MyHealthTeams Raises $3.36 MM to Accelerate Growth of Social Networks for Chronic Disease Communities

Today, MyHealthTeams raised $3.36 MM in our Series A round of financing.  Our small team has made incredible progress in the past two years and now it’s time to expand.  Today we have three fast-growing social networks that are making a huge positive impact in the lives of people facing multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and autism (more below).  Five years from now, if you’re diagnosed with a chronic condition (like 1 in 2 Americans are today), our hope is that your doctor, or another person with the same condition, will tell you about a MyHealthTeams social network. (We plan to launch about 100 of them.)  The proceeds from our Series A will help us expand our team and accelerate the rate at which we launch new social networks right away.

The Series A was led by the Westly Group, a fantastic group of VC’s on Sand Hill Road with a track record of investing in growth companies that tackle the world’s most pressing problems.  Adams Street Partners, who led our $1.75MM seed round back in the summer of 2012, also participated in the Series A as did many of our other seed-round investors including 500 Startups, HealthTechCapital, Sand Hill Angels, TEEC, and several notable individual investors.   Gary Dillabough from the Westly Group will be joining Mike Lynn, M.D. of Adams Street, and myself on our Board of Directors, with two more board directors to be named.

Our Mission and Our Accomplishments

We’ve accomplished quite a bit in the past two years, and it has all been based on one simple mission.  We believe that if you’re diagnosed with a chronic condition or disease, it should be easy to find the best people around to help you.  Ask anyone facing a chronic condition and they will tell you it is anything but “easy”.  They will say that most health websites don’t actually help them connect with and learn from others who have “been in their shoes”, and that they feel like they are “re-inventing the wheel”.  To solve that problem, we build social networks for specific chronic conditions that look a lot more like Facebook, Yelp and Quora, than they do your typical health website.   The results have been reflected in our viral growth and high engagement.

We started in June of 2011 with the launch of MyAutismTeam – a wonderfully supportive social network for parents of kids with autism.  We launched with just 35 parents in California, but today have more than 52,000 registered parents from all across North America.   User engagement was strong from the very beginning and nearly half of all interactions take place on a mobile device.  We were embraced by Autism Speaks, Easter Seals, the US Autism & Aspergers Society, and TACA amongst other great foundations, and even had our 4 minutes of fame on the Today Show back in April.   Ever since then, we have been bombarded with requests to launch MyHealthTeams networks for a wide range of chronic conditions and diseases.  We built a platform to enable us to launch new social networks for both the web and mobile quickly and in a scalable way.

We then launched two more social networks;  MyBCTeam –  designed specifically for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and MyMSTeam (our most recent and fastest growing network) –  for people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Whereas the typical editorially-driven health web site and condition discussion-forums have relatively low engagement, user engagement on the three MyHealthTeams social networks has been exceptionally strong.  The percentage of registered members on MyMSTeam and MyBCTeam who are monthly active users is north of 50%!  This tells us know we are filling an important role in the day-to-day lives of people facing these chronic conditions.

Our Business Model

When it comes to making money and keeping all our social networks free for our users we have two important rules.  First, we will only seek out opportunities that will empower our users (we would never sell their personally identifying information, nor would we ever spam them with irrelevant ads).  Second, we must be able to be completely transparent with our users.   If we follow those two simple rules, we believe that our revenue models will become one more reason why people join our social networks.    For instance, 85% of MyMSTeam members who responded to our recent survey told us that they would like greater access to clinical trials and that they’d like us to notify them of clinical trials that are relevant to them.   We went looking and found that most pharma companies struggle when it comes to recruiting patients for clinical trials – a problem which only slows down the process of bringing new therapies to our users.

So we partnered with them.

Again, we will never share our members’ personally identifying information with anyone.   In December we signed a partnership with a leader in the MS space whereby they tell us the specific inclusion criteria for their upcoming clinical trial, and we then notify the members in our network who might actually benefit from this trial.  It’s then totally up to our users to determine if they want to learn more about the trial and if they want to contact the folks conducting it.   This is a process that should take a couple of weeks rather than the 6-12 months typical of clinical trial recruitment.  People dealing with actual chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, autism, Crohn’s Diease, Lupus, Diabetes and so many others, should have much greater access to clinical trials and we can help make that happen.

In the next 18 months companies like MyHealthTeams will help people with chronic conditions have a much greater voice in the way therapies are developed, clinical trials are designed and conducted, and new therapies are brought to market and explained to them.   Down the road, as we grow and users share their experiences and wisdom, we are seeing a number of opportunities to leverage that data to help describe likely treatment paths and predict outcomes so that our users can improve their lives.  We are convinced that our social networks can not only help improve patient health outcomes, but also lower health care costs.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to achieve these goals, but count ourselves lucky to be working on something so important and fulfilling.

-Eric

MyAutismTeam Reaches Major Milestone – 50,000 Parents Nationwide

The social network for parents of children of all ages with autism keeps momentum going

 

SAN FRANCISCO – November 20, 2013 – MyAutismTeam, the social network for parents of children of all ages with autism, today announced a new milestone of 50,000 registered parents.

MyAutismTeam attributes the rapid growth of the social network to pent up demand and word-of-mouth amongst parents of individuals with autism, unique product features based on parent feedback, and partnerships with leading autism organizations.

For parents of children (from infants to adults) with autism, MyAutismTeam is the social network for parents to meet other parents who understand the daily ups and downs that come with parenting an individual with autism. Through shared tips, ideas, referrals, and general support, the parents of MyAutismTeam make real and lasting connections with other parents.

Since MyAutismTeam launched in 2011, parents have made more than 500,000 connections on the site. From discussions on effective therapies and finding the dentist or barber who “get it,” to tips on everything from insurance coverage to implementing a successful bedtime routine, the parents of MyAutismTeam share openly and honestly about their daily issues, concerns and triumphs.

“It’s been amazing to see MyAutismTeam grow from 35 parents two years ago, to 50,000 parents today because it means that more and more parents are finding the support they need,” says Eric Peacock, co-founder and CEO of MyAutismTeam.  “However, with estimates that 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed with autism in the United States, we know that are many more parents out there that need to connect with parents on MyAutismTeam.  Our goal is to continue getting the word out to all parents who have children on the spectrum, and our partner organizations will play a critical role in that.”

Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism and science advocacy organization, a partner of MyAutismTeam since the community launched, recognizes the value of the connections made by parents on MyAutismTeam.

“Parents of individuals with autism are amazing people helping their children live fulfilling and rewarding lives,” said Lisa Goring, vice president of Family Services at Autism Speaks. “MyAutismTeam provides an invaluable community in which parents can support and learn from each other. Our partnership with MyAutismTeam is just one of the many ways we continue to bring the best possible resources to families impacted by autism.”

 

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About MyAutismTeam

MyAutismTeam is a social network for parents in North America who have an individual on the autism spectrum.  MyAutismTeam, makes it easy for parents of individuals with autism to find and connect with each other, share tips and support, ask and answer questions, and find first-hand referrals of great providers and specialists.  MyAutismTeam was founded in June 2011 as the first health social network created by MyHealthTeams. For more information on the MyHealthTeams communities, visit www.myhealthteams.com

 

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year, Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

MyHealthTeams Survey Finds That State Lines Do Not Impact Where Americans with Pre-Existing Chronic Conditions Seek ObamaCare Information

More than 60% of Americans with a Chronic Health Condition Do Not Think ObamaCare Will Impact the Cost or Amount of Their Insurance Coverage or Costs

 

San Francisco, CA – October 17, 2013 – MyHealthTeams, the San Francisco-based company that creates social networks for chronic condition communities, today announced results of a new survey of more than 500 people living with and caring for those with a pre-existing chronic condition.  The survey results revealed that more than 60% of those living with a chronic health condition do not think the implementation of health exchanges will impact their insurance coverage or costs.

Regardless of state lines, participants with chronic conditions identified the same top three sources which they would turn to for more information regarding the health exchange: Google Search, ObamaCare Navigators, and disease-specific social networks.

One-third of respondents are unsure of how the Affordable Care Act will impact the treatment they receive for their condition. That said, those from Red States are more likely to turn to Google Search for answers to their health exchange questions, while those from blue states are more likely to turn to ObamaCare Navigators. No matter the state (red or blue), 25% of respondents feel they can turn to chronic condition peer social networks such as MyMSTeam (for those living with MS), MyAutismTeam (for parents of individuals with autism) or MyBCTeam (for women facing breast cancer) for answers from those who share their condition. Many also answered they would turn to their HR departments for more information.  And while peer social networks for chronic conditions were popular, noticeably under represented from the places people would turn for more information about ObamaCare were Facebook and Twitter.

 

Where Blue States Seek More Information on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare):

  • 39% ObamaCare Navigators
  • 36% Google Search
  • 24% MyHealthTeams’ social networks (disease specific social networks)
  • 1% Facebook or Twitter

 

Where Red States Seek More Information on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare):

  • 43% Google Search
  • 26% MyHealthTeams’ social networks (disease specific social networks)
  • 26% ObamaCare Navigators
  • 4% Facebook or Twitter

 

“When you have a chronic condition or disease, it doesn’t matter if you’re from a red state or blue state,” says Eric Peacock, co-founder and CEO of MyHealthTeams.  “You want to talk with other people in the same situation as you, and learn what is working best for them.  People are turning to these communities for more objective, de-politicized advice on how to navigate ObamaCare.”

 About the Survey

MyHealthTeams conducted this online member survey of its three social networks for chronic condition communities (MyMSTeam, MyBCTeam, MyAutismTeam) from October 2 – October 7, 2013, with more than 500 individuals living with and caring for those with a pre-existing chronic condition participating in the survey.

About MyHealthTeams

MyHealthTeams is a San Francisco-based company that creates social networks for chronic condition communities. We believe that when you or a loved one are diagnosed with a disease, it should be easy to connect with people just like you, who can share their experiences, and help you discover the best people around for help. MyHealthTeams’ flagship site, MyAutismTeam, launched in December 2011 and has nearly 50,000 parents of individuals with autism. In September 2012, the company launched MyBCTeam for women facing breast cancer, which has more than 5,000 women on the site. The latest site created by MyHealthTeams is MyMSTeam, designed for those living with multiple sclerosis, which has 8,000 members. To learn more about the full MyHealthTeams network, visit MyHealthTeams.com.

MyAutismTeam Launches First Social Network Dedicated to Parents of Children with Autism

Facebook-Meets-Yelp Network from MyHealthTeams Surges Past 12,500 Members,

Unveils Partnership with Autism Speaks

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Dec. 6, 2011 – MyHealthTeams today announced the launch of MyAutismTeam, its flagship social network for parents of children on the autism spectrum. MyAutismTeam is the first social network specifically for parents of children with autism, making it easy to connect with others who have had similar experiences. The network is a Facebook-meets-Yelp style place for parents to share recommendations of local providers, openly discuss issues, share tips, and gain access to local services that they may not have otherwise discovered on their own. Since the summer, the site has rapidly grown from 30 to over 12,500 members, underlying the growing need of parents seeking support and an easy way to find the team of providers that best meets the needs of their children. MyAutismTeam today also officially unveiled an ongoing partnership with the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, Autism Speaks.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities today. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects as many as 1 in every 110 children in the United States. ASD affects an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Yet many parents still struggle to find the resources and services their children need. MyAutismTeam connects community members with support and personal recommendations from other parents in their local area – a resource lacking in today’s world of social networks.

“Parents of kids with autism constantly worry whether they are doing enough, or are doing the right things to help their children thrive,” explains Eric Peacock, CEO and founder of MyAutismTeam. “The one thing we’ve learned from parents is that it can take years to build the right team to help your child. We focus on making it easy for parents to learn from others who have been in their shoes, so they don’t have to start from scratch when looking for providers that are highly recommended.”

On the MyAutismTeam site, parents create their own “team” by sharing providers who help them care for their child. The typical team consists of more than just autism doctors and specialists –they include restaurants, schools, piano teachers, babysitters and more. Parents can then communicate and post status updates, generating conversation threads around daily activities like dentist or doctor’s visits, and the not-so-routine like swimming or taekwondo classes. Members can also post on each other’s walls and use the site’s searchable database to find autism-friendly providers near them. For each provider or business on a team, the site lists contact information, and recommendations to make selecting a provider easy.

The largest autism advocacy organization, Autism Speaks, recognized the value of MyAutismTeam before it was built and has established a partnership to provide feedback on the site based on their years of engagement in the autism community. Autism Speaks helped seed MyAutismTeam’s database of local autism providers with data from its own family resource database. Parents on the site can also add providers they use that may not already be listed directly to MyAutismTeam. Today, MyAutismTeam has a directory of over 30,000 autism providers.

“Parents often say they have learned so much from other parents who have already experienced the joys and challenges that accompany life with a child with autism,” explains Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks vice president of Family Services. “Providing access to local information and resources is an important part of the mission at Autism Speaks. Partnering with MyAutismTeam is one more way we can help empower families with reliable information they can use right now.”

“Someone in the community will have faced the challenges you are facing today and can recommend a great provider, or share tips on what worked for them,” explains Sharon Esch of Albuquerque, who is mother of a 5-year-old boy with Asperger’s. “The great thing about MyAutismTeam is that you find you’re not alone.”

To build own your team, visit http://www.myautismteam.com

About MyHealthTeams

MyHealthTeams is a San Francisco-based company building deeply engaging social networks for people facing chronic health conditions in the U.S. Combining the social elements of a Facebook with the hyper-local recommendations of a Yelp, MyHealthTeams makes it easy for consumers to easily find the best local providers and businesses that can help them and quickly connect with a community of other people who understand what they face daily because they have been in their shoes. MyHealthTeams’ flagship site, MyAutismTeam, launched in December 2011 with over 12,500 beta members. To learn more visit https://www.myhealthteams.com, or build your team at http://www.myautismteam.com.