Medicare Startup Prioritizing ‘Movement As Medicine’ Snags $17M

Millions of seniors in the U.S. spend their later years in poor and declining health brought on by falls, pain and chronic conditions, signifying a growing disconnect between quality of life and overall longevity. On Tuesday, a startup focused on addressing this issue gained $17 million in funding.

Bold, a Los Angeles-based company offering a healthy aging platform for older adults, closed a Series A funding round led by Rethink Impact. The round, which took the startup’s fundraising total to $27 million, also had participation from Samsung Next, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, GingerBread Capital and Primetime Partners.

Founded in 2019, Bold seeks to improve older adults’ health through personalized exercise programs designed to prevent falls, decrease musculoskeletal pain and boost physical activity levels.

The startup contracts with Medicare Advantage plans and risk-taking provider groups to make its platform accessible to older patients, and the company said it is using its newly-raised capital to grow this side of the business. Bold also has a direct-to-consumer option so that anyone can sign up and use its programming.

“Bold programs are designed specially for older adults, and are tailored to their fitness level, health background and goals. Our members love Bold because we listen to their preferences, and provide them with movements that are accessible, fun and applicable to their lives,” said CEO Amanda Rees.

The programs’ design is supported by Bold’s team of clinical advisors, and its in-house clinical talents manages the programs day to day. 

Bold tracks its users’ increase in physical activity, as this is critical to its Medicare partners and demonstrates the behavior change that the startup is trying to drive by making fitness more accessible and engaging. The company published research showing that its programs drove a 182% increase in users’ weekly physical activity, suggesting that its users are establishing new routines and sticking with them.

“Bold members love, trust and return to our platform because our product is personalized for their experience. This personalization is continuous — it doesn’t happen only at onboarding. This ensures that the programming offered to our members is appropriately tailored for their specific needs, which is why we see such strong engagement,” Rees declared.

The startup’s programs are currently available to more than 10 million Medicare members. Some of its customers include UnitedHealthcare and Ochsner Health System.

Bold’s funding round comes at a time when an increasing amount of interest and capital is flowing to companies looking to serve Medicare Advantage beneficiaries — such as Oak Street Health, Agilon Health and Devoted Health. Rees said that her startup stands out from the crowd because of its focus on movement as medicine. 

“According to the CDC, 4 in 5 chronic conditions can be managed or improved through exercise. We are hard at work building clinically sound programs specifically for older adults, emphasizing accessibility and impact in every decision, which is why partners are increasingly turning to us to reach their members and drive clinical outcomes,” she explained.

Photo: Bold