A Q&A with Wellframe co-founder and CEO Jacob Sattelmair. The Boston-based healthtech startup, which offers a mobile patient care management platform, made news in early April when it announced the completion of a $1.5 million Seed funding round. Investors include athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, Tim Draper, British Medical Association president Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, former Accenture global managing director Russ Nash, Fidelity Biosciences venture partner Carl Byers, and Leerink Capital Partners founder James Nahirny. It was founded in 2011 by Sattelmair, CTO Vinayak Ramesh, Chief Product Officer Archit Bhise and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Trishan Panch.
SUB: Please describe Wellframe and your primary innovation.
Sattelmair: Wellframe is a Boston-based healthtech company. We deliver a mobile platform for care management and patient engagement to enable risk-bearing healthcare stakeholders to improve the capacity of their human resources to promote patient adherence and improve clinical and financial outcomes.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Sattelmair: Our primary customer segments consist of health plans and risk-bearing health systems. Our patient users are typically populations of patients going through a period of time during which they have a high level of need. For example: A patient who just had a heart attack, or who was just admitted to hospital for an episode of psychosis, or someone who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Our clinical users are typically care managers—nurses and coaches—tasked with guiding and supporting patients between formal interactions with the healthcare system.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Wellframe from the competition?
Sattelmair: Our main challenge at present is not competition per se, but rather we are hyper-focused on working with our partners to successfully introduce and integrate new technology to re-engineer long-standing care processes. Our customers are attracted to our ability to combine cutting-edge software, data science, clinical protocol and process improvement, consumer engagement, and healthcare service delivery, and our goal is to continue to develop our capacity to be optimally valuable in these areas.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $1.5 million in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funding?
Sattelmair: We see a large, emerging opportunity before us. This funding will enable us to harness the resources necessary to achieve success for a growing base of customers and partners.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Sattelmair: The majority of our investment is in human resources, and we are using these funds to hire across a number of key roles.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Wellframe? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Sattelmair: The vision for Wellframe emerged out of a shared passion among a very diverse group of co-founders. We envisioned a world where mobile technology and artificial intelligence could be used to give patients with real clinical need unprecedented guidance and support without losing the important human aspect of the clinician-patient relationship.
The idea and the platform grew from there with a constant focus on giving patients a better path towards health, and giving clinicians a better way to effectively and efficiently manage their patient populations.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Sattelmair: We’ve taken a different approach than many digital health companies, going through several clinical trials prior to commercializing our platform. This has taken time, but we believe it gives us a stronger foundation of learning and experience upon which to build, and positions us better in the industry as we grow. Working with large healthcare stakeholders as an early-stage company has its complexities of course, but it is where we see the biggest opportunity to impact patients and we have been very encouraged by our early partnerships.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Sattelmair: We partner with healthcare stakeholders who license our platform to improve the capacity of their human resources to better engage patients toward improved outcomes.
SUB: What are your goals for Wellframe over the next year or so?
Sattelmair: This is a very busy and exciting time for Wellframe. We are building up our team and continuing to invest in developing our platform to be optimally valuable to our customers. Additionally, we’re continuing to grow our customer base and expand the breadth of patient populations and clinical programs we deliver.