With social distancing, self isolation, and remote working emerging as the standard behavioral protocol to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, this is creating new opportunities for fledgling industries and technologies to step up and show their true worth. And that includes telehealth.
While the ability to delivery health care services online and through other virtual communication conduits is not new, COVID-19 ushers in a new sense of urgency to enable medical examinations from afar. And it’s against that backdrop that Tyto Care, a New York-headquartered telehealth startup with Israeli roots, today announced that it had raised $50 million in a round of funding co-led by Insight Partners, Olive Tree Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from Orbimed, Echo Health, Qure, Teuza, and others.
Founded in 2012, Tyto Care has developed a handheld exam kit that anyone can buy. The accompanying mobile app and clinician dashboard connects the patient with health care professionals to receive a diagnosis, treatment plan, and prescriptions — all without leaving their home.
The Tyto Care kit is available for $300 from Best Buy in the U.S., or from Tyto Care’s private health system partners in several countries including the U.K., Canada, Spain, France, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, Thailand, and Uruguay.
With Tyto, a health care provider can examine the patient’s lungs, heart, throat, ears, skin, abdomen, and body temperature. This can help diagnose all manner of conditions including ear infections, allergies, coughs and respiratory issues, cold and flu, fevers, and more.
The kit bundle includes everything required for these assessments, including an otoscope for ear inspections and a stethoscope for heart, lungs, and abdomen.
In addition to the money it makes from selling hardware, Tyto Care’s business is built around a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, with health care systems paying a fee to use the the company’s platform.
The COVID effect
Countless telehealth startups have raised sizable investments in recent times — in the past month alone K Health and 98point6 raised nearly $100 million between them to bring various AI-powered smarts to the telehealth realm. The global telehealth market is currently pegged as a $25 billion industry, according to a recent MarketsAndMarkets report, and this figure had been expected to double within five years. However, with the coronavirus forcing industries across the spectrum to adapt, the true number could end up being much higher.
Tyto Care said that it had already seen a threefold growth in sales last year, and in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak hospitals and other health-focused organizations have increased their use of Tyto Care’s telehealth solution to examine quarantined patients remotely.
“Telehealth is heeding the call of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud that our unique solution is aiding health systems and consumers around the world in the fight against the virus,” said Tyto Care cofounder and CEO Dedi Gilad. “This new funding comes at a pivotal moment in the evolution of telehealth and will enable us to continue to transform the global healthcare industry with the best virtual care solutions.”
Prior to now, Tyto Care had raised around $57 million from big-name investors including Walgreens, and with another $50 million in the bank the company said it’s well-financed to expand its commercialization in the U.S., Europe, and Asia — as well as bring new AI and machine learning-based home diagnostics services to market.