Halifax- and Toronto-based Curv Health has raised a $5.1 million seed round led by Toronto’s iGan Partners and Halifax's Build Ventures to develop a full-stack telehealth system for employers and insurance companies.

The telehealth project represents a new direction for Curv, which originally aimed to use machine-learning to analyze video of people in motion, then develop fitness routines to prevent or cure injuries.

In addition to iGan and Build, the capital raise also included backing from Sweden’s Kale Investment Fund and returning investors Globalive Capital and NewFund Capital.

“At the core of the Curv platform are a suite of digital tools that act as the “connective tissue” between service providers and clients. These tools enable new care pathways that use automation to reduce the resources needed to help produce optimal outcomes,” said Curv CEO Shea Balish in a press release.

“In parallel, these efficient care pathways help independent health providers rapidly grow their practice and revenue.”

Curv said in its press release that it plans to replace healthcare “gatekeepers” with digital tools to reduce costs and produce better health outcomes by offering better access to services. The platform will allow users to seek advice from physiotherapists, psychotherapists, counselors, dietitians and certified educators. 

Users will also have access to a dedicated “health concierge,” who will help them navigate accessing medical services.

Curv plans to use the $5.1 million mostly to recruit more staff.

Its computer-vision fitness business, meanwhile, has been shown to increase at-home compliance with doctor-ordered medical treatments to about 50 percent — about twice the usual rate.

In 2020, Curv participated in the inaugural Canadian cohort of Google for Startups Canada -- a three-month virtual accelerator targeting businesses in the seed and series A funding stages.

At the time, Balish said that COVID-19 had helped create new opportunities for Curv to market itself; many physiotherapy patients who would have previously visited clinics or hospitals for treatment could no longer safely do so, making Curv’s AI-generated workout plans a potentially appealing substitute.