Infratil CEO joins board of healthcare start-up Tend as it closes $15 million capital raise

Digital healthcare start-up Tend has raised $15 million through a closed capital funding round to finance the next stage of its growth.

The 3-month-old company, which conducts most of its patient doctors appointments virtually, is looking to acquire a string of medical clinics using the fresh capital.

Tend founder and co-chief executive Cecilia Robinson said the funds were raised by the original four company founders – herself and husband James Robinson, Theresa Gattung and Dr Lee Mathias, along with new director and shareholder Marko Bogoievski – the chief executive of NZX-listed infrastructure investments firm Infratil.

Each have put in the same valuation of capital.

Bogoievski brings 30 years of corporate and technology experience to the board.

Robinson said he had long held the view that New Zealand’s healthcare system needed digitalising.

“Tend are challenging the status quo and giving New Zealanders greater control over managing their own healthcare. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the calibre of the team and their vision of making a difference to deliver quality health outcomes,” Bogoievski said.

The healthcare provider’s focus for the year will be on clinic acquisitions to add to its existing Kingsland clinic in Auckland, and will soon commence a round of hiring new staff.

“We’re really excited about the prospect of clinic acquisition,” Robinson told the Herald.

“In the current sector, there’s a lot of problems that we have seen and identified and we believe Tend is well-placed to provide an outstanding service to patients, doctors and nurses.”

Robinson said Tend would use the technology it had developed over the past 18 months to revolutionise the healthcare experience in this country.

While user and appointment numbers so far are commercially sensitive, Robinson said Tend had received “thousands and thousands” of app downloads and rated highly among customer satisfaction. About 70 per cent of its appointments are virtual.

There is no set number on how many clinics Tend plans to acquire by the end of the year, or where in the country these may be, although the priority would be those in Auckland initially, but how many would depend on the size of the practices, she said.

“If it is a substantial clinic then it might just be two or if it is less than that then it might be several – we’re open-minded,” Robinson said, adding that the company would look to acquire at least two clinics in 2021.

She said it was important Tend had a physical footprint for customers who were not comfortable with virtual appointments and a space for regular testing and diagnosis.

Tend has brought on Deloitte to provide specialist assistance as the company embarks on the next phase of growth.

By the end of the year the company is expected to be “significantly” larger in size.

It also plans to move into specialist areas such as midwifery and mental health, and will be looking for new staff across the business for a range of positions including specialist clinicians, customer support and merger and acquisition roles.

“The business has already experienced exceptional growth in the period that we have been enrolling patients, we’re really pleased with the results so far – it has far exceeded our expectations, and so I expect at the end of the year, with the clinic acquisitions we make, that will only continue to get even better.”

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