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Even, the Startup That Wants to Fix Health Insurance in India

According to Matilde Giglio, Co-founder & COO at Even, her startup’s core mission is to give easier access to healthcare to every Indian.

‘We believe every Indian should have access to 360-degree, high quality healthcare that does not bankrupt them. No one should ever have to choose between their health and their savings’ she told us.

‘We are a healthtech company and healthcare provider that partners directly with the top hospitals in the country to offer unlimited diagnostics, unlimited consultations and 50 lakh worth of hospitalisations all with one monthly subscription cost. If the doctor says you need it, it’s covered!’

What is your background? What made you get into this line of work?

Even was born as a project between three friends: me, Mayank Banerjee and Alessandro Ialongo (co-founders of Even) who realized India needed something like Even at different stages of their life.

Mayank, who was born in India, had a firsthand experience of just how bad it can get when you discover a critical illness in the family. I co-founded another startup with Mayank and was working in a VC in the US and the UK, and had a good understanding of health insurance around the world, but realised the biggest problems within the sector lie in India. Alessandro was doing research in machine learning at Google DeepMind when I called him in to help understand opportunities to build a better product for consumers using medical data and saving costs from hospital inefficiencies.

What inspired your business? What problem are you trying to solve and for whom?

Anyone who’s had to use health insurance in India has realised one thing: they rarely walk out of the hospital having paid nothing.

Either their health cover is too low to cover all expenses, or the cost of treatment or procedure they want is not entirely covered in their insurance plan, or they cannot use their insurance cover at all because it turns out there’s a waiting period on the illness they want to be treated for, or there are miscellaneous expenses at the hospital that an insurer just won’t pay.

In most cases, you have had to pay your own money to cover your hospital bills in addition to the money you pay out of pocket for a doctor visit or a diagnostic test despite having paid a premium for an insurance plan.

Even wants to fix all this by bringing cashless and paperless healthcare in India. We want to offer our members unlimited OPD (doctor consultations), unlimited diagnostics (lab tests etc) and 50 lakh hospital cover that ensures members never have to pay out of pocket when they visit a partner hospital.

We want to build a product that is exactly what people think insurance should be, but is not at the moment.

An outline of your magic sauce. How do you differ from the competition?

What makes us different from and better than traditional insurers is that our profit is not dependent on keeping claims low. We take a flat fee from our memberships and give the rest to our partner hospitals which dedicate it to treating our members.

Our incentive is to keep our members healthy and we are the only provider who offer unlimited OPD (doctor consultations and diagnostics) which traditional insurance companies do not offer or offer with limits because it is not profitable for them.

We focus on preventive care so we can help members detect diseases early on and keep them away from expensive and debilitating surgeries later in life. Should our members need a surgery, we provide an excellent hospital cover where all their expenses are paid for. We make this experience completely cashless and paperless.

Our members do not have to care about filing claims or worry about room-rent capping, deductibles, and other insurance jargon.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years? What is the vision?

We want to be the benchmark for healthcare in India. And we want to take Even to Tier 1 cities like Delhi and Mumbai besides our current base in Bangalore. At the end of five years, we want to launch pan India.

Eventually, we want to ensure that our model is sustainable and that other players including legacy health insurance providers can use this model as it successfully aligns patient care and profitability, and it means that every Indian has access to fuss-free healthcare.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

We are too early in our journey so this is a hard question. What we’re trying to accomplish is very difficult but very important, so there will, no doubt, be challenges coming our way.

But we have an exceptional team with us who is ready to take these challenges head on. We are also fortunate enough to be backed by some of the most exceptional investors in the world including Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund (led by Peter Thiel), Lachy Groom and other investors and operators including Nikesh Arora (CEO, Palo Alto Networks, ex-COO, Softbank), Kunal Shah (CEO, CRED) Nithin Kamath (Founder, Zerodha) Tom Stafford (Partner, DST Global).

What has been your biggest win so far?

We exceeded our expectations of getting interest from users since we founded Even in Jan 2020. From the time we opened our waitlist this year, we have received 30,000+ sign ups with confirmed interest in beta access from nearly 5,000 users. We also successfully launched three vaccination drives and administered Covid-19 vaccines to over 2,000 people in Bangalore.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

To give people in Bangalore (our base city), the best health experience of their life and do it well enough that is easily scalable across India.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Our goal is ambitious: to build India’s best health cover. If we are successful, we will be affecting millions of lives and creating a phenomenally valuable company.

To have a chance of pulling this off, we want to work with the best in the business. If you think you have it in you to help us do this and believe in our mission, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Written by Fredd

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