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WeCounsel relocates headquarters to Franklin from Chattanooga
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CEO Sam Johnson

WeCounsel Solutions, creator of the VisuWell telehealth technology platform, has relocated its headquarters to Franklin from Chattanooga, said Sam Johnson, who is the startup's CEO and a longtime Franklin resident.

VisuWell technology enables providers of healthcare and related services to use tech-enabled "virtual" patient encounters to augment their care-delivery models.

Though there is growing awareness of the impact of telehealth sessions, Johnson said he believes VisuWell "is much more applicable to healthcare in general" than many people realize. Reinforcing that point, he noted that provider organizations are increasingly intent on using telehealth to build efficient and effective networks with complementary organizations in both acute and post-acute segments of the healthcare delivery system.

Favorable changes in Medicare reimbursement for virtual care are among factors contributing to a surge in adoption of virtual-care technologies and resources, he said.

While there are telehealth opportunities at many points in the care-delivery continuum, Johnson said he is particularly encouraged by prospects for adoption by urgent-care chains, rural primary care providers, large medical practices, middle-tier hospitals, and in emergency departments and emergency rooms.

Johnson told Business Williamson that his venture capital-backed company has a workforce of nearly two-dozen, with most of its employees operating from either its offices at 1550 McEwen in Franklin or its Chattanooga office. With growth projections clearly in mind, Johnson noted that he currently carries responsibilities of both CEO and Chief Growth Officer, but he is soon likely to hand one of those portfolios to a new C-level.

Asked about competitors in VisuWell's sector, Johnson mentioned several young companies, including Reston-based Avizia Inc., Scottsdale-based GlobalMed (GlobalMedia Group), and Glendale, Calif.-based SnapMD Inc.

A brief online search shows other startup and growth-stage entrants, including TripleCare (Long Island) and Nashville-based Satchel Health, the latter a recipient of investment from Angel investors associated with Nuecura Partners, in Nashville.

Johnson also acknowledged such larger entrants as New York-based Teladoc Inc., an acquisitive company that has, according to Crunchbase, raised more than $170 million in venture capital. It's worth noting here that Nashville's Bill Frist M.D., who among other distinctions is a partner in VC Cressey & Co. and in Frist Cressey Ventures, as well as being the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, is a member of the Teladoc board of directors, according to that company's Web site.

Johnson confirmed that WeCounsel recently completed a capital raise from among existing shareholders. He did not disclose the size of that raise, which was dubbed a Series A-1; but, he noted that there were no investor exits via the round.

The company previously conducted Seed and Series A raises totaling an aggregate $4.5 million.

WeCounsel is likely to consider a Series B capital raise in a year or two. No target amount has yet been set for that raise, said Johnson.

Though the company has no active plans to acquire an existing business or technology, future acquisitions are not ruled out, the CEO added.

The company's Nashville-based legal advisors include attorneys with the Nelson Mullins, who advise on securities matters; and, intellectual property attorneys with Patterson. It banks with Bank of America and relies on Brentwood-based LBMC for information technology (IT) services.

The company's rebranding as VisuWell was managed in house by Marketing Director Matt Hodges, with some Web and design contractors, said Johnson. The 7-year- old company receives communications services from staff of Q Strategies LLC, the Chattanooga PR and public affairs firm founded by Tom Griscom, who is a former editor and publisher of the Times Free Press and an advisor to Republican elected officials.

Johnson said he continues to scout for healthcare-sector advisors who might serve on WeCounsel's planned advisory board or undertake assignments for the company.

The company's institutional owners include Longmeadow Capital Partners, Stamford, Conn.; Point Judith Capital (PJC), Boston; and, a specialty finance company, CVH Holdings (OTC:CVHL), based in Newport Beach, Calif.

The chairman of WeCounsel's board of directors is Andrew "Andy" Zaback, who is a managing member of Longmeadow.

WeCounsel was founded in Chattanooga in 2011 by former CEO Harrison Tyner, who, according to his LinkedIn, became the company's chief strategy officer upon Johnson's appointment as CEO in August 2017. Tyner's role is focused on product management, Johnson said during an interview last week.

Johnson's past experience has included founding, leading and successfully exiting Nashville startup Relatient, a patient outreach and messaging platform.

Johnson confirmed that Relatient previously received services from local incubator Powered Health LLC, which is led by founder-owner Jim Sohr.

Very early in his career, according to his LinkedIn, Johnson held a sales role in Franklin-based AIM Healthcare, which was founded and led by Sohr until that company's 2009 sale to Ingenix (now Optum, UnitedHealth). His LinkedIn profile is here.

Johnson, his wife and their school-age children reside in Franklin. The 43-year- old CEO said he has lived here 23 years and is a native of Gadsden, Ala. ###

. This story by Milt Capps originally appeared on BusinessWilliamson.com

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Tags: Andy Zaback, BankofAmerica, Capital Partners, CVH Holdings, Frist Cressey, Frist Cressey Ventures, Jim Sohr, LBMC, Nelson Mullins, Point Judith Capital, PoweredHealth, Relatient, Sam Johnson, telemedicine, VisuWell, WeCounsel

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