Monday 23 September 2019

Telehealth startup out to raise €20m for UK and US expansion

VideoDoc founder seeking to build on rapid Irish growth as it moves to larger site, writes Adrian Weckler

VideoDoc founder and chief executive Mary O’Brien said the company was likely to pursue its funding outside Ireland. Photo: Naoise Culhane
VideoDoc founder and chief executive Mary O’Brien said the company was likely to pursue its funding outside Ireland. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

VideoDoc, an Irish telehealth startup, is seeking to raise up to €20m as it targets European and US expansion.

The company, which recently closed a €2.8m funding round valuing it at €17m, has signed a deal with the British Armed Forces for videolink health services.

Its chief executive and founder, Mary O'Brien, says that it is already planning a new Series A funding round, targeted at between €10m and €20m and valuing the company considerably higher than its present level

"We're looking to expand more into the UK and possibly into the US," said O'Brien. "To do that with a consumer-facing product takes a significant amount of capital."

She said that the company is likely to pursue its funding outside Ireland, because of the more mature venture climate in Europe, the US and Asia. The company's most recent round was led by a UK-based Asian investor. It has now outgrown its Sandyford premises and is set to move to a larger facility in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock.

VideoDoc offers online video consultations with Irish doctors, dividing the work between in-house clinicians at its Dublin offices and GPs working from their own premises.

The process also offers access to prescriptions, sick notes and referrals. In Ireland, it is integrated into Clanwilliam's IT system, which has a 90pc market share among Irish GPs. It is also used in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital by clinicians to see their own outpatients.

Patients can use their own phones, tablets or laptops for the video-link consultation, while GPs and in-house doctors are given special equipment to maximise technical quality. While telehealth is a competitive market in the US and UK, O'Brien said that VideoDoc can progress through specialist services such as dermatology and dementia.

"We don't want to be a quick prescriptions service," said O'Brien.

"We see ourselves as more of a clinical solution. Most people still want to see and interact with a real doctor for their consultation."

In the US, regulations require telehealth operators to maintain doctors within each state.

The company currently supplies video-health services to VHI, which rebadges the services under a 'white label' agreement.

"They're now integrating us fully into their app," said O'Brien, who said VHI is currently its biggest corporate client.

VideoDoc is also targeting corporate health plans.

O'Brien said that VideoDoc was not yet ready to consider mental health consultations because of how pricing dynamics work in that market.

"Typically, those are for longer consultations of 30 or 45 minutes," she said. "However, some of our fixed costs remain the same, meaning it's harder to see a business model for it."

O'Brien said that while tech giant such as Apple are linking products such as smartwatches to health services, VideoDoc is not currently targeting alliances with such companies.

She also said that the company did not see itself in competition with videolink e-health products that rely on everyday communication channels such as Skype or Facetime. "Ours is a dedicated telehealth platform, not something like Skype, where there are no proper records kept. With our platform, there's consent, security, medical certainty and legal certainty, rather than ad hoc FaceTime or video conferencing systems."

O'Brien said that VideoDoc is increasingly popular with experienced doctors who are approaching retirement or are working part-time.

"These are doctors with a lot of experience but who might want more flexibility in their lives," she said.

Sunday Indo Business

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