While I don’t normally write about funding, it gets really interesting for me when a leader in an industry makes investments in a targeted startup supporting many market trends my firm been analyzes. This happened today with Kaiser Permanente making a $10M strategic investment in software-defined video collaboration firm Vidyo for them to further build out their growing healthcare vertical. This first requires a bit of a look at the bigger picture.
Enterprises are starting to move off proprietary networking and storage solutions and many are moving to software defined data centers (SDDC). Essentially, having an SDDC allows for greater flexibility, scalability and compatibility, making companies more agile and prepared for the ways that customer needs are changing. This is also true for video collaboration, where we are starting to see similar trends in both usage and infrastructure occurring. Video collaboration is rapidly moving towards open video technologies that don’t require special networks, network upgrades, fixed gateways or proprietary end points, but work on today’s available hardware. That means being able to run on existing networks, servers, PCs, tablets and even smartphones.
As video becomes an ever more critical tool in customer service and collaboration, it is even starting to be utilized by the healthcare industry to help drive down the cost of care. Improving patient outcomes and lowering the cost of care is possible using video technologies. One of the healthcare companies that has been at the forefront of using new technologies to help drive down healthcare costs and improve the levels of care has been Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente has an investment arm called Kaiser Permanente Ventures which exists to invest in companies that are creating technologies that may be beneficial to telehealth. Kaiser Permanente Ventures is one of the most active healthcare funds and recognize that this trend and realizes that many others will as well and, like all funds, are making serious investments in this space in order to enable it to grow and improve its own operations.
One of the companies in the video collaboration space offering high quality, easy to use video is Vidyo who has already demonstrated their technology working in a flexible manner within the healthcare, defense and financial services sectors. In healthcare, Vidyo has deployments at Mercy, American Well, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Wellpoint, EPIC, Philips, and of course, Kaiser.
We believe Vidyo is the current leader in open, software-defined video services and technologies for healthcare. Vidyo’s platform is the most scalable and has a FIPS 142-2 certified crypto-kernel, which is HIPAA compliant level encryption, making privacy and security much less of a concern for providers and users. This is why Vidyo announced today a $10 million strategic investment from Kaiser Permanente Ventures as well as an additional $5 million from an existing investor for a total follow-on round of funding of $15 million. That brings Vidyo’s total amount raised to $163 million from the likes of Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Rho Ventures and many others.
These investments, including today’s investments signal that the healthcare industry is giving Vidyo and the open software-defined video services industry a kind of “seal of approval”. Services like those that Vidyo offers have clearly become an integral part of how the healthcare industry sees itself moving forward. This means giving both healthcare providers and vendors reduced long term costs and improved levels of care to their customers in this hyper-connected constantly moving world. Vidyo’s platform offers companies across all industries, healthcare included, to adjust to the changing infrastructure and client realities of today in a way that also drives down cost and improve overall user experience.