British digital healthcare startup Babylon has raised $25m, the largest series A funding round in European digital healthcare till date. The mobile app, which launched in February last year, has built an artificially intelligent “doctor” that can decode symptoms and prevent illnesses before they occur, by tracking your daily habits, and integrating data about your heart rate, diet and your medical records.
Sources close to the business say it is currently valued significantly higher than $100m. Investors include successful British entrepreneurs such as the founders of Innocent Drinks and DeepMind, the Google-owned artificial intelligence company.
Currently, the London-based startup offers a mobile doctor app used by 250,000 people in the UK – pay £4.99 a month, and get 7-days-a-week access to their pool of human doctors over video chat.
Nearly 60 businesses including Citigroup, Sky, and MasterCard, as well as health insurance providers such as Bupa and Aviva, have partnered with Babylon to offer its services to UK employees.
Babylon is also trialling a partnership with the NHS, with a new pilot in Birmingham that makes its services available to the broader UK population.
The Telegraph tested an early version of the AI doctor. It can respond to questions about standard medical symptoms like headaches or fevers, by asking relevant questions (such as “did you hit your head?” or “are you feeling dizzy, nauseous?” and “do you have a fever?”), and tell you the best course of action.
Crunching hundreds of millions of variations of symptoms and outcomes, it may suggest going to a pharmacist, staying hydrated or booking a GP appointment.
It will also remind you to take medication, but will not prescribe. To flag up future illness, it analyses physiological, biological and medical history data. For instance, it can warn you about higher than normal heart rate, suggesting you may develop a cold.
“We can use artificial intelligence to start predicting the future of your health,” chief executive Ali Parsa said. “I genuinely believe Britain has a great chance to be a global leader in digital health.”