Secure messaging platform TigerText raised $21 million in second round funding to expand its business. Shasta Ventures led the round, with new investors OrbiMed, Reed Elsevier Ventures, and TELUS Corporation also contributing. Existing investors Easton Capital, New Leaf Venture Partners, and New Science Ventures made up the rest of the round.
"[Shasta Ventures] have a really significant background in investing in next stage businesses," TigerText CEO Brad Brooks told MobiHealthNews."They're very smart in how they think about things and how they scale the businesses, they're also terrifically management supportive. I thought that they would make a good partner. At the same time OrbiMed had also reached out to us and I liked the idea of pairing up someone who had much deeper healthcare background."
The other two new investors, Reed Elsevier and TELUS, are strategic investors who Brooks said would support the business in future growth possibilities.
"Reed Elsevier are the largest medical publisher, they own Lexis Nexis," he said. "We think the ability to integrate information systems and things that they have into conversations is going to be really powerful. ... And then TELUS as well had reached out to us because they have a very large healthcare business in Canada. They own one of the country's largest EMRs and they have a lot of other healthcare relationships, so over time we're going to hopefully be building a bigger and bigger type of partnership with them."
In general, Brooks said TigerText is coming out of a major growth year in 2013 and working toward another in 2014. This round is their largest to date, bringing their total funding to just over $30 million. The company will continue to focus on its "freemium" service. Under that system, any doctor can start a TigerText network at his or her practice or hospital for free and use TigerText to communicate securely with any other doctor who signs on. The hospital or practice pays for the network only when they want to administer the network. Doctors who are affiliated with more than one practice can have multiple TigerText sign-ins on the same device.
The other major focus of the company for the coming year, he said, is its API, which it will be working on integrating with EHRs, PACs and laboratory information systems. TigerText will be incorporated into EMRs as an embedded chat window, fitting into doctors' workflows similarly to how Google's messaging service integrates with Gmail. Those conversations can then be saved as part of a patient's record. The company partnered with PointClickCare earlier this year to introduce this functionality.
Brooks thinks secure messaging is at a turning point, where providers will stop thinking of it as a necessary step to avoid HIPAA violations and start to think of it as a proactive tool to improve workflow and hospital efficiency.
"I think [the secure texting market is] in phase one, where [providers] acknowledge the issue and are taking steps to implement a solution to deal with the compliance aspect. Stage 2 is going to be 'What are the benefits of having this service that we can derive?' that they're just starting to be very conscious of, and then stage 3 is 'How do we integrate this platform into other services to increase productivity?'. We see that playing out over the next couple of years and we're just hopeful we're the best player to do that."