Spokane Journal of Business

Arevo plans reintroduction to health care markets

Company secures funding toward growth, expansion

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-—LeAnn Bjerken
Co-Founders of Arevo, Ryan Fix and Greg Kershaw say interest in their software is increasing, and new funding will allow the company to expand this year.

The founders of Arevo Health LLC, the cloud-based software startup company that began here in 2013, say they’ve secured important new investments that will support the company’s continued growth and expansion.

Company CEO Ryan Fix says the company has seen increased interest from potential clients in the last few months and is using that interest to raise additional funds toward expanding and reintroducing itself to Spokane’s health care market.

“Arevo started in 2013 as software we designed to help employers track health care benefits,” he says. “We were perhaps a bit too early to the market to attract much interest, and our growth was put on hold for a while.”

Fix says Arevo’s platform is designed to bridge gaps between health insurers, hospitals, doctors, and patients by lowering costs and improving patient experiences through data mining 

“When we started, the platform was really broad,” he says. “It was mostly meant to capture the employer’s experience and help them to save costs, but as we’ve grown we’ve started to focus more on health care.”

Fix says until recently he and the company’s other co-founders, Jim Schlosser and Brandon Fix, were mostly focused on other ventures.

“Our current COO, Greg Kershaw, joined us in 2015 and helped us to narrow our product focus and start thinking about how to grow,” he says.

Fix says interest in Arevo increased significantly this year, particularly after a January announcement by Amazon.com Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co., in which the three companies declared they’re forming a joint venture aimed at lowering health care costs for their employees.

Although the three have yet to reveal what will be included in their new joint venture, Fix speculates it will involve using tools similar to Arevo’s data mining software.

“The last six months have been kind of crazy in a good way, with a lot more people calling us because they’re interested in what we can offer,” he says.

While attending Seattle University for his master’s in business degree last spring, Fix decided to enter Arevo Health’s software into the university’s annual business plan competition, where it attracted interest from West Coast information technology venture capital firm Voyager Capital.

“One of the contest judges worked for Voyager and was able to connect us with Tom Simpson here in Spokane,” he says. “That led us to the decision to focus on Arevo full time and begin an initial round of seed funding.”

Fix says the company reached its initial seed funding goal early this month, attracting three investors after only three weeks of fundraising. One of those three key investors was Simpson, president of the Spokane Angel Alliance and Kick Start, a prominent investor in Spokane-area companies.

Although Fix declines to disclose how much funding was raised, he says that it will allow the company to operate fully for the next 12 months, without any additional funding.

Arevo moved earlier this month into about 200 square feet of office space in the back portion of the Hill Brother’s building at 518 W. Riverside, from its former quarters at in the Ben Burr Building, at 5915 S. Regal. The company currently has three full-time employees and several independent contractors, Fix says.

He describes Arevo’s current software platform as consisting of three products—analytics, engagement, and marketplace.

“Analytics is more corporate-focused, engagement is more employee-focused, and marketplace is more health care-focused, but customers can choose which areas they’d like to purchase and engage with,” he says.

Arevo’s software first captures claims expense data from self-funded plans, as well as from other employee benefits areas like human resources, payroll, and key performance indicators, he says.

The software then mines the data to figure out where employees are going for health care, as well as how much they’re paying. Those insights can then be used to showcase the differences in cost between providers and point out low-cost, high-quality opportunities that can help save the company and its employees money.

“About half of the companies in the U.S. self-fund their health care plans and keep a record of claims data, but many of them don’t know they can access and use that data,” he says. “Our software mines it automatically, and then we use that information to align the interests of employees, employers, and providers.”

Fix says the company has spent the past three years working with Pearson Packaging Systems Inc., the West Plains-based maker of packaging equipment.

“Pearson has been a great partner in helping us to build out the platform,” Fix says. “Over the next few months we’re hoping to attract at least five more customers who might have new ideas that can help shape the product’s further development.”

Arevo’s platform enables employers to offer financial incentives for their employees to use certain services.

At the same time, the system helps patients choose more affordable, quality treatment options for their care by providing them with timely, transparent, personalized information to simplify their health care experience. It also allows hospitals and doctors to compete in real time for patients and fill open appointment slots. 

“Arevo is designed to simplify health care and make it a more shoppable market,” he says. “Employers can use it to bring in vendors, employees can use it to find the best value for themselves, and providers have an opportunity to attract new patients.”

Kershaw adds that not only does Arevo’s software assist employees with their daily health care needs, but it also serves to keep them informed, and helps empower them to fix some of what’s wrong with today’s health care markets.

“This tool is really about providing health literacy, helping employees understand their plans and navigate the system,” he says. “Rather than group meetings, you can now send the information directly to employees and let them decide and connect with providers, which makes things so much simpler.”

Looking ahead, Fix says Arevo plans to continue to invest in its intellectual property, add additional developers to its team, and begin to lock down health care provider relationships.

“We’re in talks with several major health care systems in Washington now that we’re hoping to bring into the platform,” he says. 

Fix says the company also plans to go live with an employee mobile application late next month or early in November.

“We want to lead with mobile to start testing employee usage and engagement,” he says.

Fix says employees can use the mobile application to create a profile based on their individual claims data. The application also offers a listing of prices and quality, as well as ratings or reviews of providers given by other users, and offers alerts for things like upcoming annual physicals or other preventative services available in the area.

Once the employee application has launched, Fix says the company’s focus will be on a second round of fundraising set for next spring.

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken covers health care at the Journal of Business. A Minnesota native and cat lover, she enjoys beachside vacations and writing poetry. LeAnn has worked for the Journal since 2015.

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