Healthtech startup Power has exited stealth with $7 million in seed funding jointly led by Footwork and CRV, with additional investments from Artis Ventures, South Park Commons, and AirAngels.
“We want to equalize a process that historically has left out women, minorities, and those without financial means or sophisticated medical teams.”
– Power co-founders Brandon Li and Michael Gill
Power, which is based in San Francisco, was formed last year by Canadian entrepreneurs, Brandon Li and Michael ‘Bask’ Gill, with the mission to modernize the discovery and accessibility of clinical trials. Its open-access platform connects patients to over 30,000 clinical trials and 100,000 researchers spanning 10,000 medical conditions. The startup said it is on track to have more than 500,000 patients this year.
“Historically, clinical trials have relied on recruiting patients who are being treated at large, prestigious medical institutions and/or have active, hands-on support from a physician or patient advocate,” said Li. “It should not be as hard as it is today.”
Li watched a close friend struggle with finding and enrolling in clinical trials. After his friend’s cancer relapsed, she had to find second-line treatment options for a brain tumour. Li said she was able to enroll in a trial, with the help of strangers on the internet.
Gill faced a similar struggle when he witnessed his father diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. Gill said it was his first time dealing with clinicaltrials.gov, and it took him months to try to figure out what options would be most promising.
These experiences eventually led to the creation of Power, embarking on building a patient-first experience for those seeking out clinical trials. Its platform aims to make it easy for patients to find treatment options within their area, by providing options to search by location for example, as well as search by individually specific considerations like genetic markers.
Power quietly launched a Beta version of its platform nine months ago, and it claims to have received an “incredible” response, including from life science companies, patient advocacy organizations, and physicians.
Before they founded Power, Li and Gill met while working at Ontario-based Setter, which was acquired by Thumbtack in 2020. At that time, Li was Setter’s head of revenue and operations, while Gill was head of growth.
Gill was the co-founder and CEO of Peersight, which helped job seekers get to know the people working for their potential employer before they accept an offer. There, Gill said he led a team of 12 and was able to acquire around 2,000 new users each week for four months.
Additionally, Gill has been an advisor to Ada, Erdos Ventures, Lilia, New Smiles, and others.
Now both at Power, Li and Gill want to “unblock” the clinical trial recruitment system, with the hope to accelerate the process of medical research.
“We believe groundbreaking therapeutic options should be available to all patients — regardless of geographical location, ethnicity or socioeconomic background,” the startup said. “We want to equalize a process that historically has left out women, minorities, and those without financial means or sophisticated medical teams.”
Featured image from the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.