WisBusiness: The head of Veda Data Solution, a Madison-based health software firm, says the workforce shortage and pandemic challenges have created opportunities in health care for startups

WisBusiness: The head of Veda Data Solution, a Madison-based health software firm, says the workforce shortage and pandemic challenges have created opportunities in health care for startups

“The workforce shortage is moving people to be more open to technology than they were before, if what you’re doing is creating an automation or efficiency where they don’t have to struggle to find employees to do things manually,” said Meghan Gaffney, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

She spoke yesterday during the Tech Council webinar, highlighting fundraising efforts from last year and discussing investment trends in the health care space. Her business had the third-highest investment total in the state last year at $45 million, tied with another Madison company called Redox.

“I think it’s really opportunities that are opening up in the COVID space now, where it’s just finding what the right pain point is,” Gaffney said.

Veda Data Solutions, which launched in 2015, has a machine learning platform that aims to save health care payers and providers up to 90 percent in costs through automation. The company recently moved its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Madison. Gaffney explained that decision was driven in part by the state’s “abundance of health care and technology expertise.”

She noted the company has been able to recruit well-trained workers from larger companies like Epic, as well as specialists from the academic community in Wisconsin. She also said the lower cost of operation in the state was an attractive proposition.

Mark Bakken, managing partner for Madison-based HealthX Ventures, said he’s hopeful that as the state continues to build up its investment and startup ecosystem, more companies like Veda Data Solutions will consider moving to Wisconsin. HealthX Ventures contributed to the company’s investment total for last year.

“It’s really gratifying to be part of something like that, where they’re actually significantly lowering the cost of health care and making it better, and creating jobs, and making money for investors — it’s like all these good things you can do at once,” Bakken said yesterday.

Bakken is among the most active venture capitalists in the state. He has a wealth of experience with launching and selling startup companies as well. Gaffney said his expertise and guidance has been helpful as the company navigates relationships with very large customers.

“You get pushed around a lot, in terms of what you can charge for your product, and everybody wants something as close to free as you can get it. I don’t blame them for that, I feel the same way,” she said. “I think having an operator to lean on that’s been on my side of that negotiation was really, really valuable to me.”