Babylon, a HealthTech startup, has managed to rake in $60 million in funding, nicely lining the $25 million funds raised by the firm just last year, in 2016.
NNS holdings, Vostok New Ventures and Kinnevik were included in the list of names participating in the round.
Babylon’s previous investors have been Hoxton Ventures, Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright (co-founders of Innocent Drinks), and also noteworthy, Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, founders of Deepmind, the AI group bought by Google for $500 million, acting as advisers to the digital health startup.
Earlier this year, Babylon teamed up with a number of health authorities in London for the trial of its AI-powered chatbot ‘triage’ service, intended to be an alternative to the NHS’s 111 telephone helpline that patients call to get healthcare advice and to be directed to local and out-of-hours medical services. It is based on the very same AI-enabled symptom checker feature in the main Babylon app, released in July last year, which the company, claims, has provided medical advice to over 250,000 people to date.
According to a statement from the London-based company, it plans to use the new inflow of funds to “build the world’s most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) platform in healthcare”.
Babylon allows users to have consultations with a GP, specialist or therapist via phone or video call. Patients then have the option of choosing the pharmacy where they want their prescriptions sent, or they can even choose to have their medicines delivered right to their doorstep.
The app also features a free-to-use AI-powered triage tool, a kind of messenger bot that asks questions about the user’s health issue and then, making use of the answers, advises the patient on what action to take next, for example seek medical attention, go to a pharmacy or deal with it at home.
The firm has an app update in the pipeline this year, which will offer diagnosis by AI, assisting clinicians in accurately identifying the disease and the most appropriate treatment. Dr Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon, said:
Babylon scientists predict that we will shortly be able to diagnose and foresee personal health issues better than doctors, but this is about machines and medics co-operating not competing.
Of the investment, he commented:
This significant international investment is a great vote of confidence in Britain’s continued ability to be a global leader in developing innovative technological solutions to worldwide problems.