Data visualization venture moves HQ here from D.C. area

HealthStream takes minority stake after CEO Frist's 'very enthusiastic' wooing

A company specializing in building data visualization tools — what it calls “the BMWs of the information economy” — has relocated its headquarters and top executives to Nashville with the goal of tapping deeper into the region’s health care sector.

As part of Juice Analytics’ move, local health care technology and education company HealthStream has taken a small equity stake in the nine-year-old company, which now has about 10 employees here, in the Washington, D.C. area and Atlanta as well as some contract workers in Romania.

Juice Analytics co-founder and CEO Zach Gemignani (pictured here) said his team first heard from HealthStream via former General Counsel Kevin O’Hara, who is now CEO of Syus, which uses analytics tools to improve hospital surgery staffing (and is also a Juice client). From there, the companies began working together as Juice refined its products and the business community’s expectations for data analysis and visualization rose well beyond first-generation dashboards.

With the rise of mobile devices sporting slick-looking applications, Gemignani said Juice and its peers needed to develop better ways of getting useful business intelligence to executives and managers. Taking a cue from telecommunications, he calls that process “the last mile of data.”

“You can choke people with data,” Gemignani said. “The question we ask is, ‘What actions would you take if you had better access to that data?’”

Gemignani added that he and HealthStream CEO Bobby Frist regularly talked about deepening their cooperation. Those conversations took a step forward when he received a text message while at a flag football game. Frist was asking about the possibility of flat out moving Juice to Middle Tennessee.

“Bobby Frist is a pretty compelling individual,” Gemignani chuckled in describing the talks and an exploratory trip to Music City that followed this spring. “He was very enthusiastic about the prospect of us moving here.”

The local members of the Juice team recently set up shop in one of the conference rooms at HealthStream’s Cummins Station headquarters and are working with a number of HealthStream units, including the company’s own analytics staffers, to integrate their knowledge with existing and new initiatives.

The parties are not disclosing terms of HealthStream's investment but Associate Vice President of Investor Relations and Communications Mollie Condra said the company believes “strongly in the potential” of Juice to bring value to HealthStream customers by gleaning insights from the masses of data generated by its more than 3 million users.

“About 60 percent of U.S. hospitals are on our system,” Condra said. “We want to make sure we present to them the data they generate in a way that is actionable.”

Gemignani is hoping to piggyback on Juice’s work with HealthStream to build out the firm’s health care base — a timely move as clinical data looks to become ever more tied to reimbursements via various quality measurements. Beyond health care, Juice’s client base also includes AutoTrader, The Coca-Cola Co., United Health Group and Yahoo.