Sofía, Mexico’s first digital health insurer

by Hannah Seal

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In this post: Sofía

“For some time now, the roadblocks to digitisation in healthcare have not been technological, but cultural. Those barriers are now falling and interests are aligning,” my colleagues Jan and Martin wrote in Will Healthcare Change for Good? earlier this year.

It is the silver lining of the tragedy of Covid-19. New digital solutions are gaining adoption, broadening access to and improving quality of care -- the transformation of healthcare is underway.

However, this is not true everywhere and better care at a reasonable price is still a dream for many. The World Health Organisation reports that half the world’s population does not have access to essential services, and those that do, often “pay a crippling price.”

Technology platforms provide us the opportunity to fix that, which is why we are excited to share that we are leading a $19m Series A in Sofía, the first digital health company to receive regulatory approval as a dedicated health insurance company in Mexico. Its product, which launches today, is an affordable health plan that includes health insurance, preventive and primary care via in-app video consultations and deductible-free claims.

Mexico has no large health-dedicated insurance company; let alone a digital-first health insurance product. The country’s spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, is one of the lowest in the OECD. Coupled with this are widespread health challenges - life expectancy of 75 years (vs 80.2 in OECD countries), the highest OECD rates of obesity and heart-attack mortality, and many other health problems. On top of that, the country faces a severe lack of access to healthcare coverage, which is made evident by the fact that 91% of health expenses are paid out of pocket.

It is a large challenge, but one that Sofía’s co-founders are determined to tackle. Arturo Sánchez Correa, Sebastián Jiménez-Bonnet and Manuel Andere Portas met while studying applied maths at ITAM in Mexico. Each founder left Mexico for further study, at UCL, Stanford and Harvard, and all three went on to become data scientists, working at Google, Patreon and Index Ventures in the US and Europe.

Arturo, Sebastián and Manuel are applying what they have learnt from the worlds of Big Tech, high growth startups and venture capital, to tackling Mexico’s health challenges. They co-founded Sofía in Mexico City in 2018, with angel investments from Index partners Jan Hammer, Neil Rimer and others, and have grown it to a team of 45 healthcare professionals, mathematicians, software engineers, designers and marketers. Today, as they launch, receive regulatory approval, and announce their Series A round led by Index, the next phase of their work truly begins.

We know we will learn a lot from the team at Sofía, and are excited to help them on their mission to give everyone in Mexico better healthcare.

Published — Nov. 18, 2020