MILL VALLEY -- Therapydia, Inc., announced that it raised $5 million in venture funding to launch a website that will be "an online community" for physical therapists, which the Mill Valley-based startup said is one of the fastest growing areas of health care professionals.

The website -- -- was  launched on July 26 and targets over 200,000 wellness practitioners, the company said, adding that the venture funding will provide social media tools to physical therapists and to "extend to other areas of the wellness market."

Theraypedia was founded in 2011 by Ben Dehan, who was former founder and chief executive officer of Foodbuzz, an online food company that was acquired in 2010 by Federated Media.

The company hopes to target what is says is a growing niche of physical therapists, citing figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that say physical therapy will grow by 39 percent between 2010 and 2020. It also says advancements in social media, marketing and electronic health records will make it easier for PTs, as they are known, to improve the quality of care for patients.

"Physical therapists are in a unique situation with technology created for other markets about to converge on the wellness market," Mr. Dehan said.

The company says physical therapists can play a role in lowering health care costs. A state senate bill, SB 924, if passed, would allow patients unlimited direct access to physical therapists, meaning they would not need a referral from another physician

Additionally, Therapydia said the 2009 HITECH Act, the part for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that encourages adoption of electronic health records with financial incentives, will "allow PTs and other wellness practitioners to also adopt EHRs and plug in to the data stream both pre- and post-treatment."

“I look forward to the efficiency that Therapydia can bring the PT community through social media applications, business information sharing, professional networking, and much more,” said Steve Thompson, owner and PT at Sport and Spine Therapy of Marin. 

The website hope to improves the quality of care for patients by providing them with access to PTs and wellness content.   The site will eventually allow patients to engage with practitioners over the course of their treatments and into their long-term wellness programs, enabling more meaningful patient outcome and satisfaction measurement, the company said.

Series A investors include Salt Lake City-based Peterson Ventures, San Francisco-based de Anda Capital and Silicon Valley-based Western Technology Investment.

It's the second tech startup in  the North Bay in as many weeks seeking to integrate social media and health care. WEllFX of Petaluma announced that it, too, raised $5 million for its cloud-based social media platform geared toward providers.