Editor’s note: You’ve heard about “cold calls” and the challenges for sales people. But what about a “cold email” out of the blue to a potential investor such as billionaire Mark Cuban. Durham startup Validic took a chance – and Cuban took the bait. On Wednesday, Validic announced it had raised another $2.1 million in funding. WRALTechWire’s Jason Parker tells the story of the first big catch.

DURHAM, N.C. – Validic, which provides a centralized API that helps healthcare clients organize mobile health data, landed its first big investor – Mark Cuban –  as part of a $760,000 seed round thanks to an email.

No mutual friends.

No introductions.


. The conversation between Cuban and co-founder and CEO Ryan Beckland began when Beckland cold-emailed the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks last year.

Cuban responded within three hours, indicating interest.

A few additional email exchanges later, and Cuban had decided to invest.

“He is actively investing in mobile health apps and devices,” said Beckland, “and I think he just saw us as being complimentary to a lot of other applications that he’s interested in and invested in.”

Cuban serves as an advisor, said Beckland, and he adds a lot of value to the company, particularly in helping build a community of mobile health developers around the Validic technology.

“When we started, we wanted to build a system to incentivize behavior change,” said Beckland. The first iterations of the business made it clear that Beckland and co-founder and CTO Drew Schiller would need to build a better mousetrap, or change the mousetrap all together.

Because there are more than 97,000 mobile health applications and there will be an estimated 1 million by 2020, there’s a major problem in healthcare, said Beckland. Companies struggle “to figure out how all of the data fits together,” said Beckland.

The company, which started as the Scale Down Challenge and participated in the TechWildcatters accelerator in Dallas, TX, as Motivation Science, appears to have found a delivery mechanism to match their vision.

Validic’s centralized API gives their clients the opportunity to streamline the data of their patients, and will also help mobile health application developers like local companies INRFOOD and FoodLogiQ extend their reach to large insurers and healthcare providers.

The company decided to pursue this strategy in March, after test marketing the idea of a centralized API that could streamline medical and health data from a variety of mobile apps and make it usable and actionable for insurers, hospital systems, and other medical clients.

The startup closed $100,000 in revenues in 30 days after making this technology available, and they were up and running, operating under the Validic brand.

The platform has grown from 12 mobile app integrations to more than 70 integrations in less than six months. Though the company currently reaches 800,000 individuals, contracts signed for implementation in 2014 will extend that reach to 20 million, said Beckland.

“The power of mobile health is clear,” said Beckland, “there’s tons of promise there, but there’s also logistical issues of bringing that data into the health system in a meaningful way.”