- Jonathan Bush, co-founder and former CEO of software company Athenahealth, is back in the saddle.
- Zus Health, his new startup, wants to continue part of his work at Athena to digitize patient health.
- Zus shared with Insider the deck that raised $40 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz.
Jonathan Bush’s return to healthcare is more than underway.
Bush co-founded Athenahealth, a software company, in 1997. About a decade later, he took it public. A fight with Paul Singer, the activist investor, later, Bush was forced out of his role as CEO in 2018. Athena was soon privatized.
After taking time off to sail the Maine coast on a catamaran named after a thoroughbred racehorse, and with some encouragement from investors, Bush founded a new startup in 2020. Zus Health started 2021 with $34 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, F-Prime Capital, Maverick Ventures and Rock Health.
Insiders have learned that with $40 million in new funding from many of the same companies, Zus has strategized to continue what Athena started.
“Athena, who’s your daddy? It’s Zus!” Bush, CEO of Zus, told investors in a pitch in a video Bush sent to insiders. “It’s the next iteration of an original idea to make the internet work in healthcare.”
Zus estimates the pay rise at about $190 million, Bush said. The company’s “pre-money” valuation of $150 million, or prior to the Series B cash infusion, was a 20% decrease compared to its “post-money” valuation at the last raise. Bush told Insiders he was “blessed” given the funding climate that his stake in the company was diluted in this way.
The funds will be used to pay the salaries of Zus’ small, software engineer-heavy team, he said. With Zus facing such a major technical challenge, Bush himself admits it could fail.
Zus meets the challenge of universal health profiles
Health information is still largely locked away in proprietary databases, so doctors and patients continue to waste time and money on myriad tasks, such as B. filling out paper questionnaires on clipboards.
Zus is developing software that aims to fix this by selling universal, real-time health profiles of every American to electronic health record companies, their provider customers, and potentially other health care groups. In Bush’s words, it’s the holy grail of healthcare. Google and Microsoft have failed in similar projects.
Outside of the technology, there’s also the challenge of convincing Epic and Cerner, the dominant record companies, to let Zus’ products work with theirs.
“It just seems like the risk isn’t in the idea,” Lawrence Mehren of Abeja Ventures, a healthcare-focused VC fund, told Bush during the pitch. “The benefit is huge, it’s just — can you do something so incredibly complicated where others have just been impaled?”
Bush argues it’s the right time for such a product to take off. Regulations are forcing healthcare data companies to share more data, and many newcomers to the industry are more digitally minded.
“There are all these little pieces, but they’re all just being repasted to the clipboard because nobody has a shared clinical history,” Bush told investors. “That got me out of my sailboat. I think that’s too exciting.”
Here’s the deck that Zus used to raise $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, F-Prime Capital, Maverick Ventures, and Jazz Venture Partners. Insider removed transition slides and the presentation’s appendix for length.