Medbelle raises $7M to build out its ‘digital hospital’

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Medbelle, the London and Berlin-based startup offering what it calls an “end-to-end platform” for medical procedures, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Signals Venture Capital — the VC fund of major German health insurer Signal Iduna — with partipation from Talis Capital, Mutschler Ventures, IBB and Cavalry Ventures.

Founded in 2016 by Leander de Laporte and Daniel Kolb after the pair turned down jobs at Rocket Internet, Medbelle has set out to digitise the patient journey and provide medical treatments in a more modern, convenient and consumer-centric way. Likened to a “digital hospital,” the company lets patients book a number of medical procedures through its web and app-based platform.

These currently span cosmetics, bariatrics and ophthalmology, with plans underway to expand into orthopaedics and fertility treatment. At the moment Medbelle only services private patients but says it wants to work with the U.K.’s National Health Service and private and public health insurance providers to broaden its reach.

“Our vision is to create a world in which all patients can navigate their treatment journey digitally and receive personal care at the click of a button,” Medbelle co-founder Leander de Laporte tells me. “There is a massive lack of digitisation and patient care for medical procedures and little sight of someone changing this entirely. This results in a lack of quality and price transparency, bad communication and patients feeling left alone and neglected in their treatment journey”

At the same time, de Laporte says that healthcare providers and specialists lack the tools to operate efficiently resulting in lots of “frustration, operational hiccups and unnecessary healthcare costs.”

To try to solve this, Medbelle’s digital offering — which consists of the Medbelle Platform, Medbelle Care, and Medbelle Operating System — attempts to give patients more control over their provision while giving healthcare professionals access to tools covering the entire treatment journey: from the first consultation to billing, post-operative care and follow-up.

“Patients book their procedure with us, which provides them with prices and a selection of leading, pre-vetted specialists and state-of-the-art operating facilities – with all organisation taken care of by the platform,” explains de Laporte. “Once a patient is registered, every aspect of their treatment is accessible via a single, simple web portal and app, or through their own personal Medbelle Care Adviser”.

Citing competitors as offline clinic groups with brick ‘n’ mortar clinics across the U.K, the Medbelle co-founder says that the market is ready for a digital-first and more integrated offering.

“We see that the future is obviously moving towards a more digital, consumer-centric experience in each and every industry, [and] healthcare is no different in this respect,” he says. “This is also where we see our main benefit as a digital hospital. As an integrated treatment provider, patients and doctors get everything they need from a single source. We build technology and services for every step of the treatment journey – and quickly focus on where it is needed most to deliver the best possible experience without causing complexity for healthcare providers”.

In comparison to the traditional clinic groups, de Laporte argues that Medbelle patients receive abetter value and more transparent service. “[Patients] can choose between transparently displayed options of very rigorously vetted specialists and operating facilities, compare options and prices and save money right away as we offer consultations with the specialists for free — even from the comfort from their own home via video consultations,” he says. “Apart from that, our technology standardises processes and cuts operational costs which make our economics more competitive”.

Adds Clemens Koós, investment manager at Signals Venture Capital: “Major digital platforms improve customer experience in almost all industries, however, in healthcare, the digitisation of patient journeys has been heavily lagging behind until now. Medbelle’s technology and personalised care enable much simpler and more affordable medical treatments – while allowing healthcare providers to efficiently focus on treating patients. We look forward to working with the Medbelle team and co-investors in expanding the platform to include more treatment specialities and increasing its reach.”