Miami-based healthtech startup Osigu has raised $7.5 million to further expand their platform that aims to streamline the healthcare experience for Latin American consumers. The round was led by IDC Ventures and included participation from Jose Vargas, co-founder of digital health insurance company Healthcare.com.
Osigu, a startup founded in Guatemala in 2016, has developed a digital technology that exchanges data between healthcare providers and patients. Osigu’s API enables automatic claims and payments in real time – no human input required.
Earlier this year, Osigu moved its headquarters to Miami. Co-founder and CEO Fernando Botrán told Refresh Miami that targeting Miami was “a no-brainer since we have a product focused on the Latin American market and Miami is really the capital of Latin America.” Botrán is planning to ramp up hiring for the Miami office in the first quarter of next year.
Osigu’s platform comes as a relief to anyone who has had the displeasure of spending hours on the phone trying to navigate arcane medical billing systems. But it’s an advantage for healthcare providers as well because they use Osigu to minimize the time spent dealing with back-office functions. Osigu’s digital solution also reduces the risk of fraud while helping patients get the care they need more quickly.
Currently, Osigu is active in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Spain. This funding round will enable Osigu to expand into Colombia, which the startup notes is a US $12 billion market where more than 650 million claims are manually processed each year. The other advantage to Colombia, according to Botrán, is that the Dominican Republic’s public-private healthcare system was modeled off of Colombia’s. That reduces the friction for Osigu to enter this new market.
More broadly, the Latin American healthcare market is expected to grow 19% annually through 2026. In an IDB-sponsored report from LAVCA, an association for private capital investment in the region, analysts note the promise of the healthtech space in Latin America’s broader tech ecosystem – despite the fact that only a small portion of VC investments are currently spent on healthtech initiatives.
There are a wide range of factors contributing to this growth opportunity, not least of which is that the pandemic has padded the pockets of companies offering a way for strained healthcare systems to work more efficiently. The sector is also unusual in the Latin American tech context for having an outsized portion of women CEOs and co-founders: 42%, according to LAVCA’s survey.
Bobby Aitkenhead, Managing Partner at IDC Ventures, echoed these sentiments in a statement: “IDC Ventures is excited to partner with Osigu, the technology adoption in Latin America is lagging, specially in the healthcare system, creating an exponential opportunity for Osigu to solve a huge problem and improve healthcare delivery in the region.”
For Botrán, the startup’s promise lies in the trend towards digitalization in emerging markets. “We see a massive opportunity in the healthcare and insurance space in emerging markets such as LATAM,” he explained in a statement. “Mostly every medical transaction is paper-based, and the ecosystems are highly fragmented with local small and mid-software companies that don’t use any data standardization.”
“What happened 15-20 years ago in the developed healthcare system is starting now in Latam,” Botrán continued. “We feel very motivated and responsible for solving this massive healthcare problem.”
Ultimately, Botrán noted that the principal goal of Osigu is to “enhance the patient’s experience across the board.” The benefits to payers and providers are an extra advantage.
Botrán signaled that we are likely to see major growth in the company next year, since the startup is close to closing a few deals with major healthcare companies in Latin America. “Next year some really exciting things are coming,” he said.
On top of expanding to Colombia, Osigu plans to use this funding to improve their machine learning algorithms and AI-powered product features. This includes a tool that can read and ingest data from written prescriptions, which Osigu plans to launch early next year.
Osigu raised a $7 million Series A round in 2016, led by ATW Partners. IDC Ventures, who led this round, also participated in the Series A.
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