🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Walnut
 ✍️ Notes From The Editors  
We’re extremely excited to announce our first-ever in-person Unicorner event! As part of LA Tech Week 2022, we will be hosting a founder panel and networking event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Aug. 16 with a number of our previously covered companies that are based in LA (including Subject, Elude, Ruth Health, Jurny, Sugar, and SoLo Funds). We already have over 250 people registered, but we’re giving priority acceptance to existing Unicorner readers—after signing up, respond to this email with your registration details so we can make a note! Register here.
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 - Arek and Ethan 🦄
Lending platform for health care bills
Walnut offers a “healthcare now, pay later” system by paying the medical bills of individuals and allowing them to pay those bills back on a monthly payment plan. Repayment schedules are customized on a per-case basis (generally 3, 6, or 12 months), with no extra fees charged by Walnut for using its service. Employers can also opt into offering Walnut to employees as an employment benefit and have medical bills automatically deducted from paychecks.
🔗 Check them out: hellowalnut.com
💰 Business Model
Walnut charges interest on select loans and does not charge providers or individuals any additional fees.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Raised total $110 million Series A ($100 million debt financing by ClearHaven Capital and $10 million equity financing) with equity round investors like Weekend Fund, Newark Venture Partners, Muse Capital, Gradient Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Company Ventures, CityRock Venture Partners, Banana Capital, AngelList Talent, and Afore Capital
  • Per company claims in May, revenue grew 50% every month between December 2021 and May 2022
👫 Founders
  • Roshan Patel, CEO: Currently Venture Partner @ H/L Ventures; Previously Associate @ Space Capital, Finance MS @ Vanderbilt, Mathematics BS @ George Washington University
  • Yash Joshi, CTO: Previously SWE @ Charles Schwab, SWE @ Motif Investing, Electrical and Computer Engineering @ Ohio State University
🔮 Our Analysis
It’s no surprise that out-of-pocket health care costs can be challenging to manage, especially for those with limited insurance or for procedures that generally aren’t covered. With traditional lending services often inaccessible to many for health care purposes, unexpected health care bills lead to the bankruptcy of hundreds of thousands of families each year. Walnut is looking to address this by creating an easier way to pay—an accessible lending service that allows individuals to take care of medical bills through flexible monthly installments. Walnut checks a number of factors when deciding who to approve for a loan, including credit scores, previous payment history, and the user’s Walnut account age. Walnut directly negotiates terms with health care providers and offers 3, 6, and 12-month windows for bill repayment (for larger bills, they offer up to 48 months). Walnut is one of many players in the buy now, pay later space (a notable example is nate, a company we covered in 2021, which now offers users the ability to pay for purchases later). While its recent $100 million debt financing will enable more loans to be distributed, time will tell whether its business model will sustain itself, especially as we navigate this market downturn. Overall, however, we’re very excited by Walnut’s core mission and plan to improve financial health care accessibility.
📚 Further Reading
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🎁 Bonus Content!
The past few months have felt fraught with upsetting news across the world. We wanted to share a more recent newsletter we've come across: Weekly Dose of Optimism, written by the legendary Packy McCormick as part of his ongoing Substack publication, Not Boring. This week, he highlights some positive world news, including how The Ocean Cleanup removed 100,000 kg of plastic from the ocean over the span of a year.
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