In this piece, Wheel CEO and cofounder Michelle Davey shares her vision for the next stage of our company and what this funding round means for clinicians and the broader industry…
I navigated our broken healthcare system as a patient for nearly two decades. With limited specialized care in my small Texas hometown, it took 15 years to diagnose an autoimmune condition that had been making me sick—and keeping me sick—since childhood.
This long and painful journey forced me to become resilient, and it also sparked the idea for Wheel. I recognized the potential with telemedicine to reach people like me, but outdated business models, technologies, and mindsets were getting in the way. In order to truly expand access to care, it was going to take big, bold action: a rethink of our healthcare system from the bottom up, taking advantage of the technological innovations other industries had adopted a decade before. And it wasn't going to be easy.
In short, I knew if we made it easier for more companies and clinicians to deliver care online, we could start to put great care within everyone’s reach.
Now I’m proud to work alongside a growing team that embraces that same resilience and runs toward healthcare's toughest challenges. Rather than throw up our arms and say "welcome to the swamp," we’re laser-focused on breaking down barriers to innovation and democratizing the delivery of high-quality care. By providing companies and clinicians with everything they need to deliver care online, we've pioneered a new way to meet the demand for virtual care. And we’re moving fast: we delivered 1.3 million patient visits in 2021 alone.
Today I’m excited to share the next milestone in Wheel’s journey. We’ve raised $150 million in Series C funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global. Our existing investors CRV, Tusk Ventures, and Silverton Partners participated in the round along with new investors Coatue and Salesforce.
The entire healthcare industry is racing to serve patients online. And while widespread telehealth adoption is worthy of being celebrated, it’s only the first step in a long journey towards expanding access to care.
Delivering “anytime, anywhere” care
We envision a future where patients can get care on their terms, at any time, and from anywhere. That’s the idea behind “virtual-first” care. Unfortunately today’s telehealth experience largely falls short of that vision. Patients may have more options than ever to choose from, but their experience can often feel as frustrating and disjointed as a trip to the office. Bringing the broken system online is anything but innovation.
That’s why we’re investing in the underlying infrastructure that puts patients’ needs front and center — or what insiders call an “omnichannel” approach. When companies build on Wheel’s platform, our technology triages the patient’s care needs, determines the best care setting, matches the patient with the best clinician for them, and then facilitates follow-up care.
With this funding, we’ll continue to enhance our platform to support personalized, virtual-first care. We’ll also expand our white-labeled diagnostic services, enabling companies to integrate direct-to-consumer lab testing and follow-up care.
Betting on the innovators
We wouldn’t be able to build the future of care by catering to every single virtual care company’s needs. Instead, we make strategic bets on who we believe will be the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. They’re easy to identify: they share our commitment to high-quality care and fixing our broken system, despite the challenges along the way.
Whether it’s a weight loss app, clinical lab network, on-demand delivery service, online retailer, or traditional healthcare provider, our clients see us as a true partner and extension of their business. They know that building their own clinician network or cobbling together several platforms would be a waste of time and money. And most importantly, they understand the value in letting our team take care of all the back-end work so they can focus on building great experiences for their patients. Looking ahead, we’re eager to continue helping our clients fundamentally change healthcare for millions of people.
Personalizing the clinician experience
From the very start, our focus has been on the clinician. We know that when clinicians are supported and fulfilled, their patients are more likely to get healthy and stay healthy. And we also recognize that our investment in one clinician can impact thousands of patients and their healthcare experiences.
We often talk about “personalization” with patients — it’s time we apply the same thinking to clinicians. They should have the flexibility to decide when they want to work, where they want to work, and how they want to work. To get the chance to provide for their families while also having time to spend with their families. And to be seen as instrumental partners in care delivery rather than cogs in the machine.
Companies choose to work with Wheel because they know their patients will be in good hands. Despite industry-wide staffing shortages, we’ve grown our clinician network by 60% over the last year while maintaining a 90% retention rate for two years in a row. Over the last year we’ve also expanded our clinical onboarding program with dedicated resources and 24/7 support, and we’re proud to share that Wheel’s clinician network maintained a 99.9% clinical quality score. We’re looking forward to providing more clinicians with a personalized approach to patient care and their career.
With this funding, our team is well-positioned to accelerate this next chapter of digital health innovation. We’re excited to have the support of an incredible lineup of investors who not only believe in our vision but also see Wheel as the company to lead the charge and put great care within everyone’s reach. And as you may expect, we’re hiring across all departments to help get us there. Join the team.