Circulo, Ohio Insurance Tech Startup Raises $50 Million

By Bruce Harpham Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Medicare has been a feature of the US healthcare system for decades. Yet, Ohio insurance tech startup business Circulo has found a way to enhance Medicaid.

The startup company will use automation and AI technology to service over six hundred hospitals that use Olive technology. Olive is an AI company based in Ohio that focuses on healthcare. Sean Lane serves as the CEO of Olive and Circulo, so both companies are likely to collaborate closely.

A man completing medical forms on a tablet.

Circulo Will Rely on Olive

Circulo’s growth strategy will rely on Olive’s existing business relationships and technology as a new company. Olive uses AI to simplify payment processing and related activities in healthcare. The insurance tech business also opens its AI technology to third parties through a developer program.

Hospitals and health care organizations using Olive are reducing their business workload. Rosecrance started using Olive in 2020 to improve productivity by automating the processing of 90,000 annual verifications checks. Established in 1916, Rosecrance operates sixty substance abuse and mental health facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. A Mid-Atlantic hospital system has used Olive to achieve $340,000 in cost savings in less than a month using AI.

Investors Financing Circulo’s Growth

The startup company has obtained funding from several investors in 2021. Investors in the business include Drive Capital, General Catalyst, Oak HC/FT, and SVB Capital.

Drive Capital, founded in 2013, has an investors portfolio that includes ApplyBoard (a startup business that supports study abroad activities), Duolingo (a language learning app business), and DisruptOps (a cloud infrastructure management app business). "We're excited to invest in Circulo's vision for Medicaid and to help create another important insurance company from the ground up here in Columbus," commented Chris Olsen, co-founder of Drive Capital, in a press release.

The Team Behind the Startup

Circulo has seven employees as of early March 2021. The insurance tech startup company has recruited employees with extensive experience in different areas of healthcare. Shahid Alam, who heads automation at Circulo, has significant experience in the healthcare industry, including roles at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The Chief Actuary of Circulo, Steven Jones, was previously Head of Actuarial at Clover Health (a company traded on the NASDAQ as CLOV). The Head of Provider Experience, Sally Poblete, has previous experience at Wellthie (an employee benefits management company) and Anthem (a national health insurance company). Jeff Grahling, President at Circulo Health, previously served as CEO of Centene, a New Hampshire health plan with thousands of Medicaid members.

Medicare and Medicaid — a Growing Startup Opportunity

Medicare and Medicaid (both established in 1965) were long-established programs that predate digital technology. At the same time, these programs have multi-billion dollar budgets. That is why we see ikaSystems (a startup company acquired by Blue Cross Blue Shield), Nuna (a startup business that tracks Medicaid data), and BeneStream (a startup business acquired by the Workers Benefit Fund that helps to manage a variety of government benefits including Medicaid) entering the space.

About the Author


Headshot of Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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