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Exclusive: HealthKey secures £1.13M in seed funding to unlock preventative healthcare’s front door

The HealthKey team
Image credit: HealthKey

HealthKey, a London-based healthtech that makes it easy for users to access and pay for healthcare, has secured £1.13 million in seed funding. Led by Aviva Ventures, other investors included Ascension, Oxford Capital and Cur8 Capital. HealthKey plans to use the investment to expand their product, enhancing the platform and increasing the partners on it.

TFN spoke with co-founder and CEO David Joerring about the startup and the difference it can make.

Connecting people with the services they want and need

The idea for HealthKey came from Joerring’s experience. “I have worked in and around healthcare for a large part of my career,” he told us, “and have always been drawn to the innovative products and services being developed by fantastic people, like doctors developing novel treatments or championing preventative and personalised health.” However, not everything was positive, “I have found it disheartening to see how despite all manner of efforts, too often those services don’t reach the people who really need them.”

Working for healthtech Thriva, he saw that there was no clear infrastructure for payers and providers to work together. With the idea in mind, he met co-founder Tudor Cotop, and together founded HealthKey in the Founders Factory Studio. “Tudor and I did not know each other before founding HealthKey,” he says. “It now feels like we have known each other forever, but that is probably just down to the nature of what it means to found a business together.”

Moving from reactive to proactive healthcare

The importance of preventative healthcare is becoming increasingly known, especially after the stresses of a pandemic on the largely reactive NHS system. However, relatively few people actively use preventative healthcare, despite often having access to schemes through their employers or insurance.

Joerring believes HealthKey can address that, addressing the barriers of cost, information, and friction. “Preventative healthcare is traditionally only available for the ‘well-off well’,” he says. “By making access more cost-effective, it can become accessible for a wider population.” HealthKey can then provide the information people need. “By creating a curated network and providing health information and AI supported discovery process, we help bridge this information gap,” he told us. HealthKey already boasts integration with a range of leading platforms across a range of healthcare needs, including reproductive health, mental wellbeing, preventative healthcare, and weight loss and nutrition.

Finally, and perhaps the most important, is making it easy. “Many people want to, and know that they should take more care of their health, but challenges in figuring out what to do and how to access services, keep them from engaging with their health until it becomes urgent.”

HealthKey has already proven its value. As well as leading the funding round, Aviva also provided a test for HealthKey’s product, with 800 members of Aviva staff participating in a 9-month pilot, proving the platform’s value.

And the HealthKey could not come at a better time. The ONS has recently revealed that, for the first time in a decade, life expectancy in the UK has fallen. Making frictionless access to healthcare essential for everyone.

A platform that’s centred on the user, not the provider

HealthKey’s platform is based around the user, and designed so they can discover the services they might need. “Our AI-powered discovery tool helps people find services based on normal language searches, like, ‘my back hurts’ rather than searching for physiotherapy,” Joerring told us. “This particularly helps people discover health areas, content, and services they don’t know exist.”

“A unique aspect to HealthKey compared to traditional employee benefit platforms is that the account is ‘owned’ by the employee, and while they lose access to employer-provided health budgets if they change employers, they don’t lose their account.” Joerring said. It also means that anyone can benefit from HealthKey, simply by signing up for a free account. “The free plan allows anyone to create a HealthKey account and get access to all the features, including access to discounts across a wide range of health services.”

However, those who link their account with their employer benefits will see it integrate seamlessly with their package, whether it’s a healthcare budget, insurance benefits, or salary sacrifice.

“HealthKey’s platform simplifies the way companies can provide vital health and wellbeing benefits to their people, making it easier and quicker for employees to access personalised services that they truly want,” Ant Barker, Director of Venture Capital at Aviva Ventures, said.

Making preventative healthcare everyday

Joerring believes HealthKey can play a major role in the shift towards proactive, preventative healthcare. Part of their mission, he says, is to provide access to traditionally underserved areas who have poorer health outcomes as a result. He points to his diverse team as a key part of achieving that, “we are eight people,” he says, “all UK-based but only three are British nationals. Five men and three women (including both cis and trans), and with a diverse mix of sexualities.”

With funding in place, Joerring hopes to starting bringing HealthKey’s benefits to everyone. “We hope to power a shift to a more proactive and preventative approach to health. For people, we hope to achieve an increase in the feeling of control over their own health,” he told us. “Access to health services currently goes through either employer, insurer, public health, or self-paid, and it can be challenging for people to figure out what they have access to and how to access services. By flipping that ownership, and giving people a front door to health services that is integrated with payers, we can give people more control and better information, and hopefully make accessing health services as easy as buying any consumer product online.”

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