Welltok Raises $22M, Starts Working with IBM Watson Supercomputer

2/12/14Follow @MichaelXBD

Denver-based healthcare tech startup Welltok announced today it has closed a $22.1 million Series C round and will be working with IBM to develop new products powered by the IBM Watson supercomputer.

The new financing brings the money raised by Welltok to more than $40 million since April, a release from the company said. The new round was led by New Enterprise Associates, with IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Watson Group and Qualcomm Ventures also investing.

Existing investors Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, Miramar Venture Partners, and Okapi Venture Capital also participated in the round.

Welltok’s chief product is CafeWell, which Welltok describes as a platform able to host information for patients and to improve patient participation and compliance through online personalized sites with treatment plans, social networks, and gamification.

WellTok sells CafeWell to health plans, accountable care organizations, health systems, and insurance brokers as a way to improve outcomes and cut costs.

With IBM on board, Welltok will launch CafeWell Concierge, which the companies say will engage users in personalized dialogue about their health, lead them through their options, and help create long-term treatment plans.

“Welltok’s app will call upon Watson’s unique ability to uncover insights from Big Data by understanding the complexities of human language, reading millions of pages of data within seconds, and improving its own performance by learning,” the release said.

While Watson might be most famous for winning on Jeopardy, IBM has long said one of its uses would likely be in medicine.

“This investment and partnership represent IBM’s dedication to fueling innovation that improves lives and our mission to advance the field of health care into the new era of cognitive computing,” IBM Watson group senior vice president Mike Rhodin said in the release.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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  • Brian Perez

    This is a great idea but it is not good for the healthcare industry. Instead promoting wellness in a concierge setting should be done face to face with another living body and using Watson as a supplement. Currently a majority of physicians are not providing the information that their patients need for preventative and long term care, this is unethical, because private pay and insurance payees expect to receive all the pertinent information that is connected to their diagnoses. Patients should receive pertinent health information about their preventative and long term care by their physician or an official representative of sanctioned health information and not a robot that may skew information received from global databases which may totally contrast with your local physicians