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AICEP
Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal

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UpHill, a digital health startup that develops software to guide clinical decisions and help hospitals adopt evidence-based best practices, raised a $4.1 million seed round to scale up its product within healthcare institutions worldwide.

By tackling the variability of clinical practice, UpHill is improving medical outcomes and resource efficiency, and just a month ago, the company also received $1.2M European funding to lead a R&D project on clinical pathways implementation.

 

The impact of clinical decisions on healthcare quality is often reduced to clinical errors that cost approximately $20 billion a year[1], in the United States of America. In its turn, European data consistently show that medical errors and healthcare related adverse events occur in 8% to 12% of hospitalizations[2]. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg of a much more complex problem of suboptimal care.

 

Founded in 2015 by three medical doctors non-resigned with the variability of clinical practice and its impact on patients’ outcomes, the Lisbon-based startup strives to standardize clinical care through the best evidence available, support healthcare professionals' productivity during this process, and improve healthcare quality sustainably.

 

Eduardo Freire Rodrigues, UpHill CEO and co-founder, explains: ““Even within the same hospital, the way each person is treated heavily depends on the medical team by whom each patient is being assisted. This variability impacts patients’ outcomes and organizations' efficiency, making it hard to understand which set of actions led to the best results and what should be optimized. Our solution works as a GPS for healthcare settings, providing real-time, evidence-based, and multidisciplinary guidance on which path should be followed by a particular patient. As a result, clinicians improve compliance with best practices easily, organizations reduce unwarranted waste, and patients’ outcomes become more predictable.”.

In 2021, the technology company has quadrupled the number of active users and more than doubled the monthly recurring revenues (MRR). With the new funding, led by Brighteye Ventures and MSM (MustardSeedMAZE), and followed on by early investors such as Caixa Capital, Luz Saúde and Bynd Venture Capital, UpHill wants to accelerate its internationalization, and hire new roles to join product and business development teams, and launch new features.

“So far, UpHill has been focused on simplifying healthcare professionals’ access to accurate and actionable information to make better decisions. The upcoming times will be marked by significant and transforming advances in our product, making it automated, integrated, and useful from a patient perspective too.”, concludes Eduardo Freire Rodrigues.

 

Alex Spiro Latsis, partner at Brighteye Ventures, the leading venture capital for startups that empower and expand the frontiers of human potential, explains why they decided to partner with UpHill: “UpHill provides an innovative solution to measure and close gaps in adherence to best practices in medicine through an intuitive simulation tool, that allows healthcare professionals to train whilst continuing to perform critical services to their communities. Eduardo, himself a trained physician - and his wider team - have leveraged their deep expertise in healthcare to solve real challenges in their sector, a sector which faces new and rapidly evolving demands every day. We are delighted to support UpHill as they scale to new geographies and continue to develop their tool and team, to help healthcare professionals face their uphill challenges with confidence, every day, everywhere.”

 

Manuel Antunes, investor at MSM, the first Portuguese venture capital with a social impact investment strategy, adds: "The pandemic surfaced to the public domain the critical situation in which the developed world healthcare system is. Critical in terms of resources, critical in terms of management practices, and consequently critical in the level of service provided. At MSM we have been drawn to better patient outcomes driven by healthcare systems where technology allows doctors to visualize the latest scientific evidence on each patient in real-time. We've seen in UpHill and its medical team the credible tech-enabled evidence-based solution we believe healthcare systems need today."

Just a month ago, the company received $1.2M European funding to lead a R&D project that will use artificial intelligence to optimize clinical pathways implementation in healthcare units, for a total of $5.3M raised.

Currently, UpHill works with top-performing hospitals and worldwide pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, or Pfizer, and has ongoing projects in Portugal, Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and Norway. To make it happen, relies on proprietary pathway technology and a medical crowd with hundreds of experts producing updated medical content.

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