Google bets on palliative care with $32M for Aspire Health

Dive Brief:

  • Aspire Health completed a $32 million funding round led by GV, formerly Google Ventures, the Nashville Business Journal reported.
  • The Nashville-based palliative care provider, co-founded by former U.S. Senate majority leader Bill Frist, plans to use the money to expand its geographic footprint and refine clinical services.
  • Currently, Aspire operates in 19 states and the District of Columbia, providing more than 100,000 home-based palliative care visits a year.

Dive Insight:

The investment is GV’s first in Nashville, a hot spot for healthcare companies that is home to such ventures as Hospital Corporation of America, Healthways, Community Health System and Change Healthcare. According to The Tennessean, healthcare companies contribute $38.8 billion annually to the local economy and over $70 billion globally in annual revenues.

In June, GV partner Tyson Clark told attendees at a tech conference sponsored by Launch Tennessee that the firm was looking for a potential deal in the southeastern U.S., the National Business Journal noted. It’s portfolio includes precision medicine developer Foundation Medical, Flatiron Health, a software startup that is using big data to speed cancer research, and One Medical Group, a concierge medical practice based in San Francisco. GV has also invested in Zipline, a robotics company that uses drones to deliver essential medical supplies to hard-to-access areas. 

Changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act have pushed the envelope for data-driven medicine, and GV is one of a number of IT firms eager for a piece of the pie. And there's a lot of money going into the space. Digital health funding is currently on pace to surpass last year's $4.5 billion mark. A lot of developers see a gold mine in the digital health space but not all players will win. GV's aforementioned portfolio members highlight some of the innovators in the arena (and the Google-cum-GV seal of approval doesn't hurt either). While a lot of these investments across the entire industry have yet to shake out in terms of ROI, the move into palliative care marks potential alignments into precision medicine, digital health and cancer moonshot efforts that are seen as the next wave of potential for innovation in the health space.

Other investors in the $32 million round were not named.

Filed Under: Health IT Finance