Arturo Sanchez and his co-founders have spent the past two years developing the telemedicine and insurance platform, Sofia, as a way to give customers across Mexico better access to quality healthcare through their insurance plan.
Along with his co-founders, Sebastian Jimenez, a former Google employee who serves as the company’s chief product officer, and Manuel Andere an ex-Patreon employee who’s now Sofia’s chief technology officer, Sanchez (a former Index Ventures employee) is on a path to provide low-cost insurance for middle class consumers across Latin America, starting in Mexico City.
Backing that vision are a clutch of regional and international investors including Kaszek Ventures, Ribbit Capital, and Index Ventures. When Index Ventures came in to lead the company’s $19 million round earlier this year, it was the first commitment that the venture firm had made in Latin America, but given the strength of the market, it likely won’t be their last.
In Sofia, Index has found a good foothold from which to expand its activity. The company which initially started as a telemedicine platform recently received approvals to operate as an insurer as well — part of a long-term vision for growth where it provides a full service health platform for customers.
Founded by three college friends who graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (Mexico’s version of MIT), the company initially launched with COVID-19 related telemedicine service as the pandemic took hold in Mexico.
That service was a placeholder for what Sanchez said was the broader company vision. And while that product alone had 10,000 users signed up for it, the new vision is broader.
“We registered as an insurance company because we want to go deeper into people’s health. We have built a telemedicine solution, which is a core component of the product. The goal is to be an integrated provider that provide primary care and handles more significant types of illnesses,” said Sanchez.
The company already has a core group of 100 physicians in Mexico City and initially will be serving the city with 70 different specialist areas.
All the virtual consultations are covered without an additional payment and in-person or specialty consultations come at a 30% reduced rate to an out-of-pocket payment, according to Sanchez.
Fees depend on age and gender, but Sanchez said a customer would typically pay around $500 per-year or roughly between $40 and $50 per-month.
The company covers 70% of the cost of most treatments that’s capped at $2,000 per-year and coverage maxes out at $75,000. “In Mexico that covers north of 98% of all illnesses or treatment episodes,” said Sanchez.
In Mexico, insurance is even less common than in the US.
“90% of private health spend happens out of pocket. The problem that we’re trying to solve is for these people that are already spending money on healthcare but doing it in an unpredictable and risky way,” said Sanchez. “They buy [our service] and they have access to great quality healthcare that they buy it and it’s a significant step up from what they’ve been living with.”