Wellola raises €1m in funding as patient portal aims to grow its business

Healthcare communication platform targets UK public health sector

Healthcare communication platform Wellola has raised €1 million in funding from BVP as the company aims to grow its business.

The Irish company, which offers a communications portal that covers everything from appointment management and two-way messaging to symptom tracking and remote device connectivity, will use the money to expand its commercial teams and technology, and target the UK public health sector. It has already signed up two NHS trusts in recent weeks, and is planning to expand in Germany, with some EU funding under its belt.

“Our vision is very much a European-wide one. We want to be Europe’s most accessible patient portal,” said co-founder Sonia Neary. “We’re working on enhancing the accessibility of the system.”

That involves the use of the portal through voice commands or eye tracking.

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Wellola currently employs about 15 people, with a mixture of directly-employed staff and consultants, with plans to increase that to about 23 this year.

It previously raised seed money through Spark crowdfunding, and received some European funding, amounting to€500,000 over the years, but the €1 million from BVP, which is an EIIS (Employment Investment Incentive Scheme) fund, is a vote of confidence, the company said.

“BVP believes in digital tools to enhance patient care in healthcare and we have been impressed by the interest from the large hospitals in the UK in Wellola’s patient engagement platform,” said Elliott Griffin, founder and managing director of BVP.

Wellola was advised by Brian McDonald, Kevin O’Malley and Rory Butler from Bay Advisory.

“It’s really good timing in terms of we’ve landed a handful of commercial deals, we’ve landed the investment and we’re really kind of ripe for growth,” Ms Neary said.

Founded by Ms Neary, Greg Martin and Criostóir O Codlatáin Lachtna, Wellola originally started out as a booking system for physiotherapists. It evolved to take in other healthcare areas, such as mental health. Among its customers are the VHI and Fisiotrust, in addition to the NHS trusts in Leeds and Birmingham, which are using the portal to give patients access to medical records, education and symptom tracking. Combined, the trusts deal with more than 3.5 million patients each year.

“We have a vision that is only the sickest of the sick should be cared for in a hospital setting,” said Ms Neary. “Nowadays we have the technology...to deploy community-based preventative care.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist