In Germany, there is around 8.7 million people who are privately insured. However, the current German health insurance system is deemed unmodern, flawed and complicated. Especially for expats, signing up for a private health insurance often causes a headache. Although insurance companies would like to modernize it, the system has been there since the introduction of the Health Insurance Bill by Otto von Bismarck in 1883.

    So what can one do to bring innovations into the healthcare market? One potential solution is to start an insurance company like the startup ottonova did.

    Frank Birzle, the co-Founder & CTO at ottonova, explained the consequences of the lack of flexibility in the healthcare market: “It’s a big challenge to innovate the healthcare system. Someone must pay for the whole thing, so there is a need for a business model. Finding a partner is rather difficult, since one traditionally works with insurance companies or large clinics. They are already established, usually have slow and complicated processes and are also very risk-averse. If one comes as a startup without a long company history and probably also not much funding, then these companies are always very sceptical and actually not prepared to work with you as a startup.”

    Private Health Insurance for the “Smartphone Generation”

    From finding the right insurance, to scheduling appointments, ottonova offers all services within one click. Customers can choose between Business Class of First Class tariff and even extend the coverage further if necessary. With ever increasing number of employees coming from abroad, ottonova’s goal is to makes their lives easier.

    But that’s not all. To address the “smartphone generation”, with ottonova, patients can reach their doctors via video call or ask their personal concierge for help of any kind. The user friendly app reminds patients about their upcoming appointments and stores all the necessary documentation—no more paperwork.

    Ottonova raised a total of €25 million in funding over 3 rounds. However, so far the Munich startup managed to only get a few hundreds of customers and its goal of reaching 12000 to become profitable is yet to be accomplished.