Color, a technology-powered U.S. public health disruptor, announced that it has raised $167 million in a Series D venture capital financing round. The latest investment round brings Color to $278 million in total funding, and a valuation of $1.5 billion.

Color plans to use the proceeds to expand its buildout of public health technology and infrastructure for governments, employers, and other institutions that serve large populations.

The Series D round was led by Cambridge, Massachusetts early stage VC firm General Catalyst, along with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., with participation from Greenwich, Connecticut hedge fund Viking Global Investors and others.

Building the rails

“We are building the rails for a national technology-based public health infrastructure,” Color CEO Othman Laraki said in an official statement. “The inability to deliver basic healthcare services during the biggest health crisis of our lifetime is a direct consequence of the lack of a public health delivery model.

“Public health does not only mean a government-funded model. A modern public health infrastructure should enable all of the stakeholders in the health of large populations—including governments, employers, and schools—to support the essential health needs of the people they serve. By investing in the technology that ensures easy and affordable access to health care, we’re creating the infrastructure that will serve us for decades to come.”

Color’s software is designed to integrate with any existing public health testing infrastructure. This includes large-scale laboratories as well as community-led testing sites like churches, schools, and local facilities. Individuals can show up at a collection site, provide a quick sample, and receive results within two days on their phone or computer, without being required to create a new account or submit an email address to get tested for covid-19. This, in turn, supports broader access to testing for traditionally underserved populations.

Color has partnered with public and private institutions including City of San Francisco, the Teamsters Union, the National Institutes of Health, Salesforce, the State of California, and United Airlines, to whom it has made its infrastructure and software available so that large populations can receive essential healthcare services directly where they live or work. Besides covid testing, Color also provides telehealth services for preventive health (such as genetic testing and counseling) and infectious disease management.

Since the onset of covid-19, Color has partnered with more than 100 major employers and universities to provide critical testing programs. Color’s software is currently powering the State of California’s efforts with PerkinElmer to process up to 150,000 COVID-19 tests daily. That partnership, announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom in late October, also marked the first example of a laboratory reporting public health data to the California Covid-19 Reporting System (CCRS).

Additionally, Color’s partnership with the City of San Francisco—the CityTestSF program—has helped that city maintain one of the highest per-capita covid-19 testing rates in the United States.

Color has also worked with federally qualified health centers in Alameda County and in San Francisco’s Mission District, together with the Latino Task Force, to reach communities disproportionately impacted by covid-19. The company also worked with California’s Marin County, to provide testing for teachers ahead of the safe reopening of area schools last fall.

Color is currently rolling out vaccine delivery systems to state and local governments, employers, and higher education institutions.

“The opportunity to design the future of public health through technology cannot be overstated,” said Hemant Taneja, Managing Director at lead investor General Catalyst. “Color understands that often, challenges in healthcare aren’t scientific or medical in nature, but rather due to access barriers. The hyper-scaling of access is perhaps the most impactful function of digital technology – and the fact that Color approaches healthcare from this vantage point makes it among the most important companies in the industry.”

Color’s moment

“This is an important moment for Color,” said Chief Commercial Officer Caroline Savello. “We already have incredible reach and impact, serving millions across the country this past year alone. The public health crisis in 2020 underscored the urgent need to make healthcare services convenient and cost-effective for every community. Color is building the technology framework that enables millions of people to access these essential services outside of the traditional health systems.”

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