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UK Health Start-Up Babylon’s $550M Funding Round Led By Saudi Arabian Sovereign Fund

UK Health Start-Up Babylon’s $550M  Funding Round Led By Saudi Arabian Sovereign Fund
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund led an investment round for the United Kingdom based health technology start-up Babylon which helped the company to raise $550 million.
After the completion of the fundraising round, the net worth of the company now is $2 billion, said the London based Babylon. The investment round also saw investment being made by German reinsurer Munich Re’s ERGO Fund. According to a report Sky News, United States based health insurer Centene also invested in the company even though it was not named in the official announcement.
Commitment for almost $450 million of capital has already been made, Babylon said. The investment round also leaves the option for the investor for making an additional $50 million later one. The firm added, the rest of the round will be closed shortly.
The start-up has become respected and known for the work that it has undertaken with the National Health Service of the UK. A platform of the NHS has been developed by the company that can be used by patients to book consultation sessions with a chosen doctor via a video call from their smartphones. The company also has project contracts with companies such as Samsung, Prudential and Bupa.
Last year, the company claimed that the artificial intelligence software that it uses is able to diagnose medical conditions as accurately as a doctor which had drawn severe criticisms from health professionals. A higher-than-average test score on a practice exam compiled for physicians was scored by chatbot of the company which is used for interacting with patients.
“This investment will allow us to maximise the number of lives we touch across the world,” Dr Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon, said in a statement. “We have a long way to go and a lot still to deliver.”
“We have seen significant demand from partners across the US and Asia. While the burden of healthcare is global, the solutions have to be localised to meet the specific needs and culture of each country,” he added.
This UK startup is among those tech based companies that are trying to disrupt the global health industry through the use of technology. For example, the largest of the tech companies such as Apple and Amazon are pushing to venture into this business segment. By 2022, the spending on health care will grow to about $10 trillion globally, forecast a research report from the US consultancy firm Deloitte.
The coveted status of being a “unicorn” was attained by the latest fresh cash injection in the company. Unicorn startups are those companies that have a net worth $1 billion or more and are held privately. Babylon said that fresh investments would be put to use for funding of extensive product innovation around chronic conditions and an expansion into the U.S. and Asia.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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