citybiz+ AI-Powered Bonfire Analytics Raises $1 Million in Pre-Seed Round

Bonfire Analytics, which is developing AI technology to drive leads in healthcare, has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round. The New York startup did not name investors and said it plans to raise more funds in a seed round within the next few weeks.

Founded in 2022 by Duke University engeineers Vinay Nagaraj and Jaya Pokuri, Bonfire Analytics has set out to optimize lead management in healthcare amid what it calls a shift toward B2B. Its technology promises to match ideal customers with providers, with the potential for sales teams to triple efficiency.

“Current sales tools are failing to optimize efficiency especially in healthcare, which is causing representatives to feel frustrated and unmotivated,” said Nagaraj, Bonfire Analytics’ CEO. “This problem is present in every sector of healthcare because the lead generation process is extremely expensive, time consuming, and ultimately cumbersome.”

Nagaraj, who has lived and studied in Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering from Duke University. He also received an MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology.

Pokuri has served as a data scientist at SoFi, an AI-driven investing and wealth management firm, and Edison Software. He received a B.S. degree in Biomedical/Medical Engineering from Duke University.

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Bonfire Analytics explores an opportunity emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic — a shift in healthcare toward B2B, Pokuri said in a blog post in June. This, he argued, is because “the B2C model relies on consumers who, during an economic downturn, are less willing to pay out of pocket for healthcare services.” Additionally, B2C health solutions require a significant investment in advertising costs, making the B2B strategy a safer bet for startups.

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Bonfire Analytics’ platform leverages millions of data points including demographics, disease prevalence, social risk factors and claims information to empower sales representatives. RoundTrip, a healthcare startup focused on transportation of patients, said its qualified leads rose 50% after six weeks of using the Bonfire Analytics platform, while Pilleve, which helps build medical compliance, said Bonfire Analytics’ system “exponentially sped up our search for the right market.”

With the pre-seed funding, Bonfire Analytics plans to hire more staff, both for development as well as sales.