The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing startups in the Triangle is Axial Exchange, led by former Red Hat executive Joanne Rohde.
Determined to improve healthcare, Rohde and her team pulled off a complicated deal Thursday with the Mayo Clinic and doctors there who had helped create a mobile healthcare technology firm called mRemedy. As you would surmise, it’s all about mobile apps. With the world going wireless, so is healthcare – and Axial wants to be a major player in that space.
But there was much more to the deal than an acquisition and the addition of Mayo doctors to Axial’s advisory board.
Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s most prestigious healthcare institutions, is taking a financial stake in Axial.
Plus, the deal included a larger investment in Axial by its one institutional investor, Canaan Partners.
Axial, which launched in 2009, is also in the process of raising a Series A round of venture money.
And the Raleigh-based firm is hiring.
Rohde was traveling when the news was announced Thursday, but she replied to a series of questions from The Skinny as soon as she got off a plane. While Rohde wouldn’t disclose details on the financing, she did talk at length about the mRemedy deal and how the acquisition fits with Axial’s strategic plan.
The Q&A follows:
What appealed to you most about the new technology, and was this something your own firm couldn’t develop?
Axial has developed some award winning care transition solutions, but has not yet created a platform for supporting multiple mobile platforms. This transaction enables Axial to immediately leverage a proven platform. Specifically, it immediately enables Axial to create and service apps across iPhone, iPad, Android, and Android-based tablets. The market is moving so quickly now, that we determined it was too costly to wait on a home grown solution. This is the age-old “buy v. build” decision.
Your firm has received recognition for its technology – are you pleased with the progress of your venture at this point? What are the next big steps?
As a young company, we feel incredibly honored to have received national recognition for our solutions. Demand for our care transition solutions seems to be picking up, particularly over the last 6 months. So, yes, we are pleased.
Can you tell me how much your VC investor is putting into the firm as part of this deal?
Sorry, can’t disclose that.
How much did Canaan invest originally?
The original Canaan Partner seed investment was $1M.
Have you raised any funding since the $1M raise disclosed in the SEC filing in late 2011, and did you hit the $1M total? Was Canaan an investor at that point?
Canaan invested in fall 2011 – to date we have only what you would consider a large seed round. Sorry, I can’t disclose funding totals to date.
What is Mayo Clinic’s investment?
Sorry, I can’t disclose that.
Why are they investing in Axial, having decided to sell the other startup?
Mayo incubated this technology with one of the leading mobile app development shops in the country. After proving that the technology created value for health systems, the next logical step was to find a corporate home for it. They could have chosen just about any healthcare IT software firm in the country, and so we’re particularly pleased that they chose us. For Mayo, the deal means that Mayo Clinic’s health information content will now reach even more people. Their investment reflects their continued interest in us as a company and in mobile healthcare solutions as a way to increase patient engagement and reduce readmissions.
Are you seeking any additional funding at this time?
We’re presently seeking our Series A round.
Will the employees of the acquired firm be moved to Raleigh? How many are there?
How many employees does Axial have currently? Are you hiring? What positions are available?
We have around 10 people – a little more than 10 if you include our part time folks. We are actively recruiting developers and project managers.