”
Telehealth can generally account for around 30% of what takes place during a traditional trip to the doctor’s office, according to Dangel. Ready aims to be the bridge that closes that gap to provide a doctor’s office-type visit in the home.
In addition to GV, Deerfield Management and City Light are some of Ready’s main investors.
Combined, those three groups — along with Town Hall Ventures, Frist Cressey Ventures and others — have invested over $100 million across two funding rounds in less than a year.
Town Hall Ventures is the health care investment group co-founded by former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, who served during the Obama administration.
COVID-19 has particularly accelerated Ready’s business in New York. Ready’s original plan was to launch in New York in 2021, but New York’s dire need for health care workers and providers during the public health emergency sped up the process.
“We listened to what Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo said in his press conference: ‘If you’re a medical provider and you’re available, please come to New York. We need your help,’” Dangel said. “And we said, ‘We think we can do that.’ And that’s literally what we did, and that’s what we’re proud of. A lot of the communities around the country needed us — and still do.”
After Cuomo’s call to action, Ready began delivering COVID-19 tests to New york homes and throughout some of the city’s public housing complexes.
Ready has about 600 employees in its network, most of whom are part time.
The company delivers services to several hundred patients across the U.S. per day. The goal is to get to thousands of visits per day by the middle of next year, if not sooner, Dangel noted.
Apart from New York, the cities Ready currently serves include: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houma, and Shreveport, all in Louisiana. Ready also operates in Baltimore, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Reno, Nevada.
Ready kicked off its major testing efforts through a collaboration with Ochsner Health System, which has 26,000 employees and operates across Louisiana, Mississippi and other parts of the southern Gulf region.
That partnership has led to a 50% to 70% reduction in emergency room visits for the patients referred to Ready by Ochsner.
Ready declined to disclose any financial information in terms of revenue or profit.
Its main payer is Medicaid, which is on purpose, according to Dangel. Although Medicaid isn’t always the highest payer, its population generally needs Ready’s services more than most.
“If you do a visit for a patient with commercial insurance, you’re going to get paid more than if you do a visit for a patient on Medicaid. That’s just the reality,” Dangel said. “For us, we prioritize Medicaid not because it’s the best way for us to make money, but because it’s the people that need us the most.”
In the markets it serves, however, it visits patients from both high- and low-income areas.
“In Los Angeles, for instance, we get calls in Beverly Hills — and we get called in Compton,” Dangel said.
Moving forward, the plan for Ready is to launch services in Texas and Pennsylvania in the near future. It also will seek to continue expanding in the places where it already has a strong footprint.
Ultimately, the end goal for Ready is to be across the U.S. in every major market.
The newly announced funding will be used to help drive that growth. Additionally, Ready plans to use the capital to continue building out the necessary infrastructure to scale the business, grow visit volume, enhance its product offerings and expand the range of conditions it can support.
“We’ve gotten a lot bigger. We’ve helped a lot of people, and we’ve saved hundreds of lives, if not more,” Dangel said. “For us as a business, it was early for us to grow as much as we did. So in terms of the infrastructure, we’re investing heavily in catching up, and I think we now just feel like we’re catching our breath.”