Image from SurroundSound5000 on Flickr

Image from SurroundSound5000 on Flickr

As the healthcare sector steadily becomes more tech-savvy, investors are ploughing cash into startups that are bringing wider network benefits to what are typically local services. Today came funding announcements from two startups, Doctor on Demand in San Francisco and Figure 1 in Toronto, that are attacking different sides of the healthcare field.

Making doctors mobile

Founded by Dr Phil and his son Jay McGraw, video-appointment service Doctor on Demand has naturally received a lot of attention since its launch in late 2012. With the news of a $21M Series A on the back of a $3M seed round at the end 2013, the company now appears to be growing very quickly. This latest round was led by Venrock, a VC outfit with a very strong pedigree in health and biotech investments. Shasta Ventures and Richard Branson also participated. 

At the moment, the startup works as follows: patients make $40 video appointments with physicians. These appointments then take place via mobile or desktop apps and the physicians will write up prescriptions if appropriate. Doctor on Demand's patients can access the service as individual consumers but it seems likely that the company will want to scale out the corporate side of its business rapidly. Indeed, the second half of today's announcement was that new customer Comcast will be offering the service to its 100,000 employees.

Available in 46 states, Doctor on Demand intends to use its new cash to expand its service, increase the number of doctors in its network (the number currently stands at 1,400) and of course, make more hires.

Harnessing the expert crowd

Figure 1 applications

Figure 1 applications

On the other side of the continent and just north of the border, Figure 1 has revealed its $4M Series A led by Union Square Ventures. Billed as free and safe photo sharing for physicians, the startup operates iOS and Android apps which enable healthcare professionals to share and discuss anatomical images. 

Anticipating obvious privacy concerns, Figure 1 stresses its strict controls which forbid any identifying patient information being posted. Since its launch in May 2013, one hundred million images have been viewed via the apps and the startup claims 125,000 healthcare professionals as users in hospitals across the globe. Indeed 15% of US medical students are apparently using the service at institutions including the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center.

Currently available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the startup plans to use its new capital to expand its service into new markets and build out its team. The vision, explains CEO Gregory Levey, is to “make Figure 1 indispensable for healthcare professionals.”