Health IT

Fundraising: Social media and search platform to help providers attract new patients raises $2M

Read about the digital healthcare marketing company that has raised more than $2 million to expand its social media lead generator on prospective patients for payers and providers.

Company name: BrightWhistle.

Industry: Healthcare marketing through social media.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia.

Solution/product: The company describes its product as a “social patient acquisition” platform. Its software uses patient reviews provided on iPads, Androids and a Web-based program in physicians’ offices for its clients’ internal use as well as publishing those reviews in search engine and social media destinations. It uses the reviews to attract prospective patients to healthcare provider clients. The service is designed to produce leads for potential patients. “We can run multiple, concurrent social media and search campaigns for multiple service lines and deliver prospective leads with very specific needs,” said Greg Foster, the CEO and co-founder. ” It also has a call center that can take appointments its service generates. Its customers include hospitals, physicians’ practices and insurers. Of the 15 Facebook Ads API partners, it claims to be the only one that is healthcare focused and HIPAA-compliant.

Money raised: $2.05 million, adding to $1.1 million the company had previously raised in July last year.

How it will be used: The company said it will use the investment to advance the continued development of its patient lead generator, according to a company statement. Earlier this year, it opened a second office in Birmingham, Alabama. It has also added clients such as Piedmont Healthcare, Duke Raleigh Hospital and DeKalb Medical.

Investors: The round was led by Eastside Partners and Hamilton Ventures, and angel Paul Iaffaldano, and included new investors Fred Goad and G.T. Laborde.

Management team: Greg Foster, the CEO and co-founder, previously served as a partner at Atlanta venture capital firm Noro-Moseley Partners with a focus on early stage digital media companies. He has also been on the management team at startups that include e-consultancy iXL, ultimately acquired by Razorfish; digital e-marketer Silverpop Systems; and Southern Direct, which was later acquired by Turner Broadcasting.

Chad Mallory, the chief operating officer, previously co-founded retail marketing platform for automotive dealers called Nexteppe.

Two members of the management team have a healthcare background. Marcus Gordon, vice president of product development and strategy, served as director of marketing, public relations and emerging media at Tenet Health. Jason Hopper, vice president of sales and business development, worked at MedMined, a healthcare data mining and analytics company (acquired by CareFusion NYSE:CFN), where he developed statewide quality improvement programs for more than 150 hospitals and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Alabama, California, Louisiana and New York.

Market size: Tough to say, but a rough estimate of 4,000 top hospitals spend about $2.5 billion on marketing and about 5 percent of that is for digital marketing, Foster told MedCity News. Also, at least 173 million Americans used the Internet to find online health content, according to data from Manhattan Research.

Competitors: TBG Digital. Additionally, it wants to work with the “army of Davids,” companies it sees offering overlapping services and convert them into partners, according to Foster.