Catalyze.io provides ‘plumbing’ for health care app development

As the last few months have made abundantly clear, getting it right in the world of health care technology can prove to be quite the challenge.

And it’s not just the federal government that has seen difficulties in building functional and impactful technology for health care. Catalyze.io founder and chief executive officer Dr. Travis Good said a common gripe among developers working in health care technology is that the “back-end” infrastructure of many health care-specific applications are lacking in their foundational framework.

With that in mind, Good, who has both a medical degree and an MBA, founded Catalyze.io, a cloud-based health care technology company that aims to provide the “back-end infrastructure” to make it easier for developers to build web and mobile applications for the health care industry.

“We’re trying to become the de-facto platform where people can go to build health care apps,” said Good. “We want to grow a company that delivers value to the industry and that our customers will love to use.”

The company recently received an investment from a group led by Baird Capital’s venture capital group, Arthur Ventures and Chicago Ventures, with participation from the State of Wisconsin investment Board, Gener8tor, Angels on the Water and other individual investors.

“We raised just over $2 million,” said Good.

“Increasingly, the global health care market is developing and leveraging mobile applications to enhance patient engagement, data collection and wellness initiatives,” said Don Layden, venture partner with Baird Capital, a division of Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. “Catalyze.io helps application developers meet this need for providers, payers and software vendors by offering a secure, HIPAA-compliant infrastructure as well as health care-specific data interoperability and management.”

Financing came together because the company has seen “a lot of demand,” said Good. He added and that the money will go to meet that demand and “speed development of our product life cycle.” Good said Catalyze.io does not build any of its products without first having customers, and that the company is working on several product additions and variations to meet growing demand.

Though Catalyze.io is less than one year old, Good said he has high hopes for what’s ahead.

“We’re very ambitious about where Catalyze can go and how fast we can move,” he said. “We’re focused on wow-ing the industry and delivering something really meaningful.”

In addition to the funding it received in November, the company has also added six new full-time employees in the past two months and opened its main office in Madison.

Though the state capital is now the official home of Catalyze.io, the company spent significant time in Milwaukee this past summer, as they were part of Gener8tor’s 12-week Summer Program. Good said going through the startup accelerator program and the connections that were built there has had a big impact on the business.

“For us, (the Gener8tor program) was an extremely positive experience,” said Good. “They’ve done a phenomenal job to bring together the investment community, and I’m impressed with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a year and a half. They really helped accelerate our growth. We wouldn’t have gotten to the financing we got to without Gener8tor.”

Currently, said Good, Catalyze.io is working with a wide range of health care industry clients to help those companies build health and wellness applications. This includes working with a company doing “adverse reporting for medication,” a company that’s building a “virtual acne clinic,” a company that’s “building a clinical trials application,” a company building an app for “concierge medicine,” and another building an app for pharmaceutical companies, said Good.

The reason Catalyze.io is able to work on such a variety of projects is because of its focus on the back end, or “plumbing,” as Good puts it, of a given application, as opposed to the front end, where design, look and feel are key elements. One key aspect of this – and one that must be built to meet the specific standards of the health care industry – is HIPAA compliance.

“Our initial offering is a set of API-based infrastructure that makes it easier for developers of web or mobile applications to make it HIPAA compliant,” said Good. “Most modern applications are in two separate buckets – front end (things like screens, buttons, etc.), and cloud-based storage and other back-end features. (Catalyze.io) really is plumbing, and plumbing that modern applications require.”

Good had started another company called Smart.MD – a platform of apps for physician collaboration – in 2012, but ran into problems in the “plumbing” of this type of cloud-based software, and eventually launched Catalyze.io as the solution to this issue.

“We set out to address two major challenges for developers and enterprisers building health care technology,” said Good. “One relates to compliance and security – HIPAA, specific rules for how data is handled and stored – that’s one of the challenges. The other challenge that creates for app developers is data. There are tons of data standards in health care.”

Good said that compared to other fields that work in app development, health care technology is several years behind the times, because “It’s a different skillset and a more complex skillset that’s involved.”

Dan Shafer covers innovation and technology for BizTimes Milwaukee. Send news to him at dan.shafer@biztimes.com or follow him on Twitter @danshaferMKE.

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