Trio of Brown University grads think elder care needs a helping hand with data

As a young boy growing up in Michigan, Robbie Felton went on home visits with his geriatric social worker mother.

Seeing low-income, elderly and disabled patients so vulnerable stuck with Felton. As a student at Brown University, he became interested in how Medicare and Medicaid integrate to take care of these patient populations -- so much so that he even left school for a while to work full time across the long-term care continuum and learn as much as he could about "very integrated high-touch models of care for seniors.”

Serendipitously, while studying at Brown, he realized he wasn't alone in his desire to help this population.  He and Evan Jackson, who partnered together on a project, pitched a similar idea to Alex Rothberg — separately — to their teacher. Jackson had been introduced to the senior care space when in high school as he worked alongside a mentor in private equity who invested in and acquired elderly care facilities.

Recalls Rothberg: “We had to apply to the class with an idea. The three of us basically submitted the same idea.”

That idea ended up being the genesis of what is today Intus Care, a healthcare analytics startup that aims to synthesize financial, clinical and administrative data to identify trends in long-term care facilities by integrating with electronic health record, claims and accounting software to highlight clinical risks in elderly patients.

If you’ve ever had an elderly relative in long-term care you can see firsthand how difficult it is for everyone involved in a patient’s care -- especially with all the staffing shortages that are prevalent today -- to have the time or ability to go through all of a patient’s clinical history to truly understand how to better care for them or prevent future illnesses or falls from happening.

“We’re trying to address some of the core issues surrounding the way health care has been built,” Felton said. “And the fact that it's disparate in nature makes the process of managing and caring for our loved ones so difficult.”

In summary, Intus’ mission is “to catalyze data-driven change” in the care of older adults. 

“At the base layer, we’ve created a solution that integrates with all of an organization’s data and surfaces the insights most important for them to tangibly push the needle on outcomes related to the quality of care that they’re providing,” Felton, who serves as the company’s CEO, told TechCrunch. “We want to help them scale a high-quality, high-value model of care to as many participants as efficiently and effectively as possible, nationwide.”

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The trio -- who just graduated five months ago -- raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding for their venture in March of 2020 and then another $1.6 million in May of 2021 from some angel investors and smaller institutional investors. They raised another $3 million in May of this year and today Intus is announcing a $14.1 million Series A financing led by Deerfield Management, with participation from existing backers Jumpstart, Nova and Collab Capital.

The startup operates as a SaaS business and its customers are the organizations providing care.

“Our end users are the care coordinators -- the individuals who are on the ground providing care services to the patients,” said COO Jackson. “We want to enable them with data so they can make more informed decisions.”

But really, anyone who is making proactive decisions -- whether it be care coordinators, facility managers or social workers -- can use Intus’ offering.

“You can use our tool at two levels,” Rothberg, CTO, explained. “One being very individual in terms of how do we get a snapshot of a person’s health in a much more comprehensive way than any other technology will let you.”

“And then zooming out a little bit -- how do we plan for this person's health over a six- and 12-month period…not just oh, someone fell yesterday. But more of ‘How do we prevent that?’ So if our data shows there's a pattern of falls and every single time it's between 4 and 6 am.”

The end goal is to not only recognize the patterns, Rothberg added, but let clinicians make plans going forward.

Intus plans to use its capital primarily toward hiring people experienced in scaling healthcare ventures, with a focus on engineers and product folks. It also wants to hire sales and marketing staff because thus far, the three founders and one other person have been working to acquire customers. Even with that small crew, Intus says it has experienced 50% revenue growth quarter-over-quarter this year.

Julian Harris, operating partner at Deerfield Management, said his firm invests across the healthcare industry and believes that Intus has built “elegant, intuitive tools to serve a range of users…in ways that impact cost and quality outcomes.”

“We believe they have incredible account management infrastructure, and they leverage insights from their customers to drive enhancements to the platform faster than any incumbents in the space,” Harris wrote via email. “They also have deep regulatory and compliance expertise on their team, enabling them to infuse their tools and services with these insights. And, the founders are among the best sales leaders I've encountered in my career.”