CardioOne, which built a physician enablement platform for independent cardiologists, has been acquired by WindRose Health Investors. Photo via cardioone.com

A Houston health tech startup founded only last year has exited to a New York private equity firm.

CardioOne, which built a physician enablement platform for independent cardiologists, has been acquired by WindRose Health Investors. The complete terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to a WindRose news release, the firm will provide up to $100 million of additional capital to go toward supporting CardioOne's growth.

The fresh influx of capital will go toward expanding and enhancing existing service options. The CardioOne leadership team will continue to be at the helm of the startup.

"We are excited for the opportunity to partner with WindRose as CardioOne embarks on its next chapter of growth," Dr. Jasen Gundersen, CardioOne's CEO and co-founder, says in the release. "We believe that working with WindRose, which has a history of successfully partnering with companies to help navigate the transition to value-based care, will empower us to continue supporting independent cardiologists while developing additional solutions that maximize each practice's potential in the shift to VBC arrangements."

Last year, CardioOne raised an $8 million seed round and announced key partnerships at clinics in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania, in addition to existing relationships in Texas and Maryland. CardioOne also partnered with MedAxiom, an organizational performance solutions provider in the industry.

"CardioOne's unique, physician-aligned model meets the market where it is and positions the Company to take advantage of the growing desire among cardiologists to maintain their independence," Oliver Moses, managing partner with WindRose, adds. "We believe CardioOne delivers a compelling tech-enabled offering to the independent cardiology market and has significant growth potential as the Company builds upon its momentum in 2023. We are excited to join forces with Jasen and his team as they continue to build upon the differentiated platform they have created."

CardioOne has fresh funding and new partners, resulting in a five-state expansion. Photo via Getty Images

Houston heart health startup secures $8M in funding, announces new partnerships

cardiatric care

With fresh funding, a Houston-based health tech platform that's less than a year old has grown its United States footprint.

CardioOne, which has created a cardiology care delivery enablement platform that serves independent cardiologists, has closed an $8 million seed round of funding and secured three new partnerships. Axios and Crunchbase report that the round has closed, and CardioOne confirms the funding and new partnerships in a press release.

The company has three new partnerships with independent cardiology clinics in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania, Cardiac Associates of New Jersey, Twin Hearts LLC, and Corrieius Cardiology. The trio joins existing partner practices in Texas and Maryland.

In addition to joining forces with these practices, CardioOne has entered into a partnership with MedAxiom, which is described as being "the cardiovascular community’s premier source for organizational performance solutions," in the release.

“CardioOne is optimizing cardiology practice management and providing new options for independent cardiologists,” Joe Sasson, MedAxiom’s executive vice president of ventures and chief commercial officer, says in the news release. “With CardioOne, independent cardiology practices can access the scale and leverage typically reserved for large hospital groups and are empowered to grow through additional service lines, strong network relationships, and payor contracts, including value-based care arrangements.”

Dr. Jasen Gunderson, who's based in Denver, is the CEO and co-founder of CardioOne, which was founded last year. He explains the challenges of independent cardiologists, which includes inefficient revenue cycle tools, incomplete vendor management systems, and other tech-based and administrative obstacles — most of which CardioOne addresses.

“Inadequate and fragmented technology is at the root of many of the problems that independent cardiologists are facing today,” Gunderson says in the release. “CardioOne’s solution removes the heavy administrative burdens, empowering cardiologists to focus on their expertise and true passion – the practice of medicine without feeling forced into acquisition.”

CardioOne's mission is to continue to help cardiology practices maintain their independence while keeping up with demand, patient care, and business growth.

"Our independence and clinical autonomy has allowed our practice to provide more personalized care to our patients, but in a consolidating market... the resources and technology investments required to run a practice group today make staying independent more difficult than ever before,” Dr. John H. Lee of Cardiac Associates of North Jersey, says in the release. “CardioOne is a true collaborator, serving as an extension of our operations and allowing us to focus on doing what we love — caring for patients.”

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with the founder of a new venture firm, a former astronaut and recent award recipient, and a health care innovator with fresh funding.

Zach Ellis, founder and managing partner of South Loop Ventures

Zach Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that South Loop Ventures plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale. Photo via LinkedIn

Houston has a lot of the right ingredients for commercialization and scaling up companies, so when Zach Ellis moved to town to stand up a venture capital firm that made investments in diverse founders, he decided to go about it in an innovative way.

South Loop Ventures, which Ellis launched two years ago, invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups across health care, climatetech, aerospace, sports, and fintech. While the first handful of investments, which have already been made, are into Houston-based companies, Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that the firm plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale.

"Any investor wants to feel like they are looking at the best possible investment opportunities in which to deploy capital," Ellis says on the show. "So that's reason No. 1 to cast your net as widely as possible.

"At the same time, you want to give any investment that you make greatest chances of success," he continues. "The biggest factor of success outside of the team and the capital you give them, is the customers that they can call upon. In bringing targeted companies to Houston or connecting them with Houston, you introduce the opportunity for them to achieve rapid scale and work with world-class partners very efficiently." Read more.


Toby R. Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton Health Box

Dr. Toby Hamilton has secured $10 million to grow his company. Photo via tmc.edu

A Houston company that is working on a value-based model for primary care has fresh funding to support its mission.

Hamilton Health Box announced the completion of a $10 million series A funding round led by 1588 Ventures with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System, Impact Ventures by Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and the Sullivan Brothers.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dr. Toby R. Hamilton, will use the funding to fuel its expansion into rural areas to help assist those living in Health Professional Shortage Areas, or HPSAs. Read more.

Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and center director at the NASA's Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa was recognized for her leadership at NASA Johnson and for being the first Hispanic woman in space. Photo via NASA

Two astronauts recently received Presidential Medals of Freedom from President Joe Biden for their leadership in space.

Ellen Ochoa, the former center director and astronaut at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, were honored at the White House on May 3.

Ochoa spent 30 years with NASA, which included being the 11th director of JSC, deputy center director of JSC, and director of Flight Crew Operations. She served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, and became the first Hispanic woman in space. She flew four more times to space with STS-66, STS-96, STS-110, and more.

“I’m so grateful for all my amazing NASA colleagues who shared my career journey with me,” Ochoa says in a NASA news release. Read more.

Houston health care institutions receive $22M to attract top recruits

coming to Hou

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine has received a total of $12 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to attract two prominent researchers.

The two grants, which are $6 million each, are earmarked for recruitment of Thomas Milner and Radek Skoda. The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced the grants May 14.

Milner, an expert in photomedicine for surgery and diagnostics, is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine and the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2013, Milner was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, he was a professor of biomedical engineering at UT. One of his major achievements is co-development of the MasSpec Pen, a handheld device that identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures.

Skoda is a professor of molecular medicine in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, both in Switzerland. He specializes in developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a group of blood diseases including leukemia.

Other recruitment grants provided by the institute to Houston-area organizations are:

  • $4 million for recruitment of Susan Bullman to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was an assistant professor at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she studied the connection between microbes and cancer.
  • $4 million for recruitment of Oren Rom to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rom is an assistant professor of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
  • Nearly $2 million for recruitment of Lauren Hagler to conduct RNA cancer biology at Texas A&M University. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biochemistry at Stanford University.

The institute also awarded grants to five companies in the Houston area:

  • $4.7 million to 7 Hills Pharma for development of immunotherapies to treat cancer and prevent infectious diseases.
  • $4.5 million to Indapta Therapeutics for the Phase 1 trial of a cell therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • $2.75 million to Bectas Therapeutics for development of antibodies and biomarkers to overcome a type of resistance T-cell checkpoint therapy.
  • $2.69 million to MS Pen Technologies for development of technology that differentiates between normal tissue and cancerous tissue during surgery.
  • $2.58 million to Crossbridge Bio for development of an antibody-drug combination to treat certain solid tumors.