By Nancy Dahlberg
Another big exit for a South Florida tech company: Cigna Corp. has agreed to acquire telehealth giant MDLive.
MDLive, headquartered in Miramar, offers virtual healthcare to more than 60 million people in all 50 states through health plans and is one of the largest and fastest-growing telehealth companies in the country. Like other providers in the industry, growth has exploded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has quickly accelerated the adoption of telehealth.
For Cigna, the deal announced today by the giant health insurer’s Evernorth services unit brings telehealth services in-house, aiming to help close the patient-provider accessibility gap. Typically health insurers have paid for these services through contracts with telehealth providers. "We'll also have the opportunity to expand the reach of MDLive's capabilities to Evernorth's clients, as well as Cigna's U.S. Medical customers and clients," said Evernorth President Eric Palmer.
Financial terms of the deal for privately held MDLive weren’t disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Founded in 2009 by Randy Parker, MDLive has been one of South Florida's most successful healthcare technology companies, and has been a pioneer in a sector that has been one of the region's fastest-growing. The company has raised nearly $200 million in venture capital, including $50 million raised in September. That transaction valued the company over $1 billion, unicorn territory. Cigna Ventures is among its roster of investors.
The company had been eyeing going public. MDLive Chairman and CEO Charles Jones told STAT News in August that the company was aiming to go public in 2021.
“Becoming part of the Evernorth portfolio is an opportunity for MDLive to join an organization that complements our work, and has been a long-time partner and investor in our business,” Jones said in today's announcement. “Together, we can accelerate MDLive’s growth strategy and ability to serve more customers, while also building new services that will benefit our existing stakeholders, including employees, partners, patients, customers, health plans and providers.”
This morning’s announcement marks a string of exits for South Florida’s tech community. In the past week alone, Cyxtera announced it was going public in a $3.4 billion SPAC deal and we learned Nearpod is being acquired by Renaissance Learning for about $650 million.
For its part, MDLive has already been contributing to a virtuous entrepreneurial cycle. Miami entrepreneur Andrew Parker worked at his father’s company before launching Papa, the fast-growing provider of the Papa Pals service that is now in all 50 states through health plans. "I couldn't be more proud of my dad (and mentor) and his insane accomplishment. I've been watching him build businesses my entire life, since the warehouse days selling movies to large retailers to disrupting healthcare," Andrew Parker shared on social media.
His father is also building a new startup. Randy Parker is founder and CEO of GeniusRX, GeniusRx, which is building an AI-powered online pharmacy that aims to use the power of technology to make medicine simple, intuitive and personal.
About today's announcement, Tim Wentworth, CEO of Cigna’s Evernorth, said: "Combining MDLive's platform and strong network for virtual providers with our comprehensive care solutions, we will be better positioned to optimize the care journey to improve affordability and accessibility, and to deliver superior support to health plans as they advance their own care delivery models for the future."
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