VCs Give Sentillion $18M To Seek Cure For Medical Record Hang-Ups

No one wants their files confused with those of other patients when they visit their doctors, least of all a busy venture capitalist who doesn’t have time to go through the rigamarole of hunting down lost medical information. So it comes as no surprise that Merrill Lynch Ventures, the private equity investment entity of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., led an $18 million Series C cash infusion for Sentillion Inc., a software company focused on the healthcare industry that provides a management solution for doctors and hospitals.

Sentillion’s signature product, the Vergence Context Management Solution, is the “glue between all the applications that doctors need to look at,” said Brian Chee, a partner with Polaris Venture Partners, a two-time investor in the Andover, Mass.-based company. “It’s like an OutLook system for doctors but instead of a calendar and email, it’s a digital dashboard for doctors. It makes work flow easier.”

New investors Dresdner Kleinwort Capital and Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in the U.S., both came on board in the round. Additionally, all of Sentillion’s Series A and Series B investors, including First Consulting Group, Intersouth Partners, Newbury Ventures and St. Paul Venture Capital participated in this round. Sentillion received a post-money valuation in excess of $50 million.

Besides having a strong product, Sentillion’s target market is stable. “People aren’t going to get sick less because times are bad and efficiency is the biggest challenge in hospitals,” Chee said.

The company, which already boasts a 40-client roster and was initially only looking for $10 million, will use the fresh capital to expand its marketing efforts in the healthcare market space and add some sales personnel to its current staff of 45.

“We were thinking we would only do $10 million but because the market was so receptive, we decided to take the extra cash,” said Marybeth Borgwing, Sentillion’s chief financial officer.

Borgwing went on to say that Sentillion could become profitable by the end of 2002, but may ultimately take a bit longer to get there because it has plans to expand into other markets.

“We’re just ramping up the organization so it can go into larger markets. This technology can cross several industries. It’s broader than we originally thought,” Chee said.

What’s more, Borgwing said she feels the current economic conditions work in Sentillion’s favor. “The down market is a breath of fresh air for a stable product like ours, which isn’t sexy but is necessary.”