Holistic Health Kenshō Moves Into Telehealth

Bernard Mendez
Bernard Mendez is an editorial intern at dot.LA. He attends UCLA, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Mendez was previously an editor at the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA.
Holistic Health Kenshō Moves Into Telehealth

When Krista Berlincourt was dealing with health issues due to a hormonal imbalance, she wasn't getting the answers she wanted from her doctors.

Instead, she turned to holistic medicine, and the success of that experience led her to start Kenshō Health, a Los Angeles-based startup that offers a searchable referral service to help patients find holistic medicine healthcare providers.

Kenshō Health announced Thursday that it raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round that was led by KB Partners and included Company Ventures and Gaingels.

Kenshō Health co-founder Krista Berlincourt

Kenshō's platform matches patients to licensed holistic healthcare providers. It includes over 2,000 providers so far, who provide services ranging from acupuncture to therapy to chiropractic care.

Holistic medicine is a form of treatment often based on traditional medicine combined with modern medicine. Providers seek to find cures for long-term ailments by looking for the root cause of health problems, rather than finding short-term fixes.

The complementary and alternative medicine industry is projected to grow over 20% per year between 2021 and 2028, according to research from the Grandview Research CAGR.

Even so, Berlincourt said it is difficult to find providers because the majority of holistic healthcare providers are private practice and decentralized. Kenshō, she said, is like a phone book — a platform that doesn't otherwise exist in the holistic medicine industry.

"Today, [finding providers] is like walking down the street and hoping that you might meet someone," she said. "But with [Kenshō], you effectively have a matchmaker."

The platform also makes it easier for users to find providers that fit their lifestyles, a feature that became their focus after hearing from underrepresented users who wanted to find providers who had shared experiences with them. A transgender person of color, for example, would be able to use their platform to find a provider who is also a transgender person of color, she said.

"When you're trying to find a doctor, you're trying to find a person that resonates with you, who you trust to heal you," she said.

Berlincourt said several hundred thousand people have used Kenshō, which gets the bulk of its revenue from partnerships with healthcare plans and health care networks. It will begin charging booking fees and other transaction fees beginning in the fall and is planning to launch full-feature telehealth features to its platform around that time.

Berlincourt said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have begun to shift toward holistic healthcare, in combination with traditional medicine, to address their medical ailments. She is hoping that Kenshō will help accelerate this shift.

"We just have some old and entrenched systems that really need updating, and technology's a really easy way to do that," she said. "I think it's important for consumers and for the country that we move this mountain forward."

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

LA Venture Funds

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😊🚘 Rivian's $5 Billion Lifeline

🔦 Spotlight

Volkswagen announced on Tuesday a significant investment of up to $5 billion in Rivian, a struggling electric truck manufacturer known for its vehicles' distinctive smiley-face design reminiscent of Volkswagen's iconic Beetle. This partnership marks a unique collaboration between the world's second-largest automaker and a startup grappling with profitability challenges akin to those faced by Tesla. Volkswagen's infusion of $1 billion initially, potentially rising to $5 billion pending regulatory approval, underscores its strategic pivot towards enhancing its electric vehicle (EV) software capabilities, an area where analysts believe the company has lagged.

For Rivian, which has received acclaim for its electric trucks and SUVs but struggles with production ramp-up and financial losses, the investment offers crucial financial backing. The company plans to utilize Volkswagen's expertise in manufacturing, leveraging the German automaker's annual production of nearly 10 million vehicles. This alliance aims to bolster Rivian's efforts to launch new models like the R2 midsize SUV and complete its Georgia factory, paused earlier this year to conserve funds. Rivian's stock surged upwards of 40% following the announcement, reflecting investor optimism in the company's future prospects.

Despite their differing corporate cultures—Volkswagen's traditional, structured approach contrasted with Rivian's agile tech startup ethos—the CEOs of both companies expressed mutual admiration and shared goals during the partnership announcement. The collaboration is expected to yield EV software solutions benefiting Volkswagen's various brands, potentially including Audi and Porsche, while allowing Rivian to maintain its brand identity and separate vehicle marketing strategies. This strategic partnership between Volkswagen and Rivian not only promises to revolutionize the electric vehicle market but also highlights the potential for collaboration between established automakers and innovative startups in Southern California, where Rivian is based. Here’s to hoping these smiling cars will balance out some of the inevitable LA road rage.

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • HeyGen, a startup that allows users to generate videos with AI-created avatars that can lip-sync to provided audio, making it easier for businesses to create engaging video content, raised a $60M Funding Round at a $500M post-money valuation. The deal was led by Benchmark, with Conviction, Thrive Capital, and Bond Capital also stepping up. - learn more
  • Pomerium, a startup that provides a secure access platform that dynamically verifies user identities to ensure authorized access to applications and services, raised a $13.8M Series A round led by Benchmark and including previous investors Bain Capital, Haystack, and SNR. - learn more
  • Etched, a maker of transformer-specialized AI chips, raised a $120M Funding Round. - learn more
  • Rocketlane, a customer onboarding platform, raised a $24M Series B co-led by 8VC, Matrix Partners India, and Nexus Venture Partners. - learn more
  • Sift, a developer of unified observability solutions for hardware sensor data, raised a $17.5M Series A led by GV. - learn more
  • LOST iN, a travel media brand, raised a $4M Seed Round led by MaC Venture Capital. - learn more

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