Accolade CEO Rajeev Singh can’t imagine a more pertinent time to be taking his health care technology company public.
Despite concerns that surging coronavirus cases might soon weaken investor appetites, Singh watched Thursday as the company — which splits its headquarters between Seattle and Pennsylvania — debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market with its shares soaring 35%, closing at $29.70. Accolade, listed under the ACCD ticker symbol, raised $220 million through an initial public offering of 10 million shares at $22 each — set above analysts’ estimated range of $19 to $21.
The company uses technology to manage health care benefits for 1.7 million employees.
Singh says Accolade, valued at $1.2 billion, is “attempting critical disruption in a system that needs disrupting” toward better treatment of consumers. And he believes logistical difficulties caused by the pandemic have only reinforced how badly people need help navigating their health care.
“Right now, the health care landscape is more complicated than it’s ever been,’’ Singh said after Thursday’s closing bell. “It’s more difficult to find the care that you need. It’s more difficult to get to the bright spot and understand that this is the best decision to make.
“And so, in that way our value proposition is particularly more significant today.’’
Accolade’s 1,200 employees took part in a Thursday morning Zoom call to ceremoniously ring the Nasdaq’s opening bell by watching a prerecorded message from Singh played on the Nasdaq MarketSite building’s outdoor video board in Times Square in New York.
Employers pay Accolade a subscription fee based on their employee counts in hopes the streamlined benefits lead to better health care decisions and reduced company costs. Employees receive an Accolade phone number and computer portal through which all medical questions can be addressed, using technology including machine learning and mobile applications to monitor health care progress and find solutions for improved access.
“We go to employers and offer their employees and their families a single place to go for any health care event or question they might have,” Singh said. “Our people build relationships with those employees and their families. We then guide them to our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral health specialists and help them on their clinical journeys.”
The company was founded in 2007 by Michael Cline and Tom Spann and based in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. Spann later recruited Singh, a former Concur executive, to replace him as outgoing CEO and launch the Seattle headquarters in 2015.
Singh said Accolade will use the money raised through the IPO to invest in new technologies and deliver more “critical programs that add value” in order to reach more customers.
“We want to help not the 1.7 million people that we help today,” he said. “We want to help 170 million people. Or 330 million — every person in the United States.”