SOURCE: Healthline Networks, Inc.

July 16, 2007 09:00 ET

Healthline Raises $21 Million to Drive Expansion of Its Industry-Leading Medically Guided Search Platform

Series B Financing Led by GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund Highlighted by Comprehensive Operating Agreements With Strategic Investors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - July 16, 2007) - Healthline (www.healthline.com), the leading provider of intelligent health information services, today announced that it has secured $21 million in Series B financing led by GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture between GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal. The round also includes strategic financing from Aetna Ventures, LLC, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, U.S. News and World Report, and previous investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and Reed Elsevier Ventures.

Highlighting this financing round is a series of key operating alliances between Healthline and its strategic investors, including an agreement in which Healthline will provide its industry-leading search, navigation and content services to NBC Universal's iVillage Total Health, a consumer health portal.

"At iVillage Total Health, our goal is to be a women's source for total health solutions and support," said Beth Comstock, president, Integrated Media, NBC Universal, who has also joined Healthline's board of directors. "By joining Healthline's intelligent health information technology with our premier online health destination, we have the opportunity to create a superior experience for our users, giving them the most comprehensive, relevant and medically accurate information they need to best manage their family's healthcare."

Healthline will use proceeds from the Series B round to expand research and development, engineering, sales and network services to meet the growing demand from a broad spectrum of blue chip consumer-facing businesses looking to improve the way consumers find, understand and manage health-related information.

"As patients become increasingly engaged in their own healthcare, patients must have access to effective decision support tools," said Chris Stenzel, CEO Avivia Health of Kaiser Permanente. "Kaiser Permanente's investment in Healthline and its innovative medically guided search technology is reflective of our mission to partner with companies that provide consumers with the resources they need to better manage their health, advancing the quality and affordability of healthcare overall."

Since its launch in late 2005, Healthline Networks has built its destination web site, www.healthline.com, into a Top 10 health information site, as measured by comScore MediaMetrix, more than doubling its monthly audience in the past year alone. Healthline has also entered into numerous technology distribution agreements with leading publishers, health plans, search engines and online media companies including Eons, the Health Central Network, Info.com, Locate-a-Doc, Merck, Merriam Webster, OmniMedical Search, PacifiCare, a United Healthcare company, Televox, and U.S. News and World Report.

In a separate announcement also made today, Healthline marks a major expansion of its partner network to include its collaboration with NBC Universal's iVillage Total Health and agreements to power health information services on Aetna, AOL, and Ask.com.

"We encourage our members to become better informed and more active in their healthcare decisions," said Meg McCabe, vice president and head of Aetna's Medical & eHealth Product Business Unit. "Our existing partnership allows us to unite our vast information resources with Healthline's search technology to help our members locate the most relevant healthcare information."

"This strategic financing round is an important milestone for Healthline as we work to become the global leader in health information services," said West Shell III, chairman and chief executive officer of Healthline. "With powerful new partners like Aetna, GE/NBC Universal, Kaiser, U.S. News and World Report and additional backing from our existing investors, Healthline will be able to accelerate our technology innovation which is transforming the way consumers interact with all types of health information."

About Healthline

Healthline Networks offers an innovative approach to meeting the needs of today's health information seeker. The company's unique consumer healthcare taxonomy, the largest of its kind, powers a suite of intelligent health search, navigation and content services. Combining advanced search technology with deep medical expertise, Healthline and its business partners -- a network of trusted destination sites that include publishers, portals, search engines, employers and health plans -- help consumers navigate the complex world of healthcare information, empowering them to make more confident, informed decisions. Headquartered in San Francisco, Healthline is backed by Aetna Ventures, Peacock Equity, JHK Investments LLC, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Reed Elsevier Ventures, U.S. News and World Report, and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

About Aetna Ventures, LLC

Aetna Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Aetna, makes targeted equity investments in companies engaged in developing innovative health care products and technologies. Aetna Ventures seeks to invest in and partner with entrepreneurial companies that share Aetna's goals of advancing affordability and simplicity in health care and enhancing the quality of care. Investments are generally targeted toward companies that focus on health care services, health care IT and medical devices.

About Peacock Equity

Peacock Equity (www.PeacockEquity.com) is a $250 million equity capital fund founded by GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business (www.geMCE.com) and NBC Universal (www.nbcuniversal.com). Introduced in April 2007, the joint venture focuses on companies developing technologies, platforms or business models that are a strategic fit for NBC Universal and have high growth potential. Peacock Equity's capital investments, which include advertising services, digital content and communities, wireless, health and international platforms, range from $3 to $15 million each.

About Kaiser Permanente Ventures

Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Kaiser Permanente, makes investments in medical devices, healthcare services and information technology companies. Kaiser Permanente Ventures is dedicated to partnering with entrepreneurial companies to build innovative and enduring businesses that advance the quality and affordability of health care. Since its inception in 1997, Kaiser Permanente Ventures has invested in more than 25 venture-capital backed companies at all stages of development, and contributed organizational expertise, time and resources to the success of these companies. For additional information please visit www.kpventures.com.

About VantagePoint Venture Partners

VantagePoint Venture Partners provides creative growth strategies and capital to companies transforming global markets. With more than $4.0 billion of capital under management, the Firm invests in technology driven companies at all stages of development. With deep expertise and resources, VantagePoint has established leadership in the CleanTech, Digital Media/Internet & Consumer, Healthcare, Semiconductors and Wireless sectors. The Firm has created a network of thought leaders and strategic partners with some of the world's leading corporations to provide portfolio companies with a unique advantage to accelerate growth. For more information, visit www.vpvp.com.

About Reed Elsevier Ventures

Reed Elsevier Ventures is the venture arm of Reed Elsevier Group plc and was established in 2000. The Venture team is responsible for making investments in innovative companies that have the potential to provide the Group with new technologies, products, services or customers. Reed Elsevier's trusted brands, customer reach and ever increasing digital delivery make the Group an ideal commercial partner for emerging best-of-breed companies seeking market acceleration and a strong relationship with a leading global publisher. The team is comprised of experienced investors in the US and European venture capital markets.

Reed Elsevier Group Plc is a world-leading publisher and information provider. It is owned equally by its two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The parent companies are listed on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges, under the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL. In 2004, Reed Elsevier made adjusted profit before taxation of £1,027 million on turnover of £4,812 million. The group employs 36,000 people, including approximately 20,000 in North America. Operating in the scientific, legal, educational and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high value and flexible information solutions to professional end users, with increasing emphasis on internet delivery.

About U.S. News & World Report

Founded in 1933, the weekly national news magazine U.S. News & World Report is devoted to reporting and to analyzing national and international affairs, politics, business, health, science, technology and social trends. Through its annual editions of America's Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools, America's Best Hospitals, America's Best Health Plans and America's Best Leaders, as well as its News You Can Use® brand, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. The U.S. News website (www.usnews.com) extends that brand promise and delivers the best, most accurate information online, organized in an easily accessible way.

Savvian Advisors were engaged to assist in the Series B strategic financing.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Victoria Steiner
    Manager, Corporate Communications
    vsteiner@healthline.com
    office: 415-281-3110
    cell: 415-370-5804