Article

Waymark: Transforming Value-Based Care to Empower the Patients Who Need It Most

by Mohamad Makhzoumi and Blake Wu

Millions of Americans rely on government-funded Medicaid programs to provide them with access to healthcare. The growth of this already massive population—composed of eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities—has accelerated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with one in four Americans relying on Medicaid for coverage. Still, despite Medicaid being the largest source of health coverage in the country, access to quality care and critical health interventions remain challenging, with the wealthiest Americans outliving the poorest by about 10 to 15 years. Waymark—fueled by a $45M Series A fundraise announced today—aims to scale value-based care in Medicaid, and we’re honored to be a part of this vital mission.

NEA is no stranger to partnering with innovative care delivery providers. As healthcare spending reaches a whopping ~$4 trillion and per capita spending reaches nearly $11,600 (significantly higher than any other country), the shift from traditional fee-for-service payments to value-based care is accelerating. We believe that value-based care models align incentives between stakeholders to improve quality of care, increase access to care, and decrease cost of care. Our current portfolio of tech-enabled risk-based providers serves seniors (AllyAlign Health), employees (Everside Health) and individuals (Bright Health), populations which collectively represent $3.6 trillion in total healthcare spend, and we’re excited to continue building our portfolio with this investment in the massive Medicaid market.

Waymark is a risk-bearing care delivery platform transforming care for the important yet historically underserved Medicaid population, improving patient outcomes by increasing the access and availability of equitable care. The Company’s approach is built upon proven community-based care models that prioritize engagement and intervention to offer patient support and improve overall health. Waymark partners with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to care for a cohort of patients in high-Medicaid-use locations in collaboration with existing Medicaid primary care providers (PCPs). The addressable market for Waymark’s care model is significant – Medicaid MCOs account for approximately 70% of all Medicaid spending, about $400B in spend in 2021. Waymark delivers evidence-based care through a network of providers (including community health workers, pharmacists, social workers, and medical assistants) and a technology-driven platform.

The large unmet need, inspiring vision, and critical timing already made this an incredibly attractive opportunity, but what excited us the most was Waymark’s extraordinary founding team composed of co-founders Rajaie Batniji, MD DPhil, CEO; Sanjay Basu, MD PhD, Head of Clinical; joined by Michael Ceballos, Head of Operations; Afia Asamoah, Head of Legal and Finance; and Christina Fellows, Head of Product and Design. NEA’s relationship with CEO Rajaie Batniji goes back nearly a decade, as he was previously the co-founder of NEA portfolio company, Collective Health, and we first met him in 2013, ahead of the Company’s Series B fundraise, which we had the opportunity to lead. Since 2014, we worked closely with Rajaie, and later Sanjay, at Collective Health, where we supported the company through every fundraise including the most recent Series F and helped grow the business, secure partnerships, and recruit executive team members and independent Board members including Jeff Immelt and Karen Boone. Thanks to our existing relationship with Rajaie and Sanjay, we had a front row seat to the founding of Waymark earlier this year. When it was time to raise capital, there was no question about our desire to support Waymark’s next phase of growth.

Both Rajaie and Sanjay are extremely qualified to tackle the complexities of navigating toward a better care delivery model for Medicaid patients. Both physicians by training, they have experience treating Medicaid patients first-hand in clinical settings, combined with deep risk contracting and population health experience. Alongside Michael, who brings a wealth of managed care experience from leadership positions at Cityblock Health, Centene (Ohio) and UnitedHealthcare, this truly is a care delivery dream team. They are joined by a world-class leadership team, with Afia, who was previously Head of Legal at Google Health, leading the Legal and People teams; and Christina, who was VP of Finance for Medicaid at UnitedHealthcare leading Finance.

Every new investment is exciting, inspiring, and energizing—it’s what drives us to uncover new opportunities and keeps us passionate about company building. Beyond that, there’s something extra special about supporting old friends on new ventures. We’re fortunate to have partnered with repeat NEA entrepreneurs dozens of times throughout our history, including a handful of truly ‘serial’ entrepreneurs like Mike Grey (Amplyx, Curzion, Lumena, Mirum, Reneo, Ziarco); Eric Lefkofsky (Echo Global, Groupon, Innerworkings, Media Ocean, Tempus); and Ion Stoica (Anyscale, Conviva, Databricks). We’re extremely proud to welcome the Waymark team to this extraordinarily talented group and look forward to working alongside them to improve the lives of Medicaid patients.

The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be investment advice, or recommendation, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by NEA or any other NEA entity. New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, nothing in this post should be interpreted to suggest that the SEC has endorsed or approved the contents of this post. NEA has no obligation to update, modify, or amend the contents of this post nor to notify readers in the event that any information, opinion, forecast or estimate changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate or outdated. In addition, certain information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources and has not been independently verified by NEA. The companies featured in this post are for illustrative purposes only, have been selected in order to provide an example of the types of investments made by NEA that fit the theme of this post and are not representative of all NEA portfolio companies. The company founders or executives or any other individuals featured or quoted in this post are not compensated, directly or indirectly, by NEA but may be founders or executives of portfolio companies NEA has invested in through funds managed by NEA and its affiliates. Any statements made by founders, investors, portfolio companies, or others in the post or on other third-party websites referencing this post are their own, and are not intended to be an endorsement of the investment advisory services offered by NEA.
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About the authors

Mohamad Makhzoumi

Mohamad first joined NEA in 2000 and now serves as Co-President. Prior to his current position, Mohamad served as Managing General Partner, Healthcare, where he led and oversaw NEA’s global healthcare investing practice across digital health and life sciences. Mohamad’s investment practice is focused on healthcare services and technology from early venture to late-stage growth, and he has helped many entrepreneurs build and scale transformative companies. Outside of NEA, he is a board member of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health at Stanford.
Mohamad first joined NEA in 2000 and now serves as Co-President. Prior to his current position, Mohamad served as Managing General Partner, Healthcare, where he led and oversaw NEA’s global healthcare investing practice across digital health and life sciences. Mohamad’s investment practice is focused on healthcare services and technology from early venture to late-stage growth, and he has helped many entrepreneurs build and scale transformative companies. Outside of NEA, he is a board member of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health at Stanford.

Blake Wu

Blake joined NEA in 2014 and focuses on investments in digital health (encompassing healthcare services and healthcare IT) and biopharmaceuticals. He also co-manages NEA’s investing practices in these spaces. Prior to NEA, Blake was a member of the private equity group at Ares Management, focused on investments in healthcare. His previous experience includes investment banking at Moelis & Company and equity research at Barclays Capital. Blake graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in economics with concentrations in finance, real estate, and management.
Blake joined NEA in 2014 and focuses on investments in digital health (encompassing healthcare services and healthcare IT) and biopharmaceuticals. He also co-manages NEA’s investing practices in these spaces. Prior to NEA, Blake was a member of the private equity group at Ares Management, focused on investments in healthcare. His previous experience includes investment banking at Moelis & Company and equity research at Barclays Capital. Blake graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in economics with concentrations in finance, real estate, and management.