Startup name: EpiCura
Registered Office: Italy, Torino
Established in: 21/06/2017
Startup Category: Digital Health
Competitions/Prizes won: (Top-20 finalists BioUpper 2016-2017; Largest founding round among accelerated startup - Foundamenta#3 by SocialFare 2017; Top10 finalists StartCup Piemonte-Val d'Aosta 2017)
Founders: Alessandro Ambrosio, Gianluca Manitto, Guido Nebiolo
1.Business (Product/Service) Description
EpiCura is a digital health platform providing home healthcare and social assistance services.
Thanks to a new booking model, EpiCura is able to guarantee physiotherapy, osteopathy, nursing and home care services within 24 hours and at the patient’s preferred time and place.
Our challenge is to leverage the technology to innovate an industry that often lags other markets when it comes to ease of use and user experience. We are building a unique product in Italy that is able to manage large amounts of reservations automatically, while ensuring the highest level of customization of the services provided. In the next few months we will develop the mobile app, in order to allow professionals and patients to use our service even more comfortably on their smartphones. We are doing all this, while ensuring an excellent customer support that makes EpiCura the reference point for all home-based healthcare and assistance needs of the family.
Unlike all the traditional alternatives (medical practices, outpatient clinics, healthcare facilities, individual health professionals), EpiCura completely flipped the booking model. Instead of going back and forth between countless phone calls and in-person requests, the patient only needs to send a single request to the professional network, indicating their needs in terms of time and place. After that, the professionals who can take care of him / her, apply for the role.
Thanks to the large number of professionals currently active in the network, EpiCura ensures a faster response: within a maximum of 2h, EpiCura finds a specialist available to visit the patient. In addition, the service is much more timely than traditional solutions and is guaranteed in 24h, with an average saving of 48 hours for the patient. In many situations, a quick intervention is essential for a complete recovery or for correctly following up on the treatment. This allows us to provide one of the fastest services in Italy.
As of today, EpiCura is the only digital player in Italy to have the legal structure necessary to be recognized as a “manager of social, healthcare and assistance services, carried out by authorized personnel”.
Thanks to this, we have the possibility to manage (and sell) directly the home care services completed by the professionals within our network, collecting all the payments and issuing a direct bill to the patient. This invoice is health-related, so we guarantee the patient the deduction of the medical expenses and the VAT exemption.
The absence of physical clinics (and, therefore, of fixed costs) allows us to offer professionals a higher compensation than other players in the market. This affects the loyalty of the specialists, who are also all contracted. We cross-check every profile to make sure that all professionals are authorized to perform a given intervention, and only work with insured professionals. Through an internal feedback system we keep the quality high. This results in EpiCura having one of the most widespread networks of home care services in Italy.
EpiCura is a B2B2C and B2C platform. We keep a % fee calculated on the total paid by the patient. Percentage agreements differ depending on the type of intervention required and the duration of the therapy.
Our legal and fiscal structure makes us the sole intermediary between healthcare professionals and patients: we collect all the payments, we issue direct bills and we pay our specialists afterwards. There is no exchange of money or fiscal documentation between the patient and the professional. This dramatically increases the level of control we have on the entire pipeline.
With a larger volume of bookings, a monthly subscription fee may be introduced for the healthcare professionals, as it may be introduced a surcharge for last-minute interventions. These are all maneuvers that we have not implemented initially, with the aim of promoting the use and the diffusion of the service, but which we will consider in the future.
In Italy, the annual physical therapy market has a value between € 1-2bn, the home nursing market exceeds € 6bn (13 millions of Italians every year pay for home nursing services out of pocket) and the annual expense for social-assistance interventions reaches € 10bn and will grow by 25% by 2050 (Istat).
In Italy there are 60k physiotherapists (AIFI), 430k nurses (Censis), almost 300k certified home-care professionals (O.S.S.) (Migep). In our market, more than 20% of doctors currently use digital platforms to manage their appointments (own calculations).
The market is not very concentrated and several players hold very modest market shares. This is mainly due to a territorial fragmentation in the demand and, therefore, of the services offered to users.
The E-Health sector is experiencing exponential growth globally, at rates exceeding 15% per year (Grand View Research, 2016). According to Deloitte (2014), in the near future health facilities will host only surgery and particularly serious cases. All the rest of the therapies and assistance activities, especially for chronic disorders, will be carried out at home.
An increasing number of people rely on private healthcare providers since the national health service cannot satisfy everyone’s needs (IlSole24Ore).
The over-65s, now 20.3% of the population, will exceed 32% in 2043 (Istat). According to Istat, Italy is the second “oldest” country in the world: in Italy in 2018 there are 168 elderly people for every 100 young people. Life expectancy today exceeds 80 years. This is the category that needs home-care services the most, being the least self-sufficient.
4. Traction and results
The turnover grows by 25% month on month in 2018 and, as of today, we generate reservations for about € 15,000 a month, of which 25% comes from returning customers who buy back. Today we have a network of about 500 healthcare professionals spread across 9 cities and we have served more than 700 patients, for a total of over 2,600 home visits provided and total turnover generated of around € 130,000.
After closing our first equity investment round at the end of October 2017 raising €120k, we are now finalising our second investment round for a total amount of €800k – €1mln. In addition to existing investors, more structured entities (business angel associations and small investment funds) will enter EpiCura’s share capital.
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