Not just another virtual-care company: GA bets on Vida Health

Vida, which treats mental and physical conditions together, stood out to GA for many reasons, including its proven engagement, with revenue more than tripling since the start of 2020.

General Atlantic has tracked many virtual-care technology companies looking to address specific disease conditions, but few like Vida Health presented such an expansive solution to attract investment from the growth equity firm.

Picking its spots carefully, GA led a $110 million Series D investment in fast-growing Vida, whose holistic virtual healthcare services help manage and prevent both chronic mental health conditions and physical health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Vida follows GA’s 2020 investment in Doctor on Demand, which after its recent merger with Grand Rounds plays in behavioral telehealth, virtual primary care, care navigation and expert medical opinions.

For Vida, the capital injection brings the San Francisco company’s total funding to date to $198 million, with Centene, AXA Venture Partners and Ardea Capital Partners also joining as new investors. 

Despite the many narrowly defined virtual healthcare solutions scoring venture capital attention, GA has invested in few due to a concern around low levels of awareness, engagement and utilization, said Robbert Vorhoff, managing director and global head of GA’s healthcare efforts. These issues have left many players unable to present a compelling case when it comes to patient outcomes and return on investment to whomever is paying for the solution – be it a health plan or an employer, he explained. 

Vida, however, sits at the intersection of behavioral health, virtual care and chronic disease management, fueled by the effective deployment of AI and machine learning to incentivize and drive patient motivation and behavior change, he said.

“What we really liked about Vida was the breadth of the services and the integration of behavioral health capabilities into the chronic management capabilities,” Vorhoff said. 

GA believes this model ultimately lends to better utilization. For example, most individuals with diabetes – like almost every chronic condition – have multiple comorbidities, Vorhoff said. Hence, “they shouldn’t have to go to multiple solutions to engage and address those comorbidities.”

Vida addresses another common problem. That is, clients are bombarded with an ever-growing number of niche point solutions. “That’s led to overwhelming building vendor fatigue,” Vorhoff said.

Vida’s integrated model – which also includes a complete Spanish-tailored experience – has been validated in the remote environment. Since the start of 2020, Vida’s revenue has more than tripled, expanding its network of therapists, coaches, dietitians and diabetes educators by more than 400 percent. Its most used products help treat Type 2 Diabetes and mental health, with 400,000-plus people with diabetes currently using Vida’s services. It also witnessed a 6,000 percent increase in therapy sessions in Vida last year. 

“Now, it’s [virtual care] going to be demanded from patients from a convenience standpoint,” Vorhoff said. Unfortunately, behavioral health in particular has seen a dramatic rise in demand because of covid, presenting perhaps the most potential for the biggest improvement on the virtual-care front, he said: “Already before that spike in demand you had a limited and fragmented supply of providers.”

Broadly, Vorhoff believes peoples’ engagement for clinical purposes over a virtual mode remains in the early innings. The industry, termed telehealth in the early days, was almost all telephonic and limited to primarily urgent care needs. 

Now, there’s significant learning going on around the optimal balance between virtual care – whether via text or video – and in-person care, he said. As the industry rapidly matures, the basis of competition will be much different as companies are held accountable for improvement in clinical outcomes, he said. 

“You’ve got a lot of small companies out there that are pretty undifferentiated and were playing off macro needs for virtual [solutions],” Vorhoff said. “The table stakes are much higher than that now. You’ve got to be able to show: why is your engagement [better] and care model more effective than others – and not just another virtual care company?”

Today, Vida’s customer-base includes employers like Boeing, Visa, Cisco and eBay, as well as health insurers including Centene, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

At Centene, which has already deployed Vida in 20 states for its health insurance marketplace product, Ambetter, many members enrolled are treated simultaneously for both physical and mental health ailments, the company said. 

Existing investors who also participated in the latest funding include Ally Bridge Group, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Canvas Ventures, Guidewell, NGP Capital and Workday Ventures.