A Year Like This One, And A Promise For Future Years
December prompts reflection. Reflecting on 2020, a year that has been unlike any other, I find myself thinking back even further, to the first seedlings of ConsejoSano. I think back and realize how much I didn’t know I didn’t know. But even then, I knew one truth that hasn’t changed: there isn’t enough trust between people and their healthcare.
In the beginning, ConsejoSano connected Spanish speakers in the U.S. with Spanish speaking doctors. Because something as simple as talking to a doctor who shares your language can deter an E.R. visit. Today ConsejoSano is so much more: engaging millions of people across the country in 25+ languages, using tailored content created with insights from cultural decision drivers and probable life metrics. We’ve built a beautiful solution that does a beautiful thing: we use technology and compassion to build trust.
No other company out there can do what we do at the scale that we can do it. And I’ll be so bold as to say that there’s no team more passionate about building equity for underserved communities than the ConsejoSano team. As I look back on this past year in particular, I’m deeply grateful for the passion and commitment of our team. COVID-19 drew a groundswell of compassion from every part of our team, an imperative that we do everything within our power to reach every single person that we could reach.
People needed information about COVID and how to protect themselves and their loved ones. We sent messages in every language we offered, in some cases for free. Our outbound engagement grew 10x in just over a month, our tech team working day and night to ensure that we could keep up with the exponential message volume while our engagement team poured care and compassion into each message, insisting that not just the language but each word be right. I’ve never been more proud of any team that I’ve ever worked with.
COVID-19 crystallized the mission of our company: ConsejoSano exists to build trust between patients and their healthcare. Without trust, there can be no equity. Our mission was reinforced as the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction and more data about the disparities of COVID-19 (the “great revealer,” as I like to call it) came to light. America finally began to have an honest conversation about race and racism. In a historic moment, both the President- and Vice President-Elect mentioned systemic racism in their acceptance speeches.
Systemic racism, historical trauma, lifetimes of being underserved and excluded: the trust that communities of color have in the American Healthcare system is at an all time low at the very moment in which we need trust the most. After nine months of watching loved ones fall ill and die from COVID-19, Covax distribution has begun. What should be a time of celebration is instead filled with uncertainty: 26% of Americans are unwilling to be vaccinated, 27% are unsure. In communities of color, 40% of Black and 26% of Latinx Americans would refuse, another 37% of Blacks and 41% of Latinx are unsure.
And if we don’t convince enough people to receive the vaccine, we’ll fail. COVID-19 spread will continue, and more people will die. And that is unacceptable.
The time for ConsejoSano is now. With the support of many investors from our Series A (Lead Investor 7Wire Ventures, Tufts Health Plan, Impact Engine, Michael Brownrigg, and Wanxiang America), ConsejoSano was able to thrive as the world changed. In September, we received our first new investment from The American Heart Association/Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund. At the same time, our Series B Lead Investor, Magnetic Ventures (helmed by the incredible Christine Aylward) became a center of gravity, pulling our other new investors (DaVita Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, and NBA All-Star Victor Odalipo) into orbit. When it was all said and done, the round was oversubscribed at $17 million total. I’m grateful for each and every investor, new and old, who has been willing to put their money behind our mission.
Filing the Form D was a celebration for our team, and a promise to the people we serve today and the people we’ll serve tomorrow: we promise to partner with your doctors, your health plans, your local governments and health systems. We promise to use our partnership to help them understand you better so they can provide the care that you deserve. We promise to help them earn your trust, and to help them be a partner who deserves your trust.