Navenio, the Oxford University spinout that is like an Uber for healthcare, has secured $6.3 million to continue its journey as it helps improve efficiency — and care — in the demanding health environment. Adding to 2021’s £9 million Series A, the round was led by Oxford Science Enterprises, with existing investors including G.K. Goh Ventures, Big Pi Ventures, George Robinson, and the University of Oxford participating. The funding will support Navenio’s growth in the UK, and its expansion as it enters the US market and adapts its technology for other sectors.
Navenio works by tracking the locations of healthcare professionals within hospitals, allowing them to be intelligently allocated to tasks. The unpredictable nature of healthcare has meant that resource management is difficult, since professionals have to constantly prioritise patient needs. Navenio’s CEO Connie Moser spoke exclusively to TFN about their product and their plans.
Supercharging the efficiency of healthcare
Moser joined Navenio after their 2021 Series A round. Her CV made her perfect for Navenio. “I have spent 33 years in healthcare IT,” she told us. “A good portion of that was in workforce efficiency, patient throughput, warehousing, and supply chain logistics and scheduling, patient scheduling and patient movement.” But Moser was also attracted by the opportunity to build something that supported existing healthcare systems. “Navenio is basically infrastructure-free, modular, and flexible: it’s complementary, not competitive to the things that they have already installed.”
One of the system’s key benefits is that it does not require additional infrastructure but can use existing sensors in a smartphone to locate people within a few metres. This information can then be combined with information like qualifications, competencies, and availability. “It is about workforce efficiency,” says Moser. “The really important thing is the orchestration of care, like a nurse knowing when all the services that surround a patient are coming.”
In effect, it becomes an Uber for health. When treatment is needed, Navenio handles the request, identifying the best person to complete it based on skills and location. It means a better service for the patient, but also means healthcare workers have their work allocated efficiently.
From university lab to hospital ward
The technology originated from University of Oxford research. It only uses a smartphone’s sensors while meeting the strict privacy and security requirements required by healthcare. And it addresses a long-running problem in healthcare: how to best match the skills and resources available to patents’ needs. Its potential has attracted a lot of attention, including an NHSX Innovation Award.
Part of Navenio’s attraction is that its technology makes it unique among competitors. “We’re very modular. We have layers: we have mapping, we have locating, we have an assignment engine, a tasking engine, and then we have an application on top of all that,” Moser says. And that combination can make a big difference to both patients and staff. “That tasking engine uses factors like proximity, service-level agreements, priority, and balanced workload. We take a whole host of things to get the right person to assign to the right task.”
The impact has been significant. CIO of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Andy Carruthers, commented that it saw a 66% increase in efficiency with their portering teams. “Patient flow and experience has improved by getting the right person to the right place at the right time, and the platform has been enthusiastically adopted by our teams.”
Oxford Science Enterprise’s Head of HealthTech, Heather Roxborough, echoed his enthusiasm, saying, “Navenio is revolutionising the way we create more efficient healthcare workplaces, through its proven technology-powered platform for indoor mapping.”
The funding will help Navenio grow further. They are planning a phased expansion, starting with the US market and into other sectors, like facilities management. In both cases, they are already in advanced discussions with potential partners.
This will see their team expand. They currently have 50 people based in Oxford, with a further five working in the US. Moser is keen to ensure they continue to build their diverse workforce. “As a female executive, I’m absolutely focused on diversity,” she told us. With a gender balance within the senior management team and diversity in the rest of the team, she stresses that diversity is not just a tick-box exercise. “We focused on not only the diversity of the person, but the diversity of thought, as well,” she said. “We get people who are actively going to debate. That’s critically important when hiring.”
Those who join may find themselves transforming healthcare. “The rough statistics are that 30% of requests are cancelled because it’s impossible to know when someone will show up,” Moser told us. “But with Navenio, a nurse knows exactly when their colleague will hit the bedside. It allows us to get patients through, and deal with backlogs. Which is critical to our success and the success of the health system.”