#PowerToThePatient — CRV’s Investment in Marley Medical’s $9 Million Seed Round
By Kristin Baker Spohn, General Partner
There is strong clinical evidence about what patients should do next after they’ve been diagnosed with many chronic conditions, but the healthcare system doesn’t make it easy for patients to access and implement those findings into their daily lives. To put it simply, the way the current healthcare system is designed, it doesn’t meet patients where they’re at. Stakeholders often aren’t incentivized to coordinate the under-resourced clinicians. The clinicians in turn are facing burnout because of the administrative burden they’re forced to work under. Instead of win-win, it’s lose-lose and patients with chronic conditions are the ones who lose the most. Even that term “patient” implies that the person in pain who wants and needs care must wait for something to happen to them. Here at CRV, we’d much prefer to imagine a world when patients can be in the driver’s seat, or at least sitting shotgun, when it comes to making decisions about their well being. It’s time to bring power to the patient and for the industry to make it easier for us to get the care we need, when and where we need it, which most often is right in the comfort of our own homes.
This is where Marley Medical comes in. Marley Medical’s mission is to put power in the hands of the patient to manage their chronic condition. Today the CRV team is excited to announce our investment in Marley Medical’s $9 million seed round.
Throughout my career I’ve been at the intersection of healthcare and technology and I’ve never been as bullish about the space as I am right now. Part of that confidence comes from my own personal experiences as the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) for my family. The pandemic is making all of us more cognizant of the medical choices we make for ourselves and our loved ones. Telehealth is being adopted out of necessity due to COVID, but it also makes the healthcare experience a whole lot easier on consumers and clinicians as well (for more on that topic see #PowerToThePerson Interview — CRV’s Kristin Baker Spohn Chats with Wheel Co-Founder and CEO, Michelle Davey About Powering Clinicians Through a Pandemic and Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Now the virtual care ecosystem powered by Wheel and others was in motion years ago, but the pandemic shifted the adoption — by patients and providers — into high gear. That shift in the way we interface with medical providers is opening the aperture in a way that we can now see new opportunities for at-home diagnostics, connected devices and care that is right around the corner, instead of five to ten years from now.
Chronic conditions, like heart disease as an example, require care and ongoing management. It’s also a common cardiovascular concern that has been well documented and studied in depth, so physicians know what things work well that can lead to great outcomes for patients. The problem is that the healthcare system doesn’t make it easy for patients to do the right things, so patients can begin taking those necessary steps that help them get their health back on track. That’s where Marley Medical comes in. Marley Medical is a virtual primary care clinic for patients with chronic disease.
Oftentimes, chronic diseases can, and should, be managed from home, but that requires that the patient be put first ahead of the process. See, the payment structure of legacy healthcare was to focus on process. Payment came about as a direct result of a specific number of minutes a provider spent (typically in office) visiting with a patient. Another reason why I’m looking forward to working with Marley Medical is because that’s also changing. A few years ago, it was hard to get paid doing that (putting the patient first), but now we as consumers are paying out of pocket. Not only are we able to vote with our wallets, the government and insurers are more open to paying for health outcomes (value based care). The shift toward value based care is yet another thing that will help propel Marley Medical forward.
I’m also excited that CRV decided to back Marley Medical because we trust this team. Trust is a big thing here at our firm. We don’t do “deals,” instead we partner with founders and teams we wholeheartedly believe in. With Marley Medical my partners and I know that we’re investing in great people that are building a truly compelling product and that’s because I have prior experience with this team. I sat on the board of Propeller Health and got to work closely with Chris Hogg, David Hubanks and Joe Slavinsky. I’ve seen these three amazing humans in action. They’re all healthcare veterans who innately understand the nuances and complexity of the healthcare industry (something that can often be an Achilles heel for new entrants in the space). Chris, Marley Medical’s co-founder and CEO, in particular has tested and iterated at several digital health companies and knows how build product and drive the go-to-market in this space, which is a huge boon for this talented founding team. David is essentially two superhumans rolled into one dynamic package. He can run point on operations (on super complex hardware, sensors, consumer software), but is also incredibly technical. Joe is an absolute pleasure to work with and a business development ninja, so getting this trio back together feels a bit like a reunion of one of my favorite bands or heading to a Pearl Jam concert. Needless to say, I’m pumped to hit the ground running and to begin working with all three of them again.
If you’re a founder who is looking to make a big impact and hoping to do so by staying laser focused on building the next big company that will disrupt the healthcare industry, come on by and meet me and the rest of the CRV team. We always love meeting talented founders.