A Black-owned health-tech startup has reportedly reached unicorn status after its latest round of funding bumped the company’s valuation up to $1.65 billion.
Incredible Health, a nursing platform that connects U.S. hospitals and health-care organizations with qualified nurses to fill open positions, secured a series B round of funding of $80 million. The startup was founded in 2017, and has been praised for helping nurses and medical providers find the best match in 20 days at a time when the country is facing a shortage of nurses.
The company’s CEO and co-founder, Iman Abuzeid, considers Incredible Health to be a game changer. “We’ve transformed how nurses are hired and will build on this work to help health systems and healthcare workers manage surging patient demand in the midst of a national labor crisis,” Abuzeid said.
Abuzeid reportedly is only the fourth Black woman to ever have a company valued at $1 billion.
She added, “Nurses are the backbone of the US healthcare system and they deserve the well-staffed teams and tools to not only succeed, but also feel fulfilled in their careers.”
The urgency of the platform to recruit and retain nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic was critical. Starting out in 200 hospitals, the company has now increased its presence to 600 hospitals in the U.S. utilizing the platform.
“Our need for healthcare is increasing with an aging population but the supply of healthcare workers has not kept up with demand. This shortfall has devastating effects on an overworked nursing workforce, Abuzeid wrote in a company blog post after announcing the investment that marked the billion dollar milestone for the company.
The funding was led by Base10 Partners as part of its Advancement Initiative, a fund designed to align the success of tech companies with wealth creation for underrepresented minorities. The infusion of cash also included investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Workday CEO Chano Fernandez, NBA player Andre Iguodala, Rethink Impact, Stardust Equity and the D’Amelio family’s 444 Capital Fund.
Incredible Health reported record top-line growth of more than 500 percent in 2021 as its marketplace of nurses increased exponentially. More than 10,000 nurses join the network every week, reducing the average time to hire permanent nurses to14 days – compared to the industry standard of 82 days.
An aging population compounded by recent outbreaks such as monkeypox and COVID-19 has led to nurses working exorbitantly long hours, with others leaving the field to maintain their own health. Life expectancy declined for the second year in a row, taking life expectancy at birth to its lowest level since 1996, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The declines in life expectancy since 2019 are largely driven by the pandemic. COVID-19 deaths contributed to nearly three-fourths or 74 percent of the decline from 2019 to 2020 and 50 percent of the decline from 2020 to 2021.
With the U.S. facing a workforce crisis in health care, the deficit of nurses to serve patients reportedly will be 1 million by the end of 2023. Fully aware of the shortfall in health professionals, Abuzeid and her company provide free accredited nursing courses to fill the critical void of talent, in addition to putting capital into rebuilding the shrinking workforce.
“We are committed to addressing both sides of this crisis with tech-enabled support and services for the US nursing workforce.”