See the pitch deck that Spora Health used to convince investors to bet $3 million on a new approach to telehealth

Telehealth startup Spora Health's mobile app
  • Telehealth startup Spora Health was founded in 2019 to provide better care to Black Americans.
  • It hopes to do this by training doctors to be culturally competent, CEO Dan Miller told Insider.
  • See the presentation that Spora used to raise $3 million in a seed round.

The telehealth startup Spora Health just raised $3 million to provide better care to people of color.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dan Miller, wants to reduce racial healthcare disparities by providing care to Black patients and other people of color that takes into account the cultural needs of those groups. It has raised $4.1 million total from investors like M13, Refactor Capital, and MaC Venture Capital.

“I saw a need for people of color to have access to more culturally aligned care,” Miller told Insider. “I learned from my own lived experience how powerful having a doctor that understands you can help you achieve your health goals.”

The company plans to put the new funding toward expanding into new states and bringing more healthcare providers into its practice. It has plans to care for patients in California, Texas, and New York.

Spora, which derives its name from “diaspora,” is changing care for people of color in two major ways.

First, all of Spora’s healthcare providers are trained to understand the expectations and needs of Black Americans. That training isn’t required today by any accrediting organization, Miller said.

Spora also developed technology to better measure its members’ risk for conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and coronary artery disease —diseases that affect Black Americans at higher rates.

Studies have found that algorithms used in healthcare to influence how doctors care for patients are often biased toward white people, which results in more resources going to white patients than Black patients.

To fix that problem, Miller said Spora trained its own technology using a sample population that was representative of the variety of ethnicities in its patient population.

Spora plans to license its technology and training program for use by other organizations, Miller said.

A membership with Spora costs about $10 a month and includes free texting with clinicians. Virtual visits cost $100 a visit on top of that.

Here is the presentation Miller used to raise $4.1 million in funding for Spora Health. A few slides with proprietary information are omitted:

Spora hopes to reduce healthcare disparities and inequities by providing culturally sensitive primary care to people of color.

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Numerous studies have shown that Black Americans experience higher rates of chronic diseases and lower life expectancies than white people. Researchers have concluded that the differences largely stem from social and environmental factors.

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The disparities are striking. Black children are five times more likely to die from asthma than white children, according to US Department of Health and Human Services data.

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Spora patients connect with doctors through video visits and texting via the startup’s app. Miller told Insider that patients would be able to see Spora providers in person by the end of September.

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The Spora Institute is Spora’s proprietary online program that helps clinicians understand the needs and cultural expectations of Black Americans so they can provide better care. Miller said Spora planned to develop programs around treating South Asian Americans, East Asian Americans, and Hispanic populations as well.

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Spora is marketing itself directly to consumers and as a health benefit that companies can provide to their employees. It is also working on getting in network with health insurers and already scored a contract with UnitedHealthcare in Florida.

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Spora counts the virtual women’s clinic Kiira Health, the primary-care upstart One Medical, and the telehealth companies Amwell and Doctor on Demand as competitors. “There are plenty of primary-care telemedicine companies, but none have offered a solution for our population that’s competitive with ours at all,” Miller said.

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Spora executives have deep digital-health expertise. Before founding Spora, Miller worked for companies including the online coding bootcamp Lambda School, SurveyMonkey, and Salesforce. He also founded the digital-mental-health company Level Therapy.

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Spora started seeing patients only in the past few months, so it’s small, serving about 100 patients across four states, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee. It has about 20 providers and a queue of 120 providers that want to join, Miller said.

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