Created to help employees figure out health benefits, HealthJoy raises $30 million

HealthJoy, a platform designed to make it easier for employees to use their healthcare benefits, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Health Velocity Capital. Returning investors also participated, including U.S. Venture Partners, Chicago Ventures, Epic Ventures, Brandon Cruz and Clint Jones. This brings HealthJoy’s total funding so far to $53 million.

By integrating with healthcare service providers and partnering with benefit consultant agencies, HealthJoy simplifies the process of finding and using benefits. Its features include an AI-based virtual assistant and healthcare concierges. The startup says it has a monthly login rate of 33% and that its clients, which now includes 500 employers, see a tenfold increase in the employee use of benefits, including telemedicine.

Since TechCrunch covered HealthJoy’s Series B round last year, the company has launched two new services. One is a price transparency tool called HealthJoy Rewards that allows companies to provide incentives for employees to use more cost-efficient services.

“For example, an MRI in Chicago can vary in price from around $500 for an independent clinic to around $3,500 in a hospital system,” HealthJoy founder and CEO Justin Holland told TechCrunch. “Our rewards platform allows companies to customize the incentive, but we provide nearly 100 recommendations. We’re showing an amazing ROI for companies that have adopted the program since we’re targeting high-cost procedures.”

The second new service is called HealthJoy EAP, an employee assistance program that Holland says is a priority for further development. It gives 24/7 access to short-term counseling, with several sessions available for free.

“Addressing mental heath is of extreme importance for companies in today’s world. Access to traditional counseling is on decline in many rural areas due to lack of access. In cities, costs have risen so many users are priced out of the market,” he says.

The funding will also be used to improve HealthJoy’s virtual assistant, develop new services, integrate with more partners and aggregate data. HealthJoy plans to add 200 employees in its Chicago office during 2021, with the goal of doubling its engineering team. Future plans include working with more small- to medium-sized businesses and a potential partnership to serve Medicare recipients.

Other startups focused on employee benefits include League, Catch and Collective Health. Holland says HealthJoy integrates with, instead of competing with, benefits administration platforms and differentiates by being able to work with any benefits package.

Health Velocity Capital partner Saurabh Bhansali will join HealthJoy’s board of directors. In a press statement, Bhansali said: “HealthJoy offers proven technology solutions to help navigate employees through our nation’s complex and costly healthcare system, one that costs US employees over $1.2 trillion each year. Healthjoy has shown that it can deliver substantial cost savings to employers while simplifying the employee healthcare experience.”

Microsoft launches 100X100X100 program to help Indian B2B SaaS startups

As Indian startups begin to make inroads in the world of SaaS, Microsoft has taken notice. The American tech giant today launched 100X100X100, a program aimed at business-to-business SaaS startups.

Microsoft said Monday that 100X100X100 will bring together 100 companies and 100 early and growth-stage startups. Each committed company will spend $100,000 over a course of 18 months.

“This initiative will help build scale and create amazing opportunities for startups. Businesses can now fast-track their digital journeys through easy adoption of enterprise-grade solutions,” said Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, in a statement.

Each startup participating in the program will also have access to prospective customers at Microsoft industry and customer events. Participants also get access to Microsoft’s technology platform and guidance in fine tuning their business and expansion models.

Microsoft is not a new face in India’s startup ecosystem. The company runs Microsoft for Startups that allows early-stage B2B startups to use the company’s Azure marketplace and enterprise sales team. Early last year, the company also expanded M12, its corporate venture fund, to India.

Google and Amazon, Microsoft’s global rivals, are also actively helping startups in India, sponsoring countless events and bandying out a range of goodies including thousands of dollars of credit to use their cloud platforms.

The idea is simple: If the bets work, these startups are already a customer and their solutions could be beneficial to several tens of thousands of other customers. And it’s a safe time to make these bets.

In recent years, scores of startups have emerged in India to build SaaS software following the success of firms such as Freshworks, valued at $3.5 billion, and CleverTap. Since SaaS startups are not building hardware, or disbursing loans, they often have the best profit margin.

Shekhar Kirani, a partner at Accel, told TechCrunch in a recent interview that his biggest frustration was not seeing many more entrepreneurs build SaaS services. “Anyone with some coding skills and a cheap laptop can build a service and sell to the world,” he said.

At a recent SaaS focused event, Godard Abel, chief executive of business marketplace G2, said that India was already among the top five nations for active participations for development of new business services.

As for Microsoft, expect several more announcements this week as its chief executive, Satya Nadella, appears at company’s flagship conference in the country today and tomorrow.

Lightspeed leads Laiye’s $42M round to bet on Chinese enterprise IT

Laiye, a Chinese startup that offers robotic process automation services to several major tech firms in the nation and government agencies, has raised $42 million in a new funding round as it looks to scale its business.

The new financing round, Series C, was co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lightspeed China Partners. Cathay Innovation, which led the startup’s Series B+ round and Wu Capital, which led the Series B round, also participated in the new round.

China has been the hub for some of the cheapest labor in the world. But in recent years, a number of companies and government agencies have started to improve their efficiency with the help of technology.

That’s where Laiye comes into play. Robotic process automation (RPA) allows software to mimic several human behaviors such as keyboard strokes and mouse clicks.

“For instance, a number of banks did not previously offer APIs, so humans had to sign in and fetch the data and then feed it into some other software. Processes like these could be automated by our platform,” said Arvid Wang, co-founder and co-chief executive of Laiye, in an interview with TechCrunch.

The four-and-a-half-year-old startup, which has raised more than $100 million to date, will use the fresh capital to hire talent from across the globe and expand its services. “We believe robotic process automation will achieve its full potential when it combines AI and the best human talent,” he said.

Laiye’s announcement today comes as the market for robotic automation process is still in nascent stage in China. There are a handful of startups looking into this space, but Laiye, which counts Microsoft as an investor, and Sequoia-backed UiPath are the two clear leaders in the market currently.

As my colleague Rita Liao wrote last year, it was only recently that some entrepreneurs and investors in China started to shift their attention from consumer-facing products to business applications.

Globally, RPA has emerged as the fastest growing market in enterprise space. A Gartner report found last year that RPA market grew over 63% in 2018. Recent surveys have shown that most enterprises in China today are also showing interest in enhancing their RPA projects and AI capabilities.

Laiye today has more than 200 partners and more than 200,000 developers have registered to use its multilingual UiBot RPA platform. UiBot enables integration with Laiye’s native and third-party AI capabilities such as natural language processing, optical character recognition, computer vision, chatbot and machine learning.

“We are very bullish on China, and the opportunities there are massive,” said Lightspeed partner Amy Wu in an interview. “Laiye is doing phenomenally there, and with this new fundraise, they can look to expand globally,” she said.