Utah health care payment innovator Waystar crushes IPO with $1B raise

Waystar CEO Matthew Hawkins, center, gathers with employees on June 6 at the NASDAQ exchange in New York City. The company was there to mark its initial public stock offering, which raised nearly $1 billion for the health care payment software innovator based in Lehi.

Waystar CEO Matthew Hawkins, center, gathers with employees on June 6 at the NASDAQ exchange in New York City. The company was there to mark its initial public stock offering, which raised nearly $1 billion for the health care payment software innovator based in Lehi. (Vanja Savic, NASDAQ, Inc.)


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LEHI — Waystar, the Lehi-based innovator of a health care payment platform, just launched one of the biggest initial public offerings of the year, raising nearly $970 million on the sale of some 45 million shares of its newly issued stock.

Waystar stock, trading on the NASDAQ exchange under the "WAY" ticker symbol, earned an IPO price of $21.50 per share before entering the market on June 7. The pricing gave Waystar a valuation of nearly $3.7 billion at the time. At the end of regular trading on Tuesday, Waystar stock was moving at $21.00 per share. NASDAQ was closed on Wednesday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday. If underwriter options for 6.75 million additional shares are exercised, Waystar's total newly raised capital could exceed $1 billion.

In a Deseret News interview, Waystar CEO Matthew Hawkins said U.S. health care providers are processing some $4 trillion in billings each year and many are still utilizing antiquated systems that have led to massive waste, estimated to be around $750 billion every year. Hawkins said the cloud-based Waystar platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to optimize billing and payment processes that "help providers interact elegantly with their patients."

"Our mission is to simplify health care payments ... and focus on patients instead of how (providers) are going to get paid," Hawkins said. "What we are doing is disrupting a status quo that's existed for the last 30 years."

Hawkins said Waystar mediates transactions between providers, insurers and patients and is designed to reduce errors, optimize efficiencies and alleviate some of the transactional stresses that face patients, like providing accurate, early estimates for out-of-pocket expenses, a critical component in a U.S. health insurance system that is increasingly utilizing high-deductible programs.

"Patients themselves feel the burden and they want modernization," Hawkins said. "Many patients are now participating in high-deduction insurance programs to find affordability. As they pay more and more out-of-pocket expenses, we bring humanity to the process, leveraging modern, cloud-based software and the power of artificial intelligence to streamline the experience."

Waystar CEO Matthew Hawkins, center, gathers with employees on June 6 at the NASDAQ exchange in New York City.
Waystar CEO Matthew Hawkins, center, gathers with employees on June 6 at the NASDAQ exchange in New York City. (Photo: Vanja Savic)

Waystar was launched following the merger of two other payment companies, Navicure and ZirMed, in 2017 and opened a co-headquarters in Lehi in 2020 after qualifying for a Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (now known as the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity) post-performance tax incentive package worth about $400,000 over seven years.

For the quarter ending March 31, Waystar generated revenue of $224.8 million, up 18% from $191.1 million in the same period last year, per a report by CNBC. Waystar reported a net loss of $15.9 million for the quarter compared with $10.6 million a year ago.

Hawkins said Waystar will put its new capital to work in retiring outstanding debt as it works to expand both its products and client list in a market he says is generating $15 billion in addressable billings. Waystar's current client list numbers over 30,000, according to the company and has mediated transactions involving 50% of all U.S. health care patients.

Waystar operates additional offices in Louisville and Atlanta but Hawkins, a Utah native, said the Beehive State has "been a great place to do business."

"I think there's something in the water or the air here. Or maybe it's the snow," Hawkins said. "We're doing something here that is unique in Utah."

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