Techweek

Sharecare: the company making health digital

By    |   September 21, 2018, 1:22 am EDT

Sometimes, it becomes hard to completely encapsulate how large the impact of a single company can be. Sharecare possesses health data on over 100M+ US citizens. That represents well over 25% of the US population. And if that weren’t enough, on September 10, it beat out prominent players like Rubicon Global and Pindrop to be declared Atlanta’s best technology startup, according to the Tech Tribune. But how does a startup which is going to turn 8 in October this year get so much done in so little time?

Sharecare is a digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place. Its proprietary platform is designed to be a universal health app. The digital platform allows people to consolidate, manage, and have easy access to their health records and information conveniently. As a result, Sharecare makes it easier for Americans to manage their health. This makes it one of the primary entities in the EHR market, which is pegged to hit $33B by 2023 and was valued at $23.6B in 2016. But it isn’t just going for EHR, it’s going for the full pie – with the company’s wide services and massive network, it’s making a bid for the entire US healthcare industry, a $2.8T market.

Sharecare-Wellness-Digital-Health

Digital Technology and Health

The Sharecare origin story

In 2010, Jeff Arnold – the founder of WebMD – and Dr. Mehmet Oz of the Dr. Oz Show founder Sharecare. The idea then was to provide consumers with personalized resources to live their healthiest lives. At WebMD, the idea was to provide reliable medical information and use the internet as a way of improving access. With Sharecare, the idea was to take it to the next level by becoming a complete health solution for customers.

Sharecare doesn’t just hold your health records – it tries to add value to the lives of its customers by helping them access wellness. The company has built a digital community and a platform which helps customers access the evidence-based programs and health professionals they need to live their healthiest, happiest, and most productive life.

But how did the company manage to grow so fast? Two factors helped – a steady source of funding from a veritable who’s who of venture backers, and an ability to make strategic acquisitions to build a digital healthcare empire. Funds from celebrity backers like Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey (through her company Harpo Inc) were met supplemented by investments from Jeff’s previous employer Discovery, and Sony for a total seed round of $13M in 2010.

Also in October 2010, Sharecare made its first acquisition – DailyStrength, a social network-based support group founded by ex-Yahoo! and Facebook employee Doug Hirsch. Sharecare had enough funds left over to acquire dotFIT in June 2011, thus giving their customers access to fitness and nutrition advice, online fitness and exercise programs, and supplements. Sharecare replenished its capital in June 2011 as well, with a Venture round of $13M led by New Evolution Ventures. The pattern remains the same – Sharecare continued to grow through acquisition and kept topping off its bank account, acquiring Little Blue Book, WisePatient, RealAge, and PKC Corporation in 2012, BACTES in 2013, QualityHealth.com in 2014, Feingold Tech in 2015, Healthways and BioLucid in 2016, and Window Channel Network in 2018.

Sharecare today

With all these acquisitions in place, the company had built a truly comprehensive suite of healthcare services. Today, Sharecare helps its users diagnose their own health and wellness, get informed about the latest healthcare news and find the best health regimen for their lifestyles, track their health habits, store their health information securely, and find doctors and healthcare service providers with ease. Sharecare’s RealAge service – which tells customers their ‘real’ medical age based on answers to questions – was what helped them gain traction in 2012.

The difference between WebMD and Sharecare rests on the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. The latter uses data to be more customized and know more about the user. This helps Web 2.0 offer more personalized solutions. WebMD came at a time when access to healthcare information in even its simplest form was a revolution of epic proportions. With improvements and technology and a transformation into a digital economy, Sharecare was in the right place at the right time to take healthcare access to the next level.

Sharecare has been able to leverage its growing momentum well – the company has 65M+ actively managed consumers, which is nearly 20% of the country’s population, and is more than Uber’s 41.8M users as of March 2018. Sharecare has partnered with 5000 hospitals and healthcare service providers, constituting a vast network of customers and providers that stretch across the country. Industry estimates peg the company’s valuation at over $1B, with some estimates suggesting that the company is a $1.7B behemoth.

Sharecare has built a brand and presence which extends beyond providing healthcare services. In partnership with the venerable and respected Gallup organization, Sharecare runs the Well-Being Index – understood to be world’s largest dataset on well-being. The company has also joined forces with Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest healthcare system, to build The Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub. Sharecare is also the primary sponsor for the Atlanta Hawks, having signed a 5-year contract with them as the biggest brand on the NBA team’s jersey starting with the 2017-18 season. The partnership has been rewarded by the NBA for delivering the best partner-driven campaign in the season.

What does the future hold for Sharecare? It has collected a wide variety of healthcare data, and has become a go-to avenue for a vast number of Americans to access healthcare information and services. Arnold will hope the company can sustain its growth and success in the coming years, and has done a great job of keeping the company’s vitals healthy. The prognosis looks good for Sharecare.

 

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