We are not the typical scoop-driven health 2.0 news portal, but once in a while we are happy to share some exciting news for startups we apreciate. In this case we’ve just received a press release saying that HealthTap, which we’ve dubbed as a “a giant leap for healthcare“, is receiving the staggering amount of $11 million in a series A round (which basically means it’s the first money not coming from private, but institutional investors such as venture capital firms, but in this case HealthTap already received such funding). Even for the US, this is a lot of money for a service at such an early stage without any obvious – at least to us – business model live on the site. But the team behind HealthTap is great and so is the traction the startup is seeing at the moment. They are claiming that 6.000 physicians and 500 healthcare insitutions , who are verified by the site, have signed up to the site and actively use it. It remains unknown (at least to us – again) if those physicians are being paid for their answers (and time) or if it’s reputation and goodwill. This part of the press release might gives us a glimpse  where the service is heading at:

All physicians who participate on HealthTap undergo rigorous background checks verifying their medical licenses and good standing.  Approved physicians receive a free Virtual Practice from which they can lead the online health conversation, and the creation of quality health content.  Through their Virtual Practice, physicians answer user questions, endorse answers written by other physicians, and help people find the best health information, while creating connections for in-person care.

Behind the cuddly and bright interface there’s actually a lot of technology in the works. Adding diseases, drugs and blood parameters deserves powerful taxonomies in the background and HealthTap is doing a really good job, so that keeping your health profile doesn’t bother, but rather invites you to fill it out.

The money will primarly be spent on building the community and attracting physicians. A service like HealthTap in Europe is at its core hard to imagine, since it’ll be a lot harder to adopt physicians to use it. If HealthTap moving more into the “virtual office” direction, then it could clearly become a hub where patients and physicians can interact through a web application (which somehow reminds us of the initial idea of HelloHealth by Jay Parkinson).

The investors have some nice Silicon Valley-esque names and are Mayfield Fund, Mohr Dawidow Ventures (who also have a stake in Massive Health by the way) and Innovation Endevaours (which is the investment vehicle of Google’s Eric Schmidt).

There’s also a nice image video you might want to check out.

Welcome to HealthTap from HealthTap on Vimeo.