Health

Unite Us scoops up NowPow to broaden its reach in social determinants of health tech market

On the heels of its acquisition of Carrot Health, social determinants of health software platform Unite Us has scooped up another major player in the market, NowPow, to quickly scale its integrated health and social care networks.

The combined network will help connect people to the resources they need—from food and housing assistance to counseling and caregiver support.  

The companies are coming together at a pivotal time in the country when all stakeholders are focused on reducing inequities and improving health, Unite Us executives said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal comes on the heels of Unite Us’ recent acquisition of analytics company Carrot Health. Unite Us and NowPow will add Carrot’s data-driven solutions to their community-based technology that predicts needs, enrolls clients in services, measures impact and pays for community-based services through its nationwide network.

RELATED: Unite Us acquires Carrot Health to strengthen analytics of its social determinants of health platform

“We are thrilled to embark on a joint vision with the NowPow team and combine NowPow’s high quality, whole-person approach and research-validated condition-based algorithms with Unite Us’ proven end-to-end solutions and scale,” said Dan Brillman, Unite Us CEO, in a statement.  

Brillman said it was the “right time for this combination,” which will drive “outsized impact for the country.”

NowPow, based in Chicago, is a community resource network management software-as-a-service platform for health and social service referrals. Stacy Lindau, M.D., a practicing physician and scientist at the University of Chicago, co-founded the technology startup six years ago with the idea of e-prescribing community resources. The platform initially launched with the support of a $6 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“NowPow’s roots are on the South Side of Chicago where residents, leaders, caregivers, and scientists have collaborated to ensure everyone seeking support can find the resources they need for independence, wellness, living with illness, and caring for others,” said Lindau, who also serves as NowPow’s chief innovation officer, in a statement.

“Needs are rising fast and our partnership with Unite Us accelerates our shared vision to ensure everyone, everywhere knows where to go for resources in their community,” she said.

RELATED: Unite Us banks $150M series C to scale up networks linking health and social services
 
The two companies have diverse experiences addressing inequities at the structural, community and institutional levels and are teaming up to eliminate fragmentation between health and social care providers and allow communities to better coordinate and support individuals seeking services, executives said.

Since launching in 2013, New York City-based Unite Us has built out a tool that helps organizations screen individuals for needs around housing, food security and other issues. Those flagged can be electronically referred to community programs and other social service programs within its network while also providing the referring organization with tools for managing their care plan, delivering communications and monitoring broad-scale outcomes.

As of March, the “unicorn” had raised a total of $195 million to date from health and tech investors including Optum, Transformation Capital, Salesforce and Town Hall Ventures. Unite Us counts a number of well-known healthcare organizations among its clients including Kaiser Permanente, Humana, CommonSpirit and CVS Aetna.

The startup has a valuation of more than $1.6 billion, according to the company.

With over 1 million screenings and millions of referrals to date, NowPow has evidenced e-prescribing social care for large populations with its personalization logic, condition algorithms, and resource directory. Unite Us will add NowPow’s tools and community partners to its technology system. 
 
“At a time when communities and policymakers are rightfully demanding a faster pace and greater interoperability, we are bringing our complementary strengths together to achieve deeper impact — both now and far into the future,” said Rachel Kohler, NowPow CEO, in a statement.
 
The combined companies have a diverse customer and partner base of payers, providers and governments and well as educational services, child welfare and community-based organizations.

“Our communities look to Unite Us to solve extremely difficult technology challenges and with our acquisition of Carrot Health and NowPow, we reinforce our commitment to building the operating system for social care to improve the health and well-being of every individual we serve,” said Taylor Justice, co-founder and president of Unite Us. 

RELATED: How a new wave of technology startups is tackling social determinants of health challenges

Social determinants have received a renewed spotlight within the industry as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health inequities. This has led to social determinants investments from major players like UnitedHealthcare as well as new deals surrounding these platforms such as Chicago-based NowPow’s recent deal with Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Startups focused on the social determinants of health are attracting big investment dollars as well as spurring M&A deals. Health technology company WellSky recently acquired Healthify to scale up its social determinants of health initiatives.

Other startups in the space include Aunt Bertha as a referral service to help connect people to social services. There are also companies in the social determinants analytics camp such as Socially Determined, Arcadia, Signify Health and Health Catalyst.

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