In March of 2020, I was looking outside my office window at empty Silicon Valley roads and realized that the world as we knew it has changed. Covid-19 was raging, shelter-at-home was just announced, and financial pressure and uncertainty were a potential death sentence to many startups.
With uncertain times, our team came together quickly to decide the best course of action. We had plenty of cash to navigate a storm but felt it was necessary to curb any unnecessary expenses. Right away. We needed to figure out how to enroll all of our users remotely. Somehow. Our clients - especially the struggling ones - needed our support - even if it meant allowing them to delay payments. Some of them took us up on that. The team rallied to continue our upward revenue trajectory. Anyway we could. And even though many startups were laying employees off, we found a way to avoid that. Our team IS the company.
Three months later, we were a leaner, stronger company. Because we shifted gears early and stayed strong as a team, Hello Heart was able to continue to close deals (even in the early days of the pandemic), enroll 100% of our users remotely at the click of a button, and deliver even higher user engagement metrics. We stayed united - and won. Thanks to everyone's hard work, we were also cash flow positive for the first time.
After the uncertainty passed, Covid-19 became the biggest accelerator we have ever seen for digital health adoption. Our customers used Hello Heart to share data with their physicians and cardiologists from the safety of their homes. They relied on our solution to maintain a healthy heart while staying home. Our clients (employers) fully understood the value we were delivering to users. And - - we tripled our revenue in a single year!
As the pandemic started to wane, the growth momentum for Hello Heart did not - it accelerated. Digital health care was forever changed. We were able to develop new relationships - including the one with CVS, and realized we needed to take full advantage of the increased demand. I decided it was time to add top talent and build a strong infrastructure to support our growth. The search for funding began and because one of our company’s values is to stay focused on the mission, we searched for the same when choosing investors. Given our strong momentum, we were able to attract some of the best funds in the world and had multiple offers on the table in a matter of weeks.
So why did we choose IVP? IVP is one of the best growth funds in the world, backing companies like Snap, Coinbase, Github, and Netflix, with expertise in taking companies public (120 IPOs so far). Their vision for companies in the IVP portfolio matches our goal of building a strong, independent company with a network of strong partnerships in the healthcare space. They also deeply understood our product secret sauce given their experience in growth hacking and AI. Parsa Saljoughian and James Black were able to articulate our product engagement model even better than we could.
But that is not the whole story. The decision to go with IVP was not an easy decision. We had higher offers we could have taken, and we only met their team a couple of days before we had to decide. The decision to go with IVP - came from the heart. Unlike other funds that focused on how they can help us grow revenue, IVP had a completely different pitch for us. Their team told us with passion why they think we can change the world together and help save lives. Each team member shared not how much $$ we will sell together but why they personally connect to our mission. Tom Loverro shared that he saw the need for our solution 14 years ago and tried to build it himself with a blood pressure cuff in the pre-smartphone era. Somesh Dash shared that he realized he wants to be a part of Hello Heart’s journey as his son was mourning over a loved dog that died of a heart attack.
Our leadership team and legal team worked day and night, and after a fun month of legal work (legal work is always fun right?!), we officially closed a $45M round led by IVP, with all of our key investors participating - Khosla Ventures, BlueRun Ventures, Resolute Ventures and Maven Ventures. I am super excited to have IVP as part of our growth journey and proud to announce that Somesh Dash will be joining our board of directors.
So now, we will get to work! The funding will be used to hire top talent across our go-to-market teams (sales, marketing, customer success, etc.) as well as our engineering and data science teams. And, as the leading provider of digital solutions for heart health, we will continue to drive innovation through user experience and AI. We will expand our product offering from hypertension to deeper heart health - hyperlipidemia, arrhythmia and incredible home diagnostic tools like ECGs that can help our users potentially catch life threatening situations in time.
None of this would be possible without our amazing users, clients, investors and employees. Thank you all!
Hello Heart is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.
1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27008. Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639225/000119312519185159/d731249ds1.htm. Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). https://validationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Hello_Heart-Savings-2021- Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)