Hoboken-based Noteworth is a healthcare startup that is having a defining moment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, which has a platform that allows healthcare systems and large medical practices to engage in remote patient care, recently closed a $5 million seed round.
Noteworth attracted some high-profile investors. The oversubscribed $5 million round was led by Laconia Capital Group (New York), with participation from Draper Associates (San Mateo, Calif.), Frontier Ventures (Cupertino, Calif.), Techstars Ventures (Boulder, Colo.), Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health (Pasadena, Calif.), SpringTide Capital (Cambridge, Mass.) and others.
NJTechWeekly.com spoke to Justin Williams, Noteworth founder and CEO, about raising a funding round during the pandemic and about the company’s vision going forward.
Relationship Building During A Pandemic
The startup began its fundraising journey towards the end of January, and was able to visit a couple of VCs in person. Then the pandemic hit. So, “contact with everyone else was online,” Williams said. “I certainly couldn’t make it out to Sand Hill Road or [Silicon] Valley to raise it. So that was all electronic, which was interesting. This is a high-consequence relationship to be beginning without having been in the same room with the investors. But that is what we are facing in general with work right now. We all must face that. The same thing applies to our clients. We are signing new clients without having ever been to their hospitals.”
He noted that it was great to attract attention from successful high-profile investors like Draper, but he didn’t especially seek these investors. “It came down to meat and potatoes. I mean, there are plenty of high-profile investors all over the place, but that may not bring a ‘value add’ to your company, specifically. We got into the conversations with the pool of investors who had already committed, and folks like Draper were in their orbit.”
COVID has “laid bare some of the inefficiencies and some of the inequalities in the healthcare space.”Justin Williams, Noteworth
These investors are interested in companies with world-changing platforms, Williams said, “and we believe we are doing something like that with how we can change the paradigm of care. Instead of patients coming to care, you can send care and innovation anywhere.” He added that he really values the advice from those investors who are digital healthcare specialists.
COVID has “laid bare some of the inefficiencies and some of the inequalities in the healthcare space,” Williams said. “And that, with some hard work and a little bit of reflection and using the right tools, we’re in a really interesting moment to be able to make this moment in time into something that fundamentally changes healthcare. And I know we’re committed to that.”
The Digital Front Door
Williams said that Noteworth’s platform had evolved since NJTechWeekly.com covered the company in 2018. It is now “the digital front door for doctors and hospitals.” The platform gives large medical practices and hospital systems a way to launch and use digital medicine tools across many different use cases. Digital tools like telemedicine, which is hot right now, medication management, condition management or home health tracking can be implemented easily through the platform.
“We are condition agnostic for the use case,” Williams said. “We give them the ability to use our platform to launch custom apps for whatever patient needs that they have. Our typical clients are doing things across chronic conditions and general wellness — normal sort of healthcare services — as well as mental health or surgery.”
The Noteworth platform allows doctors to look at a patient’s medical chart and gives them access to services that deal with whatever conditions the patient might have. “All I have to do is press a button, and you get that care delivery model dropped straight onto your phone, with all the tools and resources that you may need for successful patient education, for tracking medication, for a telemedicine portal to talk to your doctor, for help with tracking your care plan,” he said. When the next patient walks in, the platform can deliver a completely different model depending on his or her unique condition.
Williams said that while the company is based in Hoboken and has a “nucleus of employees” there during normal times, it had been transitioning to being all remote even before the pandemic hit. “We have 25 folks here in the U.S. that are located all over the place, from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California, to the middle of the country in Missouri, Colorado, Montana, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. We also have folks all over the world.”
The company will be using the funding to make some strategic hires. “We’ve already doubled in size since March,” Williams said, but there will be some challenges in transitioning from a small, very focused company to one that “can better meet the needs of our growing client base.” Noteworth will be using the funding not only to increase the headcount, but also to increase capacity, as they’ll need additions to their tech, sales and marketing teams to “extend their footprint in this space.”
Williams concluded that, while this is a business and has to be profitable, it makes him feel good to be helping people through his work. “We are touching people, sometimes in their worst moments and other times in their best moments, and the impact you can have on their lives going forward is massive. So, it definitely gives you a reason to run up the stairs and get to work.”