Sequoia India, which has worked closely with Apple’s Steve Jobs, Google’s Larry Page and LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and other high-profile founders, led the round. The VC firm, which counts HealthEngine as its first direct investment in an Australian tech start-up, joins cornerstone investors Telstra Ventures and Seven West Media on the company’s board
HealthEngine also attracted new investors including private equity fund Alium Capital plus follow-on investments from Go Capital, Carsales.com.au founder Greg Roebuck, and the founders of ecommerce company Lux Group.
HealthEngine CEO, co-founder and medical director Dr Marcus Tan spoke to Dynamic Business about what the Perth-based company has achieved since its 2006 launch, what it looks for in an investor, and how it will be using the funding from its Series C round.
How would you quantify HealthEngine’s success?
Tan: We are multi-award winning business, considered to be one of the largest consumer healthcare sites in Australia helping over 1 million Australians get better access and a better experience of healthcare. We have facilitated over 8 million bookings since 2012 and had over 500k mobile app downloads. We started with 2 developers in 2010 and now have over 100 staff and have seen triple digit year on year revenue growth with a bluechip investor base.
What was your strategy for the Series C funding round?
Tan: When we set out to attract funding for our Series C, we were really looking to bring on partners that believed in the transformation of the healthcare system as a whole. We wanted people who embraced a global perspective, as well as having strong startup growth skills. Sequoia has a strong pedigree when it comes to investing in health and tech. They get what’s required to make a business succeed, and this will be pivotal as we seek to grow not just locally but when we decide to take our offering to new shores. When their name was raised, we naturally were very keen to push forward. Having a cornerstone investor like Sequoia India back our company and join our board is very exciting for us, particularly as we look to map out where we want to take our offering.
What attracted the new investors to your company?
Tan: Aside from being the largest online healthcare marketplace in Australia, I believe it’s our domain expertise and technical smarts that make us stand out. As a GP myself with over 15 years of health system reform experience, I understand the pain points and challenges practitioners and patients face on a day-to-day basis and challenges faced by the system as a whole. Meanwhile, my co-founder, Adam Yap, has a strong background in technology development. Together we know where the industry gaps lie, and how to create solutions to fix those needs in combination with a great team behind us.
How will HealthEngine use the Series C round funds?
Tan: Our mission is to improve the healthcare system for both patients and practitioners. While we have grand ambitions for our platform to be used globally, in the short term we plan to add to our product portfolio, expand into other markets, and consider acquisitions. It will also be used to bolster our team of over 100 staff, who currently work across our network of offices in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne.
How do your existing cornerstone investors support you?
Tan: Telstra and Seven West Media sit on our board and provide essential direction and support to help HealthEngine grow. Telstra Ventures made the initial introductions to Sequoia and Seven West have helped us raise our brand awareness. Both are recognisable brands in their own right and lend significant credibility which has helped us attract investors and customers.