Access to quality and affordable health care has long been an issue in the United States.
Not everyone can afford health insurance, and even for those who can, medical care can still be prohibitively expensive.
sesamea Startup aiming to address these issues with its online medical supplies marketplace, has raised $27 million in a Series B funding round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) to advance its efforts.
Based in New York City, Sesame is a two-sided marketplace populated only by doctors and patients. Consumers can search and shop for a doctor on the site – and book an appointment. The startup claims it’s able to reduce health care costs by cutting the bureaucracy and rules associated with health insurance, and giving consumers the ability to access doctors on a pay-per-visit basis – including medical specialists.
Another benefit for consumers, the company says, is that they can be treated virtually — and in some places, in person — at a price that’s provided upfront, with no surprises later. Actually just over 60% of Sesame patients have some form of insurance. But the transparency that Sesame touts is appealing. Physicians, some of whom have their own practices, like the idea of being paid cash without having to worry about the paperwork, costs, and headaches associated with filing with insurance companies.
The company claims to offer “complete, long-term healthcare” including primary care, acute consultations and chronic care management, over 40 specialties, dentistry, laboratories and imaging. There are over 2,500 healthcare providers on its marketplace covering all 50 states. Its services have been live since mid-2020 and have been ever since cared for “over” 150,000 patients.
CEO and co-founder David Goldhill told TechCrunch in an interview that Sesame’s goal is to provide medical care “half price, whole quality.” The average price paid for grooming on the marketplace is around $40, and some visits can cost as little as $25. Sesame is a “true marketplace,” he said, as doctors and vendors work for themselves. According to Goldhill, demand was so strong that Sesame stopped recruiting doctors.
“Each service on Sesame has a fixed, clear price that the patient pays upfront, so there are no collection or credit issues for doctors,” said Goldhill, who authored an article titled “How American Healthcare Killed My Father‘ and is a past President and COO of Universal Television Group. “Likewise, They don’t have all the administrative requirements that come with insurance claims.”
And since doctors do indeed compete with each other, he added, pricing is “competitive.”
Sesame makes money by charging a percentage of the fee for each visit. It must be doing something right. It claims it has grown It’s up 25% month-on-month and has grown its revenue by nearly 500% year over year — though on what basis we don’t know.
Sesame cites statistics it believes illustrate the need for a service like the one it offers.
Corresponding the 2020 US Census, 28 million Americans did not have health insurance at the time. Also acc researchAbout 53% of American workers who had private health insurance through their employer were enrolled in high-deductible health plans in the same year.
The marketplace currently has a beta membership offering, SesamePlus, which is due to roll out widely this year — giving people the option to pay for one Annual membership to Sesame for $99 or for a monthly fee of $10.99. Unlike other telehealth offerings that are overwhelmingly membership-based, like One Medical, Sesame doesn’t require a membership to be seen, but members do get a discount on visits and services, the company says, along with other benefits.
The startup also differs from One Medical in that it offers access to specialty areas, while the latter focuses on primary care. It’s also a marketplace, unlike One Medical. Notably, GV is also an investor in One Medical, which went public in 2020 and has a market cap of approximately $1.35 billion today. When asked if Sesame and One Medical are considered competitors, the company did not comment.
Cathy Friedman, Executive Venture Partner at GV, emailed TechCrunch that GV’s life sciences team intends to invest in companies that improve the lives and outcomes of patients and that she believes Sesames “Approach to more accessible and affordable healthcare is compelling”.
“Sesame will help achieve better health outcomes for a significant percentage of historically underserved populations by connecting patients with high-quality, affordable in-person and virtual care,” she said. “Sesame has successfully built a dynamic marketplace for healthcare services – a concept that addresses a historically unmet need.”
Virgin Group, TeleSoft Partners and FMZ Ventures participated as new investors in the latest round, alongside existing backers General Catalyst, Industry Ventures, Coefficient Capital, Giant Ventures and Alumni Ventures Group. The funding brings Sesame’s total equity raised since inception in 2019 to $75 million.
The startup will primarily use its new funds to transition its membership product from beta to general availability.
Sesame closes on $27M in funding to grow its pay-per-visit medical care marketplace – TechCrunch Source link Sesame closes on $27M in funding to grow its pay-per-visit medical care marketplace – TechCrunch