Bezos, Benioff Back Health-care Web 2.0 Startup

A New York-based startup called ZocDoc that provides people with a way to schedule health-care appointments online got some backing from two industry heavy-hitters Wednesday -- Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos and Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff.

ZocDoc did not disclose the exact amount it is receiving from Bezos and Benioff, but said it is on top of US$3 million in Series A funding, led by Khosla Ventures, it unveiled last month. Bezos is CEO and founder of Amazon, and Benioff is CEO and founder of Salesforce.com.

Formed a year ago, ZocDoc provides a Web site for letting people in New York make health-care appointments with doctors and dentists. The site offers information about practitioners and ways for people to rate them, among other services.

ZocDoc also offers an application on Facebook that lets users book health-care appointments through the social-networking site.

Health care is an area where technology vendors and startups alike are investing to help make navigating the complex U.S. system easier for patients. Microsoft, for example, revamped its health-care software a couple of years ago to try to bridge the gap between health-care providers, insurance providers and health-care consumers. The company has been piloting programs with large health-care providers such as Kaiser-Permanente to try to simplify appointment-scheduling, billing and the like.

ZocDoc said it is growing its consumer and practitioner base by an average of 50 percent per month as it adds health-care specialists and extends its geographic reach. ZocDoc will use its investment for expansion efforts into Connecticut and New Jersey that are currently underway, said co-founder and CEO Cyrus Massoumi.

ZocDoc plans to extend its service to another major metropolitan area in the next 12 months; San Francisco and Washington are currently being considered as front runners, he added.

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