Raul Källo, the founder and CEO of Viveo Health, said that although they are not able to cure the coronavirus itself, they help prevent its spread by moving people away from crowded waiting rooms. This way, people with a variety of health problems do not have to put themselves at added risk of getting the coronavirus.
While other startups may not be having the best time fundraising right now, the telemedicine provider has recently received phone calls from a number of interested investors. “Medicine is the number one topic in the world today”, Källo said.
This fundraising round brought the company € 2 million, and an investment of the same size has been made by the founder of the company before. In this round, a major shareholder in Tallink, Ain Hanschmidt, and a major shareholder of Graanul Invest, Anders Anderson, also joined Viveo Health.
According to Källo, they are also negotiating with some big investors for the next fundraising rounds. “Healthcare is a very capital-intensive sector and several millions of euros have already been invested to make this platform convenient and safe for our clients,” he said.
Källo added that their service is also technology-intensive and their goal is to make quick medical care available at low cost, from everywhere. For this they use digital medicine, which is a new approach in Estonia and elsewhere. However, the spread of the coronavirus makes this service even more important in addition to its time-saving effect.
“Businesses have sustainability plans. We can clearly contribute to that, and help to keep people safe and out of the spread. We have already been contacted by several doctors this week, who are ready to help and want to be safe themselves,” Källo said. He noted that, with the coronavirus, they help people according to the instructions of the Health Board, but at the same time all other health problems have not gone away. “Other health problems are still here, and we are the only authenticated system of telemedicine that identifies the client and issues referrals and prescriptions,” he added.
Currently, due to the spread of the coronavirus, the company intends to help to move people away from waiting rooms. Their next step is to start the service in Finland. The company currently has 36 employees in Estonia and plans to recruit more doctors to help as many people as possible in these difficult circumstances.
Viveo Health's contractual clients include individuals and their families as well as private businesses, such as: XLFLY (formerly Regional Jet), Proekspert, and many others.
Viveo ensures its clients urgent help, whenever needed, including necessary treatments, without worrying about the cost.
Insurance companies asking for help
Viveo Health combines its telemedicine service with insurance by the company, with very experienced management. “That's where I discovered a lot of excess spending, both in health care and in private health insurance. Today, insurance companies are also asking for our help, as they understand that such a solution is needed,” he said.
Källo said that Viveo is currently the only service provider who has been contacted by insurance companies due to the spreading of the coronavirus, as it is the only company with a cooperation network across Estonia that can help to identify the losses of insurance clients and assist them in self-diagnoses. “People don’t know where to turn for help and get stuck in the system. It is important for insurance companies that their health insurance clients do not go to the emergency room or to the facilities of family doctors with minor health issues only to pick up a much more serious disease. Other viruses are also spreading right now,” Källo said.
Viveo has already been contacted by other countries. When they came up with a solution for their private customers yesterday, an Estonian from Australia, for example, also registered for the service.
Some regulatory limitations still ahead
Regarding regulatory barriers, Källo says there are no major obstacles. “Perhaps the issuing of sick-leave papers is the one most under discussion”, he said. In Finland, where they head next, there is still one limitation. “Although it is a completely digital solution, it is still required in Finland that a doctor must be located in the same country. We believe that should not be the case.”
According to Källo, it is a bit surprising that health care and sports clubs are combined into one article in a company's tax-free expenses. “These services are so different by their very nature that they should definitely be separated from each other.”