Klara picks up $11.5 million to improve communication in healthcare

Healthtech continues to make impressive strides forward, but some pieces of the healthcare puzzle are still lagging way behind.

Communication is one of those pieces. But a startup called Klara, which just received $11.5 million in Series A, is looking to change that.

FirstMark Capital led the round, with participation from existing investors Lerer Hippeau, Project A Ventures and Atlantic Labs, alongside a few angels, including Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner (Flatiron Health founders), Vivek Garipalli (Clover Health founder and CEO) and Clark Valberg (InVision founder and CEO).

Led by founders and co-CEOs Simon Bolz and Simon Lorenz, Klara looks to rethink the way communication is handled across the healthcare industry.

As it stands now, the vast majority of communication across a practice, both internally and with patients, happens either in-person or on the phone. A good deal of this communication is either diagnostic, or part of the treatment, and yet phone calls and one-on-one convos don’t offer a record of the conversation. They also take time.

According to Klara, the average practice misses around 34 percent of calls. Missed calls turn into calls back, which often turns into an endless game of phone tag. These back-and-forth calls take up a good chunk of a practice staff’s time.

But Klara, a HIPAA-compliant messaging service, saves up to two hours of time for a medical practice’s staff each day. The service lets all departments of a practice, from doctors to physician’s assistants to nurses to the payments department and the scheduling department, communicate via text about a patient’s diagnosis and treatment. The platform also allows medical staff to communicate directly with a patient regarding scheduling and treatment.

Not only does this save time for the staff, and reach patients where they want to be reached, but it also saves money. According to Klara, doctors estimate that phone calls alone cost between $15 and $20 each, and that prescription renewal calls alone cost around $10,000/year.

Klara hasn’t finalized its pricing, but charges on a per-month basis based on the size of the practice.

The long-term vision for Klara is to incorporate complementary services, like payments and scheduling, as well as insurance carriers and pharmacies. The idea is to turn Klara into the fabric of the healthcare system.

Klara says it currently has thousands of practices on the platform, with hundreds of thousands of patients. As part of the funding deal, FirstMark’s Amish Jani will join the board.