Lark Health raises US 70M
Lark Health, which offers AI-powered digital care platforms for chronic diseases, has raised $70 million in new funds, which it plans to use to expand its relationship with Anthem and eventually deepen partnerships with other payers and telehealth providers.
Lark Health, a provider of chronic disease prevention and management programs, closed a $55 million Series C funding round as well as a $15 million venture debt credit facility. It will use the new funds to advance partnerships with telehealth providers and commercial payers, starting with Anthem.
The funding round was led by King River Capital and included the following new investors: Franklin Templeton, SteelSky Ventures and Olive Tree Capital. The company completed its venture debt credit facility with Trinity Capital and Bridge Bank.
So far, Lark Health has served nearly 2 million patients through its programs. The company has existing partnerships with several large Blue health plans, and regional health plans, such as Bloomington, Minnesota-based HealthPartners, Lark Health CEO Julia Hu said in an email.
“Virtual care and telehealth are critically important now — more so than ever,” she said. “People with chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular conditions are at a much higher risk of having a severe case of Covid-19 if they contract the disease. And, at the same time, they still need frequent, high-touch care to effectively manage their conditions but need to obtain that care at home. Our combination of virtual and telephonic care plus connected smart devices allow them to do just that.”
The company will initially use the funds to expand its partnership with Anthem. Lark’s programs will be made available on mobile apps for Anthem-affiliated health plans, giving policyholders access to the company’s personalized counseling programs powered by conversational artificial intelligence.
“Lark’s use of conversational AI to scale personalized, evidence-based, and engaging healthcare services can help achieve health outcomes on-par with programs based on in-person interactions,” said Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem’s chief digital officer, in a press release.
Lark Health offers programs to manage and prevent diabetes and hypertension. It also offers behavioral health coaching that supports mental health and lifestyle changes, such as tobacco cessation.
Program members gain access to an AI-driven platform that communicates with them via text messages. The platform learns how to personalize the experience for members and monitors them remotely, using connected devices such as blood pressure cuffs and glucose monitors. If issues arise, such as medication changes, it connects them to live nurses and health coaches.
The company has published research to demonstrate the efficacy of its programs. Last year, it released a study examining whether its Diabetes Prevention Program is able to engage older adults, especially since this population has the reputation of avoiding digital tools.
The study showed that the program was able to engage the 360 participants older than 50 years and to drive an average of 4.3 percent body weight loss, which works out to an average of 4.4 kgs.
Further, the Diabetes Prevention Program received full recognition status from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the highest level of clinical recognition the CDC offers.
The company’s Series A funding round in 2013 raised about $11 million, and its Series B funding round raised approximately $20 million in 2017, Hu said.