Work-Bench
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Work-Bench

Announcing our Investment in Courier Health

We’re thrilled to announce we led Courier Health’s $4M Seed round, with participation from a number of notable tech and biopharma executives.

TL;DR: Courier Health is building a Patient Engagement & Support solution to help biopharma companies support the hundreds of millions of people with a chronic condition or rare disease.

At Work-Bench, we spend a lot of time digging into every facet of the enterprise. Over the past few years, Customer Success has repeatedly surfaced as one of the hottest areas in demand (and a massive opportunity!) — shoutout to our Fund II portfolio company Catalyst, which modernizes customer success for software companies and further showed us the importance of customer engagement.

However, it wasn’t until we reconnected with Danny Sigurdson (who we have known in the NYC enterprise and Work-Bench community for 5+ years while he was a VP of Sales at ActionIQ) and his co-founder Jimmy Pomponio, that we realized Customer Success, but more specifically, Patient Success is a tremendous problem in the biopharma industry.

The Problem

Now more than ever, patient engagement is critical. Talk of patient engagement has been at the forefront of biopharma companies for years now. Fast forward and the pandemic has created a mass movement to digital transformation in healthcare and the investment floodgates in remote engagement solutions are opening. However, there remains a huge gap in technology designed specifically for engaging and supporting patients who are on marketed therapies (i.e., post FDA approval).

This is even more of an acute issue for the ~7,000 rare diseases that impact people around the world — the patient journey to access and stay on a given medicine is critical. Patients who are on rare disease therapies engage directly with pharma companies, where there are teams of patient support specialists who care for these patients. We were shocked to learn that up to 50% of patients drop off of therapies within three months, resulting in millions of patients losing access to critically important — and often life-saving — medicines prematurely.

Tragically, this outcome is not a result of the severity of their chronic condition or rare disease, but rather stems from the fact that as many as two out of every three patients that discontinue therapy do so because of an administrative issue. This can include incomplete patient forms, insurance reimbursement or copay failures, pharmacy coordination issues, and the list goes on.

What’s most frustrating is that this problem is completely preventable. Right now, patient engagement teams use spreadsheets and/or weirdly configured Salesforce instances to keep track of patient data and lack the technology to form a holistic view of the patient’s therapy journey.

This frustration in particular caught our attention given our experience with Customer Success in the enterprise software world. And in our interviews with patient support teams, we heard how: “We need tech to make the patient experience easier and more efficient;” “Nothing connects and drives patient’s through the funnel;” and “It would be a game changer to engage a patient well before they start thinking about their condition. This allows them to get ahead of their condition, become less reactive, and create overall more wellness.”

The Product

Courier Health is reinventing the patient experience by helping patient support teams better track, manage, and collaborate with patients, doctors, insurance, and more. They integrate disparate patient data sets to create a complete view of each patient’s journey. The solution provides biopharma companies with visibility into where each patient is in their journey, identifying risks/issues earlier and surfacing actions to optimize the patient experience and improve health outcomes.

In the future, their platform will help patient support teams be proactive and understand when problems may happen, before they happen. As for traction, they already have early pull from biopharma teams getting started on their software platform.

The Team

One of the most special parts about our partnership with Courier Health is our history with Danny, which dates back 5 years, where he was the former VP of Sales from ActionIQ and a sales machine (music to our Work-Bench ears). During his time there, ActionIQ worked out of the Work-Bench community space, where we had the chance to witness and respect his hustle and drive as a GTM leader for 5+ years before founding Courier Health. That, combined with a background in healthcare consulting gives Danny deep insight into the industry.

Jimmy comes from 12+ years building and running patient support programs at biotech companies, as the previous Head of Patient Services at Vanda Pharmaceuticals. From his experiences, Jimmy has a deep appreciation for the hard work and care that Patient Services put into their work supporting patients.

We could not be more excited to back this duo as they bring together their experiences in healthcare and SaaS to transform how the biopharma industry supports patients.

From Danny Sigurdson (left) speaking on a panel at Work-Bench July 2016…
…To the day we signed the Work-Bench term sheet with Danny and Jimmy June 2021!

Congratulations Courier Health! We couldn’t be more excited for this Work-Bench community story years in the making! You can read more about their story here.

Lastly, Courier Health is looking to hire. So if you’re interested in joining a passionate team on a mission to help patients, check out their careers page here.

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