European health tech startup Kry launches app in the US

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Kry — known in English-speaking markets as “Livi” — offers an app that connects patients with family doctors.

Kry

Swedish digital health start-up Kry has launched a video consultation app in the U.S., marking the firm’s first expansion beyond Europe.

The Stockholm-based company is one of Europe’s largest digital health care providers, facilitating 1.8 million consultations to date. Its closest competitor is Britain’s Babylon, which has racked up over 2 million consultations.

Kry — known in English-speaking markets as Livi — isn’t bringing its main app to the States. Instead, it’s rolling out Livi Connect, a free video consultation platform with less features, in response to a spike in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Johannes Schildt, Kry’s CEO and co-founder, said a full launch could be a potential revenue driver for the company down the line, but added such a move would depend on how well its Livi Connect product performs “post-pandemic.”

Johannes Schildt, co-founder and CEO of Swedish health tech start-up Kry.

Kry

“It’s an entry point,” Schildt told CNBC in an interview. “It’s not a full market launch in terms of launching the full product offering, but an extension of our already-existing product with the U.S.”

“It’s needed at times of crisis,” he added. “Every single consultation that can be done online should be done online. There’s a lack right now of safe and secure tools that are built for this.”

‘Mega shift’

Kry is one of several telemedicine start-ups that have witnessed rapid growth thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. With citizens across the globe sheltering in place due to lockdown restrictions, patients are being encouraged to instead undergo triage and see their doctors remotely over the phone or online.

Babylon also has ambitions to expand in the U.S., with CEO and co-founder Ali Parsa having recently told CNBC the company aims to lure as much as 5% of the country’s population to its telehealth platform.

“The U.S. is the world’s largest health market,” Parsa said in an interview last month. “You cannot be a global winner in digital health without being a winner in the United States. The math doesn’t work.”

Kry says it’s seen clinical consultations more than double since February, coinciding with the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. The company is in talks to partner with a number of U.S. hospital groups, but declined to name any.

“This is a mega shift,” Schildt said. “It was a mega trend even before this pandemic and now this mega trend is being fast-forwarded. We as a company are extremely well positioned to drive a lot of value.”

The company has so far raised more than $230 million from investors including Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Accel, Index Ventures and Creandum. Its Livi Connect app lets doctors send a one-time SMS link out to patients to start a remote video consultation with them.

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