In its first investment since the announcement that Google would become Alphabet, Google Capital has put a major vote of confidence into the future of health care in the tech sector.
A vote of confidence to the tune of $32.5 million.
Google Capital, a growth equity fund and part of Google/Alphabet’s investment arm, has previously backed ventures like Duolingo, Survey Monkey, and Glassdoor, as the Wall Street Journal points out in its report. Now, Oscar Health Insurance Corp. joins those ranks, but there’s reason to believe Google’s interests in health care go beyond the investment.
Oscar is a health insurance startup that hopes to change the way that people buy and interact with their health care coverage by using technology paired with simple and intuitive design. By clearly laying out coverage options, connecting customers directly to providers, and keeping track of care, Oscar already sets itself apart from the pack of large health insurance providers, which continue to lean on outdated technology that drives a wedge between customers and their coverage.
“Health care is slow to change, and the tech is outdated,” says Forrester Research health care analyst Kate McCarthy. “New competitors help push large payers forward and are a good way to test the market to see what works.”
Oscar isn’t the only startup attempting to push the health insurance industry forward, though. Accordion Health‘s customer-facing insurance solution Pistachio helps customers explore their options by comparing Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side.
“I think Oscar is a starting point for a huge change in health care, and we are working just as hard (or harder) in bringing about consumerism within health care through our tools, such as Pistachio,” says Accordion Health CEO Sriram Visiwanath. “We have a fraction of the resources of Oscar, but the same shared goal of making health plan risk management way more operationally, financially efficient, consumer-driven and UX-centric.”