As featured in the TechCrunch

Air Doctor, the health tech startup that connects travellers with local doctors, has raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Kamet Ventures (the AXA-backed venture builder), and The Phoenix Insurance Company.

Founded in 2016, Air Doctor aims to empower travellers who get sick when abroad and need non-emergency advice or treatment. It has created a network of local private physicians that travellers can access, typically via travel insurance or perks. The platform is available across 42 countries in 5 continents, and lets you search by location, language, specialty, and cost.

“Air Doctor was born out of the founding team’s own travelling experiences, out of that terrible feeling you get when you fall ill in a foreign country and don’t know who to turn to or how to get the fast response you need,” says Jenny Cohen Derfler, CEO and co-founder of Air Doctor.

“Yam [Derfler, Head of Product Innovation] came up with the idea after eight months of travelling around South America, in which both he and his friends at different times felt completely helpless when they got sick and, more often than not, couldn’t find English-speaking doctors”.

Derfler says Air Doctor’s initial focus was that of the travelling patient, but the team quickly realised that this is a problem that affects an entire ecosystem around medical care for travellers.

“Local doctors have no reliable way of accessing a whole new group of private customers, insurance companies waste huge amounts of money on tedious and questionable medical services, and also want to improve the customer experience of being connected to healthcare, and travel agents want a reliable service to bundle up as part of their packages. It became clear we needed to build a platform that would benefits all parties,” she says.

By combining a global network of medical professionals with a digital platform, Air Doctor is able to lower costs for insurance companies, and offer value-added solutions for credit card companies and mobile operators. On the supply end, it also claims to increase physicians’ income and digital presence, while providing “the highest level of healthcare” for international travellers in their native languages.

“Our aim is to provide every traveler in the world access to experienced local doctors and specialists when they need it, and by doing so to help them avoid having to go to hospitals or tourist clinics,” adds Derfler.

The that end, Air Doctor’s first customer was The Phoenix, one of Israel’s leading insurance companies, which has subsequently invested as part of this Series A round. By offering Air Doctor to its customers, The Phoenix was able to reduce its loss ratio by reducing claim costs, reorienting patients to outpatient clinics rather than emergency services, and streamlining payments.

“Our big selling point for the travellers themselves is control,” underlines the Air Doctor CEO. “When you’re sick while away from home, you want to feel like you are in control of your situation. Our online platform helps patients find immediate solutions, by providing them with a wealth of information about a wider range of local practitioners so they can choose the most appropriate doctor for their needs and preferences. Most importantly, we help them access medical care in their native language, which is one of the biggest things when it comes to feeling in control of your situation”.

Meanwhile, this latest round follows Air Doctor’s seed round of $3.1 million in July 2018. The new investment will be used to bolster Air Doctor’s medical network and R&D capabilities and for international expansion across the insurance, telecom, and credit card industries.