Visana Health is pursuing a whole-person approach to radically improve the health system and women’s health outcomes.
Joe Connolly, CEO and co-founder of Visana Health has a personal NorthStar: to improve health outcomes at scale. His mission and passion were born from his mother’s experience with chronic and complex gynecologic conditions, and the abject lack of support and treatment for her ongoing suffering.
This led to the original thesis for Visana – to improve outcomes through an integrated whole-person care model, with virtual medical care utilizing their network of nurse practitioners, MDs and OBGYNs and providing care coordination for in-person services , behavioral and mental health. Today, Visana Health delivers and orchestrates women’s health care in all 50 states.
A multi-faceted solution
Visana Health’s core product is a team-based care model with technology to support it, enabling a new way of delivering health care that’s designed specifically for women. That technology allows the entire care continuum to work together on complex cases and ensure there is high adherence to evidence-based care.
For the patient, Visana’s solution works to make their health journey seamless and frictionless with a tech-enabled experience they’ve come to expect in other areas of their lives. In addition to virtual visits, Visana Health works asynchronously with patients to identify and remove any barriers that might arise during their care journey.
To accomplish this, Visana innovates on a clinical model and a business model, and builds and grows its network, all while iterating on the technology to support it. And they’ve proven they can be successful doing it.
Poised for growth
Visana is moving quickly to achieve its vision of a dramatically improved experience and health outcomes. With an earlier $2.6 million investment, Visana validated its clinical model, proving it could deliver differentiated patient outcomes at a lower cost and then selling it to health plans and self-funded employer groups.
“We had phenomenal clinical outcomes coming out of our initial rollout, and we were getting very strong traction in the market,” explained Joe. “But now we’re at a point where we understand the clinical model – and it’s about productizing it, building that technology overlay and starting to scale.”
The latest $10.1 million investment will allow Visana Health to make significant investments in their technology and their clinical network, and to capitalize on the growth opportunity before them. Raising this next round wasn’t about de-risking the product market fit because it had been proven, but rather about getting the necessary capital to scale – a story that the investment community was excited to hear.
“The lines are so gray and blurred that it can be difficult to discern the right time to raise money, how much you should raise, and to prep for the different scenarios you may encounter,” said Joe. “MESA mentors Jim Moar and Dustin Bruzenak were instrumental in making sure that we felt prepared to fundraise and move forward.”
Joe’s mentoring relationship with MESA began in early 2021. As a newer founder, he was looking for someone to help him see around corners and think through challenges and opportunities for the business.
“I’m a first-time founder and there’s a very steep learning curve. It’s really difficult to be an entrepreneur – it’s a very different animal from working within a big company,” said Joe. “Our team has doubled in the last three months, which creates challenges operationally and organizationally.”
“With a mentor relationship, I have people that have done it before and can say ‘Here’s the way that I have thought about and approached this kind of problem.’ And MESA mentors are all aligned to make a startup successful.”
Meeting every month with mentors Jim Moar and Dustin Bruzenak provides a more formalized way to gain knowledge more quickly and with a regular cadence. Both Jim and Dustin have great appreciation for and sensitivity to the role of a new founder/CEO, having been in the startup trenches themselves.
“Visana and Joe Connolly epitomize what is an ideal MESA portfolio company and ideal mentee. From the beginning, Joe had a strong value proposition in a large, important but under-served market,” Jim shared. “With our encouragement, he moved fast to get his offering into use and achieve clinical results to validate the value. From there, he was able to take these results to large payers and end-user companies with great response which led to the major capital raise just achieved.”
“Joe asks great questions, is open to ideas, and he crafted a game plan that quickly achieved results and great market visibility in a market not known for its speed. Dustin and I have been delighted to help and are greatly impressed with Visana’s progress.”
Staying focused on the vision
Visana has shown tremendous outcomes on a smaller scale. As Visana moves toward 50 and 100X patient volume in 2024, their next goal and challenge is to continue delivering those same great outcomes.
Longer term, Visana is thinking about women’s health in a much different way. Rather than the narrow traditional focus on maternity and fertility – the mission is to open the aperture to the conditions that impact women .
“At the end of the day, the healthcare system has really been designed for men. We want to think through what a healthcare system would look like that’s designed specifically for women,” Joe explained. “We’re thinking long term about how we can design things differently and take on more and more of women’s health needs.”
Joe takes great pride in the mission-driven team at Visana, a group of individuals who wake up every day with a shared determination to create a company dedicated to improving the lives of patients. It’s a noble mission, and one worth keeping an eye on.