Moving Healthcare Forward
perspectives / Portfolio

Moving Healthcare Forward

Salesforce Ventures invests in Wheel, provider of a virtual care platform and clinician network that helps fuel the next generation of healthcare.

Katie Schwartz Thiry and Zak Kokosa
January 19, 2022

If you were unfamiliar with telehealth prior to the pandemic, you are likely familiar with it now. 2020 and 2021 saw massive increases in the adoption of telemedicine as the healthcare industry found itself turning to telemedicine to meet patient needs. More consumers than ever have tried telemedicine — a trend that is not going away any time soon.

In fact, as consumers and providers increasingly adopt telehealth solutions, McKinsey estimates that “up to $250B of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualized.” Yet, every digital health company, hospital, and insurer faces the same two obstacles: a need for more doctors and better technological infrastructure.

Enter Wheel: Wheel provides a white-label virtual care platform with an integrated nationwide clinician network. Wheel’s end-to-end solution allows companies to offer a virtual care offering quickly and less expensively.

Salesforce Ventures believes in the unbundling of the hospital and invests in the infrastructure to support that thesis. That is why we are proud to announce that Salesforce Ventures is joining Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global in investing in Wheel.

A Perfect Storm for the Rise of Telehealth

A pandemic-fueled macro backdrop, increasing focus on patient experience and access, and a burnt-out healthcare workforce have created the perfect storm for the rise of telehealth.

But creating a telehealth product overnight is not easy. Whether we are talking about direct-to-consumer, virtual-first care offerings building out their clinician networks, or legacy healthcare players racing to offer virtual care to patients — no matter who you are, building a virtual care offering takes time and money. And it is no surprise that we are seeing companies, like Cigna, acquiring telehealth providers, like MDLive — a trend we expect to continue.

Wheel was co-founded in 2018 by Michelle Davey, whose childhood spent in a rural community with few medical resources drove her desire to improve consumer access to healthcare. Her career was spent working in healthcare, tech, marketplaces, and virtual care, including impressive roles in recruiting and talent at Google. It was through those experiences that she saw the opportunity to build a new workforce structure in healthcare — Wheel.

Today, Wheel is one of the most innovative healthcare solutions on the market. They provide digital health companies, clinical lab networks, retailers, traditional healthcare providers, and tech companies an out-of-the-box virtual care experience under their brand. Offering virtual care across 50 states in real-time can be incredibly complex. Wheel’s platform simplifies the operational and regulatory complexities, enabling companies to offer virtual care faster and at a lower cost, with access to a nationwide clinician network. For clinicians, Wheel provides vetted telehealth opportunities and a central location to manage their practice.

“Telehealth 1.0 brought healthcare visits online but companies are still struggling to meet their patients’ care needs,” said Wheel CEO and founder Michelle Davey. “We recognized that to move the healthcare industry forward and truly deliver on the promise of virtual-first care, we need both the infrastructure and workforce that can deliver anytime, anywhere care. We’re excited to continue leading the charge and making personalized care a reality.”

The company has capitalized on telemedicine tailwinds and realized tremendous growth. In 2021, Wheel powered 1.3 million patient visits, a figure anticipated to grow 3x by the end of 2022. Not only that, in an industry swamped with burnout and workforce shortages, Wheel’s clinician network increased 60% YoY — impressive growth while bolstering a 90% clinician retention rate.

We couldn’t be more excited about Wheel and the tremendous journey in front of them. We’re thrilled to partner with Michelle and the entire team on the next chapter as they help fuel the next generation of healthcare. We hope you will join us in welcoming Wheel to the Salesforce Ventures family!