This morning employee wellbeing company Virgin Pulse snapped up consumer health engagement tool Welltok for an undisclosed sum.
Welltok works with health systems, health plans and large employers to help motivate their members or staff involved in their wellbeing and health.
“They have two primary capabilities. They have what I’ll call a multimodal outreach capability, where they’re reaching out to predominantly healthcare consumers to activate them to take actions on their healthcare in a way that their clients need them to do it,” Chris Michalak, CEO of Virgin Pulse, told MobiHealthNews.
“Then 18% of the business is in the wellbeing space, very similar to Virgin Pulse in the wellbeing side of things. We’re essentially taking more market share in the market through this acquisition by bringing their capability and clients into ours and enhancing our leadership position in the wellbeing space.”
The company is able to combine clinical engagement and social determinants of health to gain insights into patients. It also includes a smart analytics tool that predicts how patients will continue with their healthy life choices outside of a clinical setting. Clients can use the service to engage with consumers and motivate them to take certain actions.
Once the acquisition is completed, Welltok will be integrated into Virgin Pulse and will operate as a single business over time.
WHY IT MATTERS
The new acquisition is poised to bring new clients into the Virgin Pulse fold. It also opens the company to new markets.
“They are serving different markets than us, particularly health systems and pharma companies. They’re serving those capabilities in a very different way. And so we’ll add new capabilities and new market opportunities to the mix. But we’ll operate as a single property,” Michalak said.
From a customer perspective, the acquisition will mean more tools and offerings.
“I think it’s good for customers because the leader in the wellbeing space is going to add new capabilities to the mix. They’re going to add capabilities that we have been building out over a number of years, so it will make our underlying wellbeing platform better.
“And then I think the other thing is those clients that they have been serving in a health plan and health system marketplace will have access to the capabilities that Virtual Pull brings to the table, giving us an opportunity to that client set with a broader set of wellbeing capabilities.”
THE LARGER TREND
Virgin Pulse has a history of acquisitions. For example, in 2020 the company scooped up diabetes start-up Blue Mesa Health. The latter’s diabetes prevention program Transform was rolled into a new offering called Virgin Pulse Transform.
In 2018, Virgin Pulse announced that it was set to merge with RedBrick Health under the Virgin Pulse name.
“We have done a number of acquisitions, and I would say we try to accomplish one of two things with those acquisitions. One is to consolidate share in the spaces that we’re already the leader. Sometimes it’s just an opportunity to bring more capability into the wellbeing space,” Michalak said.
“Welltok is an interesting one, because it does both of those things. It adds a new capability, and it also gives us greater scale and market share in the wellbeing space.”
Welltok has also been active in the M&A space. For example, in 2017, the company acquired health analytics company Tea Leaves Health for $80.8 million. In 2018, the company acquired Wellpass, a company that was formed from the merger of Sense Health and Voxiva, in order to help focus on the Medicaid and government business space.
ON THE RECORD
“Welltok and Virgin Pulse complement each other in many ways and share a similar passion for improving people’s health and wellbeing,” Welltok CEO Bob Fabbio wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. “Together, we can simplify and personalize the consumer health experience by reaching more people with personalized, multi-modal engagement that is incredibly powerful for driving better outcomes.
“Welltok expands Virgin Pulse’s ability to manage the entire care continuum with our health plan and health system business, as well as supercharge its core capabilities with our multi-channel technology and robust data and analytics used to target with high accuracy.”