Advocate Aurora Health, headquartered in Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill., Stands ready to move into consumer health action.
On Thursday, the 26-hospital system announced the launch of Advocate Aurora Enterprises, a subsidiary focused on investing in health and wellness companies. The subsidiary led a $ 25 million Series C funding round for Foodsmart, a personalized telenutrition provider.
Advocate Aurora Enterprises was built on the healthcare system’s mission to help people live well, said Scott Powder, president of the subsidiary, in a phone call.
“That purpose implies that ultimately we will be … much more involved in treating all aspects of a person’s health,” said Powder. “Our core business is of course great medical and clinical care, but there is a fair amount of literature [shows] A person’s overall health is … also heavily influenced by many other determinants, including access to things like healthy eating, their employment status, and their housing security status. “
This meant that the health system needed to start participating in and investing in the larger consumer health ecosystem. Advocate Aurora Enterprises was formed to provide a corporate structure for this investing activity. The healthcare system will also consider conducting larger transactions through the subsidiary, such as acquisitions, Powder said.
Advocate Aurora Enterprises plans to invest in companies in the following three categories:
- Allow aging seniors to thrive independently in their homes
- Helping parents raise less stressful and more confident children
- Helping people achieve their body, mind, and nutrition goals
The subsidiary’s first investment was in Foodsmart, as its services span all three categories, Powder said.
Foodsmart offers various services via its platform, including telenutrition meetings with registered dietitians, the personalization of meal plans and shopping lists, and the ability to order groceries online.
In addition, the platform offers price comparison functions, discounts and benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with partners such as Walmart, Amazon and local grocers via the Instacart delivery service.
“Food is medicine and vital to our health, but feeding ourselves and our families can be stressful, complicated and expensive,” said Dr. Jason Langheier, CEO and Founder of Foodsmart. “Foodsmart makes it easier to buy foods that are sustainably affordable and tailored to specific health needs.”
Although the launch of the investment arm might signal an interest in a venture capital strategy to some, Powder said it wasn’t.
“We are not a venture capital fund or a private equity fund,” he said. “We certainly have some aspects of what we do that look like this. [But] We don’t necessarily want to invest $ 10 million today and exit at $ 100 million in five years. We’re looking for companies to work with over the long term – not just buy today and sell later for a return on investment. “
Photo: StockFinland, Getty Images