According to studies, the average human lies at least two to three times during a 10-minute, everyday conversation. That number jumps when examining conversation with doctors. Zava, a leader in digital healthcare through its discreet service, allows you to be honest with your doctor without fear of judgement. The London startup sends patients online questionnaires abiout their health circumstances, avoiding the awkward face-to-face discussion about “embarrassing” medical conditions. A patient’s history then is reviewed by licensed physicians and care team for appropriate treatment options – all done remotely. Zava can help people seeking treatment for a variety of conditions including hair-loss to asthma and even STDs and its list of telehealth service is expanding.
London TechWatch spoke with cofounder and CEO David Meinertz about how Zava is using technology to make the doctor and patient relationship stronger than ever, the company’s future plans, and most recent round of funding, which bring its total funding to $33.7M across three rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We recently announced our Series A funding of $32M which comes from HPE Growth. HPE Growth has an inspiring track record in digital and data-driven businesses across Europe so their strategic guidance is invaluable at this crossroads in the healthcare industry. Prior to this, Zava received an Angel investment of $1.4M from an entrepreneur in Hamburg in 2012.
Zava is one of the European leaders in digital healthcare, radically increasing doctor efficiency while improving fast and convenient access for patients. We provide highly successful asynchronous treatment of patients thanks to our twenty-strong clinical team.
Zava exists to break down barriers to health, enabling people to do more of what matters to them. In a world of an aging population and rising costs, healthcare systems are at a breaking point. Barriers are put in people’s way which stop them getting the support they need. Zava’s mission is to build healthcare that is accessible, dependable, and a fraction of today’s cost.
What inspired you to start Zava?
Amit Khutti and I founded Zava in London in 2010. Before launching Zava, I worked at a leading online healthcare company in London that focused on international expansion. Prior to that, I invested in and helped build and rebuild small and medium-sized companies in healthcare, electronics, and distribution sectors in Europe for about 10 years
I came up with the idea of Zava after getting frustrated with the complex and time-consuming process for managing my ongoing condition – high blood pressure. It was obvious there should be an easier and more convenient way for patients to receive treatment.
How is Zava different?
We’re not replacing doctors with AI and we are not just putting doctors on video. Zava is providing healthcare that enables doctors to treat patients more efficiently and more safely.
Zava provides reliable and convenient access to a qualified clinical team, via written communication, which drives an effective patient:doctor relationship. The questions we ask in our written questionnaire are exactly the same questions a GP would ask – but the patient can do this in their own time, meaning their answers are often more thorough.
Our patients feel more comfortable not having to discuss medical conditions that they might find embarrassing face to face, so we often find our patient’s written answers are very honest.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
Every month almost 100,000 patients already access Zava from the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Ireland to seek advice, tests, or treatment for a growing range of conditions. With our latest investment, we are investigating routes to replicate Zava’s success and expand into new markets to accelerate growth.
What’s your business model?
We are a direct-to-consumer business, treating 100s of patients every day across six countries. However, with our latest round of investment, we have made our ambition clear; we want to work with statutory healthcare systems to freely offer Zava’s services at the point of care.
What was the funding process like?
The fundraising process took around nine months in total, which we understand is average for an agreement of this size and complexity. The whole business was involved, and we were delighted to announce earlier in June that HPE Capital invested $32M in our business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Raising capital is a complex and time-consuming process. Running and growing a business and raising capital at the same time is intense and demanding on the entire team. I feel very lucky that the Zava team was able to accomplish both with excellent results.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Of the investment, partner Harry Dolman at HPE Growth has said, “Zava offers a unique and highly scalable model to deliver a more convenient healthcare experience to patients while radically improving the efficiency of healthcare professionals, enabling healthcare systems to reduce the overall costs associated with primary care. We are excited to be working with David and his team to expand Zava into statutory healthcare systems and bring Zava in a first step to the rest of Europe.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
This funding round will enable us to significantly expand our medical and tech capabilities to offer many new services for patients across Europe. We will be launching dozens of new services in the UK and other markets during Q3 and Q4 of 2019. In particular, we are focusing on women’s health in the coming months, as well as new test-kits and mental health services.
We will be launching dozens of new services in the UK and other markets during Q3 and Q4 of 2019. In particular, we are focusing on women’s health in the coming months, as well as new test-kits and mental health services.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Any advice depends on the current trajectory of the company as well as existing funding and ambition. If growth ambitions can be achieved with cash flow from the existing business and you can grow profitably there would be no need for outside capital.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
My favourite restaurant in London is Luca.