In yet another sign of the vibrancy of the point-of-care space, CheckedUp has secured an infusion of capital from PE firm Rockbridge Growth Equity. The deal will allow CheckedUp, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday, to increase its investments in condition-specific content and technology. The companies declined to disclose terms of the agreement.
Seeds of the partnership were planted in the middle of 2021, when CheckedUp hired an advisor to evaluate potential sources of growth capital. The well-regarded Rockbridge, an investor in digital out-of-home network Gas Station TV, proved a natural fit.
“They’re smart and they understand how to scale out-of-home businesses,” said CheckedUp CEO and co-founder Dr. Richard Awdeh, an ophthalmologist. “We were fast friends and fast partners.
Rockbridge managing partner Kevin Prokop pointed to “the thoughtfulness, the purposefulness” with which CheckedUp has built up its business in recent years, as well as the increasing demand for smarter, more specifically targeted educational and promotional content.
“More and more advertisers are thinking about digital out-of-home as an important play. They’re thinking about reaching people with video content at the most important points of the decision-making cycle,” he explained. “The trends are even more acute at the point of care. Pharma companies are finding it increasingly difficult to reach healthcare providers and end consumers.”
CheckedUp’s focus on four therapeutic verticals — ophthalmology, dermatology, rheumatology and oncology – has helped drive the company’s recent growth, especially among content-overloaded specialists. Awdeh feels their pain: “I’m a surgeon, so if I walk into an exam room and see rheumatology content — well, I don’t want to talk about that, because I haven’t talked about that since med school.”
That’s one of the reasons CheckedUp sought out the capital infusion: The company hopes to expand into other therapeutic specialties. Other uses for the cash will likely include further investment in technology (CheckedUp already owns its entire software stack, Awdeh noted) and, potentially, acquisitions (“whether in point-of-care directly or in technology,” Prokop added).
PE firms have been eyeing the point-of-care space for some time now, starting with two significant deals in 2019. That year, Littlejohn & Co. acquired a majority stake in the then beleaguered Outcome Health (which was merged into PatientPoint last March) and Westview Capital Partners invested in Health Monitor Network. Meanwhile, even as many offices closed their doors during the early months of the pandemic two years ago, point-of-care organizations continued to thrive.
All of that is to say: It’s a safe bet that more deals of this nature are on the immediate horizon.
“There is lots of white space in our specialty areas, so we’ll be looking for additional ones,” Prokop said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to bring complementary skills and networks to bear.”
Awdeh agreed, adding that CheckedUp will continue to focus on transparency — still a major priority for point-of-care players in the receding wake of the Outcome Health scandal that blemished the channel’s standing with marketers.
“Our partners want to know what they’re getting out of their campaigns with us. The transparency and reporting they’re expecting — we want to lead that,” Awdeh stressed. “If there’s one feature of point-of-care that can evolve over the next five-to-10 years, it’s that.”