Health IT

Healthcare social networking, gaming startup backed by Cigna raises $21 million

A health IT startup that’s been working with Cigna to develop a digital health engagement platform to improve their customers’ experiences has raised $21 million in a combination of debt, options and warrants.

Audax Health Solutions, a three-year old company based in Washington, D.C. is seeking to raise $45 million, according to the Form D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Its main product is a social network where patients can connect with each other and consult with experts.

When the agreement was announced earlier this month, Cigna’s chief information officer Mark Boxer joined Audax’s board of directors. He talked about what attracted the insurer to the health IT company.  “The power of Audax Health is that digital personalization, social networking, gamification and analytics can turn a mundane or onerous task into something positive, fun and rewarding. … Together, Cigna and Audax Health will develop a powerful platform to engage, educate, motivate and reward individuals to improve their health and health benefits.”

The company is led by Grant Verstandig, a 23-year-old entrepreneur named to Forbes annual 30 under 30 list, has trained as a research fellow with the National Cancer Institute. He recruited the former head of the National Cancer Institute, Richard Klausner, to the board. Last week, it filled four senior posts, among them Camille Watson as chief marketing officer from shopping deal of the day website LivingSocial, and Dogu Celebi, the senior vice president of informatics, who comes from health services business OPTUMInsight.


Cigna’s deal with Audax Health earlier this month follows a trend of payers ramping up consumer engagement tools to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce healthcare costs. A report last year by Chilmark Research showed that Aetna, UnitedHealth and Kaiser Permanente led the sector in adopting consumer technology.


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