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The new reality of telehealth

The new reality of telehealth
 May 14, 2020

In March, the Department of Health & Human Services relaxed HIPAA rules, allowing doctors to use video apps such as Zoom, Apple's FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and Google Meet without a business associate agreement. The waiver helps health providers maintain patient care and protect populations with underlying or chronic conditions who might be at greater risk from CO-19. This relaxation of HIPAA is in effect until the pandemic ends.

On the back of the HSS notice, the telehealth sector saw a rush of deals, partnerships, and funding rounds. Today, Zocdoc introduces Video Service: a free, HIPAA-compliant telehealth video service any provider can use for video visits with patients. Zocdoc is certainly not alone in this pursuit, as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet have all announced similar programs.

However, HHS issued the rule relaxation as a response to the pandemic, and its effect is expected to end once the pandemic is over. Could the rules be walked back? Health-care lawyers expect telehealth will continue to grow, but when the HHS waiver expires, health systems will have to enter into more business associate agreements if they want to continue treating patients remotely.

This change could mean more compliance coming startups’ way, which would likely benefit large incumbents in the space already. Check out the telehealth companies covered by PrivCo.


The month of May saw two new Edtech unicorns. Last week, ApplyBoard raised $75M at a $1.4B valuation. Today, Quizlet joined the unicorn league with a $30M raise at a $1B valuation.

Some industry players have chosen to build vertically, such as Chegg, by offering everything from textbook rentals to internships to post-graduation continuing ed.

Quizlet is taking a different approach by offering a breadth of classes that serve a broad audience. Quizlet also has a social bent to it. The company connects students to virtual flashcards and study guides. Once a user makes a guide, he or she can share a unique link with friends and collaborate ahead of a test. School shutdowns due to COVID-19 have caused students to flock to the platform as they look for new ways to study, retain information, and collaborate.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Waymo raises another $750M for self-driving cars. Waymo said Tuesday that the $750M expands the size of its first external investment round to $3B. The pandemic has accelerated the development of contactless businesses, and self-driving cars are front and center of this trend. The challenging economic environment also sped up the consolidation of the many competitors in the space, forcing investors to line up behind the most likely winners. This round, with the Canadian pension CPPIB and Fidelity, among other high profile investors, is certainly a show of confidence from the investment community.

Slice, online ordering, and marketing platform for pizzerias raised $43M. This successful fundraising comes just a day after the Grubhub / Uber takeover bid announcement. While the industry giants are looking to band together, the newcomers are still thriving and growing. Slice said that business was up and that more than 90% of the 12,000-plus pizzerias that work with Slice have stayed open.

Rakuten, often referred to as the “Amazon of Japan” with its extensive holdings in e-commerce and streaming media, has made an acquisition of engineering company Innoeye. Innoeye builds cloud-based solutions aimed at carriers and enterprises to manage networks and deploy services across them. Rakuten hopes that the deal will help it build up and flex a newer arm of its business: communications services.

UpKeep raises a $36M Series B to help facilities and maintenance teams go mobile.

Sleeper raises $20M to expand into fantasy esports.

DispatchTrack, a last-mile logistics platform, raises $144M in its first-ever funding. announces $30M Series A to build out a lower-power edge chip solution.

Nanit raises $21M for its baby monitor, app, and a new line of wearables for infants.

Omnitracs buys VisTracks.

RxSense receives investment from Parthenon Capital.

Eventbrite secures $225M from Francisco Partners.

Twitter acquires mobile DSP CrossInstall on the hunt for mobile performance dollars.

Tim Hortons eyes China coffee drinkers with Tencent investment.

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