The female-founded healthcare marketplace capitalizes on changes driven by the Affordable Care Act and announces a fresh injection of VC cash.

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

Washington, DC, with its convoluted power plays and generally glacial pace of progress, may feel far away from tech innovation hubs like Silicon Valley, but what goes on in the nation’s capital can have big impacts for startups — just take female-founded PokitDok as an example.

This week the marketplace where consumers can shop for healthcare providers and get clear information on prices is announcing it has raised a $4 million Series A round led by New Atlantic Ventures and syndicated with Rogers Venture Partners. This comes on top of a $1.3 million seed round last year.

Why is the startup, founded in 2011, generating so much interest? John Backus, co-founder and managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures explains:

“We invested in PokitDok because it is tackling a critical need for healthcare pricing transparency and a place that connects doctors and patients, at a meaningful moment in history. An unintended result of the Affordable Care Act is a rush by consumers and businesses to adopt high deductible health plans with low monthly premiums.This means that consumers will start spending more of their own money before insurance coverage kicks in. They will start taking a vested interest in finding and evaluating medical providers, costs and quality in a country that already spends $2.6 trillion on healthcare.” Backus is also joining the company’s board of directors.

PokitDock co-founder Lisa Maki agrees. “A sizeable retail health market is emerging in the US,” she commented, noting numbers from America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national association of health insurers, that show enrollment in high deductible plans with health savings accounts tripled over the last five years to 13.5 million in 2012 and more than 30 million previously uninsured individuals will be eligible for health insurance from new state health exchanges.

What is the company planning to do with the cash? “This new funding allows us to rapidly scale our marketplace to connect providers and patients and also give health plans and self-insured businesses deeper, more extensive information about available physicians, their treatments and services and the cash prices they charge,” Maki says.

Are there other ways startups could benefit from recent regulatory changes?


jstillmanJessica Stillman is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: Nancy Pelosi via Flickr