Early-stage company Avado’s acquisition by content Goliath WebMD has rocked the small world of New York health tech, with both companies being located (or co-located) here. First is the acquisition price estimated by TechCrunch in the $20-30 million range. Co-founded by Dave Chase (whose Forbes articles we’ve occasionally commented on here), Avado developed its patient portal PRM (Patient Relationship Management) system, including direct messaging and the highly touted Blue Button, on relatively limited funding with a $1 million raise in March plus an earlier $300,000 from New York Digital Health Accelerator in addition to angel funding. Second, for WebMD, it is their first foray into anything that bridges from the patient to their physicians for messaging, reminders, and appointment scheduling. The TechCrunch article does remind us that WebMD, which has led as an online patient information since the ‘dot-com’ days, then acquired and expanded its physician-only, very separate content located on Medscape, has recently had a rocky road of late in generating revenue via advertising, and has its consumer information base nibbled away by condition-specific sites such as most recently Medivizor [TTA 24 Aug] and doctor information sites such as Epocrates and PDR Network. The co-founders will be joining WebMD; the jury is still out on whether WebMD will use Avado, the team and/or additional acquisitions to deepen patient engagement and bridge its two halves. From this interview with a tap-dancing WebMD spokesperson in MedCityNews, they also see it as a bridge to health plans. Additional content on MedCityNews.
WebMD is currently the subject of a lawsuit by MMR Global on platforms that resemble PHRs (it failed to settle in September). Avado is a further move in that direction–and one can predict that Avado’s patient portal WILL enter into this legal tangle.