Cleveland Startup Axuall Inc. Closes $3 Million Round of Seed Financing

This article originally appeared in Crain’s Cleveland, Sept. 25, 2019

Axuall Inc., a Cleveland startup that’s developing a blockchain-based digital network for verifying identity, credentials and authenticity in real time, announced on Wednesday, Sept. 25, that it has closed a $3 million seed financing round.

The lead investor in the round was nonprofit business accelerator and investor JumpStart Inc. of Cleveland. Also participating were Zapis Capital GroupM25North Coast Angel FundKettledrum Ventures and Drummond Road Capital.

Specific terms of the investments were not disclosed.

Axuall said in a news release that the money “will be used to hire additional software engineering and product personnel, conduct several large-scale pilots, develop the company’s partner network and complete research and development for Axuall’s commercial release.” The company, founded last December, has six employees. Its website lists open positions for a systems engineer and a front-end application engineer.

The company’s CEO is Charlie Lougheed, who knows something about building a successful startup. Lougheed co-founded Explorys, a Cleveland-based health care big data and analytics company that was bought by IBM in 2015.

“Axuall has been designed from the start to address a multibillion-dollar need to meet the demand for new delivery channels, products and services in health care and other industries where proof matters,” Lougheed said in a statement. “We chose health care as our first market because it faces considerable challenges related to increasing practitioner shortages, delivery channel expansion and the growing demands of an aging population. Together, these challenges drive the urgency to reduce the administrative burden on its practitioners, reduce delays in hiring, accelerate revenue capture and improve access to care.”ADVERTISING

One company that Axuall already is working with is Hyr Medical, a pre-seed health care technology startup that has created an online platform for physician freelancing in an effort to deliver a more efficient, transparent, cost-effective way to connect doctors to places to practice. (Go here to read a Sept. 8 profile of Hyr by Crain’s health care reporter Lydia Coutr√©.)

Rem Harris, JumpStart’s senior partner in charge of investing, said in a statement, “We expect the need to verify facts quickly and efficiently to increase as organizations grow their offerings and expand their workforce. Axuall’s development of a real-time network and marketplace for verified facts will provide much-needed capabilities to the market.”

Axuall says its technology “enables health care providers to request and receive digitally signed credentials from primary sources that they can securely share with employers, health systems and insurance plans.” The Axuall network “proactively monitors conditional events, such as expirations and dependencies, allowing practitioners to address issues the moment they arise,” according to the company, which means “credentials will always be up-to-date, ready to present and aligned with standards.” That “eliminates the need for health systems to request redundant information, dramatically shortening the time it takes to hire, privilege, enroll and activate practitioners,” the company says.