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A look at what’s behind today's Minnesota business headlines.

Health-tech firm Revel adds two execs from RedBrick

Two former RedBrick Health executives, including a founder in 2006, have joined another Minneapolis-based health-technology firm, Revel, which recently also raised capital.
Health IT, including companies like Revel and RedBrick, which focus on digital-wellness  programs to get employees and insureds doing what they should to stay healthy, have attracted hundreds of millions nationally in capital over the last 15 years in the elusive quest to suppress runaway health care costs.
Kurt Cegielski, a founder of  RedBrick in 2006, joined Revel as senior vice president of client success. Ryan Schoenecker, also a former RedBrick executive, joined Revel as head of sales and marketing.    
“As Revel grows, we’re adding infrastructure at the executive level to maintain alignment to our overall strategy and support the Revel teams working directly with our customers,” said CEO Jeff Fritz. “Both Kurt and Ryan bring significant experience within the healthcare industry as well as strong leadership acumen.” 
RedBrick, which raised at least $75 million in venture capital between 2006 and 2013 and grown to 150-plus people, sold this year to the much larger Rhode Island-based Virgin Pulse, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, for an unspecified amount. 
In late 2017, Revel, a software firm that contracts with insurers, received a $17 million investment from Minneapolis-based TT Capital Partners.
Revel CEO Fritz, 49, a veteran health-technology executive, has doubled employment to 67 this year. The fast-growing, North Loop-based firm is “now managing health action programs for three of the four largest healthcare companies in the United States.''
One is believed to be Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth.
Insurers hire Revel to use technology to prompt people to get their checkups, cancer screenings or take at-home steps to maintain or improve acute conditions or general health.

Sleep Number tops JD Power rankings

Sleep Number has once again topped JD Power’s Mattress Satisfaction Rankings. It’s the third time in four rankings that Sleep Number has been rated highest by consumers.

The Minneapolis-based company scored  867 on JD Power’s 1,000 point scale. Their score was 19 points above second place Tempur-Pedic’s  848 and 27 points above the industry average.

JD Power, the consumer products rating and review group that’s best known for its car reports, has been rating the mattress industry the past four years.

  “This award is a result of our teams’ uncompromising focus on delivering effortless, life-changing sleep,” said Sleep Number’s president and CEO, Shelly Ibach, in a statement.

The mattress industry has seen an influx of new manufacturers recently and most have come from mattresses priced under $1,000 and sold online. The JD Power report ranked six traditional mattress makers.

 “Although price is a big reason people are choosing their mattress brand, it remains imperative that the product itself remains a priority,” said Greg Truex, Managing Director at J.D. Power in a release on the rankings. “Comfort of the mattress is the biggest driver of satisfaction and, if the issues with support and durability remain, manufacturers will only see a continued decline in satisfaction.”

Sleep Number has differentiated itself from the makers of commodity mattress through the technology of its 360 Smart Bed and its vertical manufacturing and distribution model. By the end of the third quarter this year all of Sleep Number’s more than 560 stores were selling the full lineup of its new 360 Smart Bed.

The 360 Smart Beds have sensors that allow the mattress to dynamically adjusts to persons movement throughout the night and the company’s Sleep IQ technology allows users to track the quality of their sleep each night.

Consumers were asked to consider seven categories comfort, price, support, durability, warranty, features and customer service. In the most recent report Sleep Number finished first in six of the seven categories.

Sleep Number’s rating of 867 was the same as last year, despite a slight overall decrease in the mattress satisfaction scores. 

JD Power’s mattress industry report is based on responses from approximately 1,000 customers who had bought a mattress within the last 12 months.

JD Power mattress satisfaction rankings

2018: Sleep Number  867, Tempur-Pedic 848

2017: Tempur-Pedic  887, Sleep Number 867 

2016: Sleep Number (#1) 887, Simmons/Beautyrest 886

2015: Sleep Number (#1) 878, Tempur-Pedic 872