Babylon Health hires US COO, CTO, CBO in expansion push

Saudi-backed $2 billion healthcare startup Babylon Health has hired ex-Amazon and Google execs for a major US push

2/23/2021 3:00:00 PM

Saudi-backed $2 billion healthcare startup Babylon Health has hired ex-Amazon and Google execs for a major US push

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This story is available exclusively to Insider subscribers.and start reading now.UK health startup Babylon has made three senior hires for a US expansion push.CEO Ali Parsa told Insider that approximately 70-80% of Babylon's revenue now comes from the US.

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Parsa said Babylon aimed to become a $1 billion business, primarily focused on the US.Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.$2 billion telemedicine startup Babylon Health is making a major push into the US, hiring three new senior executives and aiming for $1 billion in revenue in 2021.

The firm hired former Googler Paul-Henri Ferrand as new chief business officer, ex-Amazon Prime Air exec Stacy Saal as COO, and former Expedia exec Steve Davis as CTO. All the positions are US-based."Our goal is that by the end of this year to have signed enough contracts to be a $1 billion revenue business," CEO Ali Parsa told Insider, adding that he making this forecast"cautiously" since the firm is making"around $15 million a month" in revenue currently. Babylon Health has a complex corporate structure, but UK financial filings indicate the business

is still loss-making.Babylon Health started in the UK, and is best known for its patient-facing GP at Hand telemedicine app. It was founded in 2013, and remains privately funded. The companyraised $550 million in 2019, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which gave it its $2 billion valuation.

Parsa told Insider that Babylon is pursuing a different model in the US, mostly working through healthcare insurers.It already counts publicly traded firm Centene Corporation as a partner, which has invested in Babylon. Mount Sinai Health Partners is another partner.

Parsa said the company had focused on reaching lower-income, difficult-to-reach Medicaid members to begin with."The reason we started with Medicaid, it's basicChristensenway of getting into business, you go after something no one else wants," Parsa said."Everybody else was saying, 'Medicaid is impossible to make money, and it's hard to get people engaged.'"

He said that Babylon had helped one group of Medicaid patients in Missouri who were struggling to feed their children and overwhelmed with the process of applying for food vouchers. Babylon's team, he said, focused on helping families get to food banks and helping them fill out forms for vouchers."It's a lot cheaper for us to get that organized than to wait until you end up in hospital," he said.

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Parsa indicated that Babylon was making America its primary focus, with 70-80% of its revenue coming from the US.That shift in focus may make more sense for Babylon.Babylon has faced heavy criticism in the UK, whose National Health Service (NHS) is state-funded and deeply loved by citizens. Voters are sensitive to any perception that the service is becoming privatized, and tech firms that offer healthcare services in the UK tend to come in for fierce scrutiny.

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