When Andrew Hines started Canvas Medical in 2015 he couldn't have predicted that telehealth would go from niche to norm or that a pandemic would inspire entrepreneurs to launch a new fleet of digital health startups that needed fresh infrastructure. He just knew he wanted to build software for physicians like his wife, who wasted hours a day on data documentation.
“I thought there has got to be a better solution,” Hines told TechCrunch. “I started Canvas to design the software with the right data structure and right workflow to be able to have a positive impact on patient health outcomes.”
Canvas, an electronic medical records (EMR) startup, helps 15 types of stakeholders ranging from physicians to insurance companies to social workers keep better track of their patient data through a workflow system that autofills information in a document — rather than through a series of drop-down menus — which makes it faster and easier for users.
Now, the San Francisco-based startup just raised $24 million in Series B financing in a round led by M13, with participation from existing investors including Inspired Capital, IA Ventures and Upfront Capital.
For Inspired Capital COO and partner Mark Batsiyan, the need for Canvas was clear right away, as his wife has also had to work with bad EMR systems in her career. Inspired invested in the company's Series A round in April 2021 before doubling down for the Series B this year.
“One quote that has never left my mind, is one of their physicians called Canvas the ‘Tesla' of EMR,” Batsiyan said. “It's an industry-leading product experience that gave us the conviction to invest in the A, and to really rethink EMR and infrastructure for healthcare.”
Despite the success of Canvas so far, Hines didn't originally plan on being an entrepreneur.
A year before he founded the company, he took a software engineering role at Practice Fusion, a high-flying EMR company that had raised more than $100 million in venture capital at the time. Hines said he learned a lot there, but the company didn't make its money from the EMR system, but rather through other channels it also developed, and he felt that created a misalignment on where growth was oriented.
The current iteration of Canvas's software took five years to develop, and launched in the fall of 2021. It allows users to keep track of data and link to payment options all with an open API that allows software developers to build on top of it. The company has seen its customer base grow by 300% since its latest product launch last year, but it declined to share more specific metrics.
Alongside its funding news, the startup is also announcing that it has been federally certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). It's the first EMR company in two decades to get the nod, due to its standardized healthcare API, which means it can work with federal programs like medicare and it puts the company ahead of the upcoming API enforcement by the 21st Century Cares Act.
“What's been inspiring is the breadth of customer types that we see coming in,” Hines said. “Plenty of telehealth companies doing urgent care, mental health, behavioral health. We have seen an enormous amount of new specific types of practices.”
While Canvas wasn't started to exclusively serve the digital health startup community, it has been able to tap into the wave of companies that have started since the onset of the pandemic, including mental health startup Uplift and virtual memory clinic Isaac Health, and help power the digital additions from the traditional players.
“Software and medicine are entering a new age of collaboration and value creation,” Hines said. “How are software engineers working with physicians and nurses? That's our North Star.”