Philadelphia digital startup Tendo emerges from stealth mode, details Jefferson Health collaboration
By John George – Senior Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
Apr 1, 2021
A Philadelphia tech startup backed by venture capital firm General Catalyst has emerged from stealth mode to officially announce its collaboration with Jefferson Health, and how it plans to make medical care more consumer friendly.
Tendo Health is led by siblings and software industry veterans Dan Goldsmith and Jennifer Goldsmith. The brother and sister, formerly executives with Veeva and Instructure, have spent more than a decade developing software now used widely in the education and life sciences industries.
Tendo has a staff of 35, but no official headquarters as the company has operated virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It expects to reach 100 employees by the end of the year.
The company’s goal is to create a “next-generation digital engagement platform” that will seamlessly connect patients, clinicians and caregivers throughout the care cycle.
After Instructure was sold to a private equity firm early last year, the Goldsmiths turned their attention to the health care sector.
“We went on a listening tour back in March of 2020,” Jennifer Goldsmithsaid. “We started talking to multiple health care systems, clinicians and other caregivers, and patients to hear what was happening in health care and figure out what we could do. That is how we got started.”
While on their tour, the siblings met Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst. Taneja introduced them to Dr. Stephen Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. Taneja and Klasko had just collaborated on a book about the future of health care and the need for the greater use of technology in the sector.
During their conversations the framework for the formation of Tendo took shape.
“The tour shaped our vision and purpose,” Dan Goldsmith said. “Health care needs to go through a digital transformation, similar to what many other industries have done, to create a better consumer experience.… After (meeting Klasko and Taneja), we really started digging in and building the company.”
Tendo has received an undisclosed investment from General Catalyst, a VC firm with offices in New York, California and Massachusetts that previously backed tech-driven start-ups such as Airbnb, Instacart, Stripe, Livongo and Oscar.
The Goldsmiths also invested their own money to launch the company.
Tendo’s goal is to build software that creates “exceptional experiences” for patients as well as care providers by improving efficiencies and clinical outcomes, eliminating redundancies and allowing providers to spend less time with paperwork and more time with patients.
Jennifer Goldsmith said an example of one of the issues they plan to address is making an appointment to see a doctor.
“I recently went to make an appointment with my primary care doctor, and I timed it,” she said. “It took me 20 minutes, and that included four call transfers — and I was asked for the same set of information three times. I can go on OpenTable and get a restaurant reservation confirmed inside of five minutes. Making an appointment to see a doctor should be just as easy.”
Dan Goldsmith said they also want to address the problem one New York doctor shared with them. The doctor said he arrives at his practice early every morning, three hours before seeing his first patient to handle paperwork and administrative demands of dealing with health insurers and government-backed programs. He does so in order to arrive home at a decent hour and get the opportunity to spend time with his family.
“I asked him what if we could cut that time in half, and he said it would be life-changing,” Goldsmith said.
The company’s business strategy is to work closely with three to five health systems across the country that share Tendo’s vision and commitment. Tendo will collaborate with those systems to create, and test, its first set of what will be designed as scalable software and technology.
Jefferson is Tendo’s first partner. The second is expected to be announced soon.
Klasko at Jefferson and Taneja at General Catalyst, talked exclusively to the Philadelphia Business Journal about the formation of the then-secretive company in November.
In that interview, Taneja said, “The goal is to try to build a defining software company for health care that has the DNA of an elite health care company like Jefferson and the DNA of an elite technology company like ours.”
Klasko said Jefferson wants to change the paradigm of medical delivery to one where people are able to “thrive without health care getting in the way,” and, when needed, have easy access to services.
“It’s what we call health care with no address,” Klasko said. “Tendo shares our vision and has the experience and expertise to deliver the right technology for this change. For Jefferson, [working with Tendo] is an opportunity to create the best of both worlds bringing together fast-paced digital transformation within our health care ecosystem.”