Written by Brian Gormley for The Wall Street Journal

Vertical Venture Partners leads financing for tools that insurers can use to interact with customers


Zipari Inc., which has been largely self-funded since forming in 2014, has secured $7 million to expand the use of a cloud-based customer-relationship management system designed for health plans.

 

The New York company aims to emulate the success of Veeva Systems Inc., a venture-backed provider of cloud-based software for pharmaceutical companies. Veeva went public in 2013 and is valued around $6 billion.

Vertical Venture Partners led the Series A round for Zipari. The company raised seed funds last year and has also financed itself through customer revenue.

Medical insurers increasingly interact directly with consumers thanks to high-deductible health plans, which force individuals to manage their medical expenses, and the use of exchanges where individuals shop for medical insurance.

Health plans were created with employers and brokers in mind, Zipari co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Nathan said. In addition, providing the same type of consumer-friendly experiences people receive in other industries is difficult for health plans because relevant data exists in silos, according to Mr. Nathan, a former insurance-industry executive. His experience includes leading an effort to modernize Guardian Life Insurance Co.’s platform for health and dental plans.

Zipari’s CX platform pulls in consumer data from all of the plan’s systems and performs analytics to help them interact with their members more effectively. The platform also powers Zipari’s flagship CRM product, InsureCX.

Clients using InsureCX include Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey. Companies in health care and other markets increasingly prefer industry-specific to general-purpose CRM products, said David Schwab, founder of Vertical Venture Partners and a member of the Zipari board.

Companies “don’t want to buy [a] CRM and then hire a consulting firm,” Mr. Schwab said. “They want a CRM for them.”

Health plans that aren’t ready to adopt InsureCX can use individual tools Zipari also offers. Minuteman Health, which serves Massachusetts and New Hampshire, uses Zipari’s physician-finding tool. Part of Zipari’s strategy is to land customers through an initial product and introduce others to them over time.

Other health-care CRM companies raising venture capital include Evariant Inc., which disclosed a $42.3 million Series C financing led by Goldman Sachs in December 2015. McKesson Ventures added an undisclosed amount to the round in May. Clients can use Evariant software for tasks like identifying the best way to attract new patients to a medical practice.

Zipari hasn’t disclosed specifics about its revenue and profitability.

Original article can be found here.

Please read the official press release here.