Canadian healthtech startup KeyOps raises $4m seed round to fuel expansion in the U.S.

Canadian healthtech startup KeyOps raises $4m seed round to fuel expansion in the U.S.

Published: 14-12-2022 08:27:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 4015 | Tags:

KeyOps, a Toronto-based Insights-as-a-Service (IaaS) startup, announced it has raised $4 million (CAD) in seed funding. The digital platform connects doctors and other key opinion leaders (KOL) to life science companies to enable faster commercial decision making and better respond to patients' needs.

The round was led by Graphite Ventures, with participation from MaRS IAF, StarForge, an Archangel Network fund, and the Velocity Fund. A group of experienced SaaS experts and CEOs including Carol Leaman (CEO of Axonify), James Novak (ex-CEO of Fiix Software), Danny Ardellini (CEO of Environmental 360 Solutions), and a network of physicians from HaloHealth also participated in this round.

Led by CEO Peter Doulas (Microsoft, Fiix), KeyOps has experienced rapid growth since its launch in 2020 as their platform allows leading global pharmaceutical sales and marketing teams to intelligently match and deploy short digital surveys, asynchronous advisory board meetings, and test marketing content with a network of expert physicians.

"As pharmaceutical companies continue their shift from traditional face-to-face interactions with physicians to digital channels, KeyOps has found growing demand for its platform,'' said Doulas. "By building to meet the needs of KOL physicians, we've achieved engagement rates that are as high as 80%, and a net promoter score on par with tech titans such as Apple and Google."

Since rolling out its platform in 2021, the startup now boasts a notable list of customers that include some of the world's largest pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including Amgen Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Canada, and Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD).  

Darren Anderson, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, who brings over 25 years of pharmaceutical expertise to the founding team, says that "life science companies are drawn to our solution because we provide decision makers with on-demand insights from top KOLs and faster insights for faster decision making."

KeyOps was first conceived by Drs. Sam Elfassy and Saeed Darvish-Kazem who recognized pharmaceutical companies were spending billions each year trying to guide physician strategies for products or services like patient support programs, but were out of touch with KOL needs – often demanding hour-long meetings, unnecessary dinners or showing up at doctors' offices. 

"Busy physicians had to find 1 to 3 hours and schedule a meeting with sales representatives or listen to a PowerPoint presentation that may be irrelevant to their patients' needs," says Dr. Darvish. "Between treating patients, teaching students, and administrative office work, you may have as little as 15 minutes in a given day to share top-of-mind insights."

KeyOps currently works with device manufacturers, laboratory testing companies, and pharmaceutical customers across a range of therapeutic areas.

The funding will be used to grow the team to aggressively expand U.S. market reach, while growing its physician network across North America. KeyOps plans to use its funding to add engineering, product development and sales/marketing roles in the next year with a focus on its U.S. commercial team build out.

"There are a number of small players who are attempting to enable commercial insights for life science sales and marketing teams," says Graphite Venture Partner and new KeyOps Board Director, Kevin Madill. "KeyOps is the first to take an innovative physician-centric approach and we were impressed with their vision for building a collaborative and modern approach to physician-pharma engagement."