Former Athenahealth, RelayHealth Leaders Form Startup Maria Health, with Venrock Headlining Investor Group
(Page 2 of 2)
“We do think that there is room for consumers to have help (with) the burden of managing health care complications…I would certainly say that we see an opportunity to make health care simpler for consumers.”
Amar calls Athenahealth—which provides Web-based software as a service to help medical clinics manage billing, collections and patient health records—a “very important inspiration” to Maria. In fact, Amar was an architect for Athenahealth and one of three developers of athenaNet, the Web application that supports the services the firm provides.
Whatever Maria is doing, along with the cache of its founders, was compelling enough to attract investments from venture firm Venrock and, yes, Athenahealth. Amar says the firm is keeping the particulars of its finances to itself, but he says that there are backers other than Athena and Venrock. It’s also noteworthy that Bryan Roberts, a managing general partner at Venrock, led the firm’s early investments in both Maria Health and Athenahealth, where he serves on the board of directors. Amar told me that Jonathan Bush, Jr., co-founder and CEO of Athenahealth, does not have a role at Maria. (It’s a bit out of context to mention, but I’d feel remiss not to note that Bush and outgoing President George W. Bush are cousins).
John Hallock, a spokesman for Athenahealth, says that the company invested about $250,000 in Maria but notes that it was the first investment it has made in another firm. “It’s a strategic investment,” Hallock says. “If we do invest in another company, we want to make sure that those companies have a real impact on the…delivery of health care.”
Maria Health is named after CEO Colella’s mother, who Amar says faced the challenge of managing her health care and medical bills before she died a few years ago.