Startup founded to help an 'NHS in crisis' by creating digital clinics accessed as easily as online banking

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Digital Technology Data management Patient centricity NHS Pharmaceutical companies

A husband-and-wife team keen to find a solution to an ‘NHS in crisis’ have secured $1.5 million in seed funding for their UK-based startup providing AI-powered clinical and drug prescription services for minor conditions.

Evaro was founded in 2018 by Thuria Wenbar, an emergency doctor and software developer, and her husband, Oskar Wendowski, a pharmacist, after they discovered that 25% of accident and emergency (A&E) consultations and 40% of GP appointments were focused on minor health conditions.

The round was led by Cornerstone VC and Exceptional Ventures, with participation from Catalisi's investment arm, Syndicate Room, and the University of East Anglia. The funding will be used to expand Evaro’s offering to the B2B market by offering a plug-and-play product that will allow consumer brands to offer managed medication prescription services to their customers. 

With a team made up of clinicians, technologists, and digital health experts, the husband-and-wife team says Evaro’s vision is to provide scalable, safe, and affordable care to people in the UK, via a self-service model focused on routine health needs.

Pharmaceutical infrastructure as a service

They believe they are standing out from the crowded digital health space, and say Evaro is unique in its B2B ‘pharmaceutical infrastructure as a service’ offer. They work with consumer brands to offer drugs that are relevant to their existing product lines and consumer demographics - i.e. dermatology treatments for cosmetics companies. Their model allows brands to expand their offering and increase consumer engagement through prescription offerings that can traditionally only be acquired through very long wait times within the NHS.

Wenbar, CEO of Evaro, said: “The NHS is in crisis: you can now wait up to four weeks for a GP appointment - made worse by funding cuts and staff shortages. The information overload triggered by AI tools’ broad availability means the risks of patients self-medicating are only getting greater. Our objective is to help people get faster treatments for their minor health issues, safely, as, and when they need them. And we’re going to achieve this by turning digital clinics into a viable commercial opportunity for big brands.”

Evaro uses an artificial intelligence and machine learning model trained on 13.5m patient records to provide access to AI-driven asynchronous consultations and private prescription medication. It also uses a stringent regulatory-compliant patient safety process through which online treatment requests require an asynchronous consultation, with mechanisms to detect answer manipulation and drug orders are scrutinised for safe dosages and quantities, with GP notifications when necessary. 

Wendowski added: “We’re already helping 350,000 people get access to healthcare as easily and securely as they access online banking. We now want to scale this. Our B2B strategy focuses on empowering brands in sectors such as cosmetics, sex health, and travel to venture into the digital health space without the complexities of technology, regulation, and fulfilment, thanks to our plug-and-play service. We hope this will help relieve part of the burden of non-urgent appointments from GPs and emergency care.”

Tapping into burgeoning e-pharmacy market

Evaro says it is tapping into the burgeoning e-pharmacy market, currently valued at £5.6 billion in the UK and expected to reach $261 billion globally by 2030. The funding will see Evaro's medication catalogue grow from 200 to 2,000 treatments, covering 70% of minor health issues typically addressed by NHS doctors. The company also aims to acquire its Care Quality Commission (CQC) licence, enabling more comprehensive patient care, including diagnosis and therapy initiation.

Rodney Appiah, founder, and managing director at Cornerstone VC, commented: “I’m inspired by Thuria and Oskar’s vision to democratise access to healthcare by providing the software needed for brands to meet their customers’ most common healthcare needs, freeing up valuable time for doctors and nurses without compromising treatment.

“Imagine a world where your favourite cosmetics company can offer prescriptions for acne, eczema and psoriasis or an over 50s company can offer tailored insurance services alongside healthcare services relating to menopause, erectile dysfunction or regular health screenings. That is what they’re building, together with redefining the standards of safety and efficiency in online healthcare. We couldn’t be more proud to back them."

Related news

Related products

show more

Using Define-XML to build more efficient studies

Using Define-XML to build more efficient studies

Content provided by Formedix | 14-Nov-2023 | White Paper

It is commonly thought that Define-XML is simply a dataset descriptor: a way to document what datasets look like, including the names and labels of datasets...

Efficient Freezing & Storage of Biopharmaceuticals

Efficient Freezing & Storage of Biopharmaceuticals

Content provided by Single Use Support | 06-Nov-2023 | White Paper

Various options exist for freezing biopharmaceutical bulk material, but selecting the most effective and efficient approach for each cold chain can be...

Why should you use clinical trial technology?

Why should you use clinical trial technology?

Content provided by Formedix | 01-Nov-2023 | White Paper

New, innovative clinical trial technology is helping to revolutionize the research landscape. COVID-19 demonstrated that clinical trials can be run much...

Related suppliers