Practice Fusion Gets $23 Million To Compete in “Winner-Take-All” Market for Electronic Medical Records Technology

4/5/11Follow @wroush

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embedding ads from pharmaceutical companies in its Web interface. It also charges researchers, pharma companies, and health plans for access to anonymized patient data. Under the 2009 stimulus act, adopting a system like Practice Fusion’s makes medical practices eligible for payments of up to $44,000 per physician.

Thiel, who is famous in part for his early investment in Facebook, said in today’s announcement that Practice Fusion “revolutionizes our interactions with the medical community, just as Facebook did for social networking…We back companies that will radically change the world for the better, and Practice Fusion can do just that.”

“These guys look for companies solving really big problems,” Howard says of Founders Fund. “As far as Peter Thiel personally, he is on his own plateau. If you look at the problems he’s solving today, with SpaceX [a private satellite launch company] and Halcyon Molecular [a developer of high-throughput DNA sequencing machines], he’s the best possible partner for a number of different reasons.”

Not the least of which, Howard says, is Thiel’s ability to see the big picture. “My biggest goal as an individual is to ensure that Practice Fusion fulfills its potential, and that might be a 10-year run, and I know this group of people behind the company is 100 percent behind that….Paypal is a really good example. They burned through $180 million before they ever turned a profit. [Founders Fund] have substantial capital in their fund, and they are willing to make these bigger bets because they can see that the value to society is much larger than just the investment return.”

Practice Fusion recently announced a major hire—chief financial officer Jason Portnoy, a veteran of PayPal and other Thiel companies like Clarium Capital and Palantir Technologies—and its headcount of 65 will likely double by the end of the year, says Howard. But putting together the Series B round was a time-consuming distraction, he says. “We’ve been working on this one for a while. Now that the cash is in the bank, we’re just looking forward to putting it to work.”

Wade Roush is Chief Correspondent and Editor At Large at Xconomy. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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