Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kanté, Benjamin Kayser… it’s a surprise transfer negotiated by French unicorn Alan. The start-up specializing in health insurance announced earlier this week to great fanfare a partnership with renowned athletes who will offer masterclasses and professional advice on the application. A strategy reminiscent of Gafas.
The American tech giants have actually understood in recent years that health could offer them a very lucrative new outlet if they managed to differentiate themselves with very playful tools focused on prevention. This is why a Google or an Apple invest so much in their connected watches and offer advice and personal sports training in their health applications. And it is this same strategy that allowed Alan to impose himself on the very locked health insurance market.
The start-up has thus designed its application with extreme care so that even administrative phobias will enjoy using it. Digital third-party payment card, online exchange, repayment history… no more searching for papers, everything is centralized in the app and easy to find. And the experience is fun, with options like trying on glasses in augmented reality.
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However, the central element of Alan’s strategy is to expand the offer so that users have an interest – and a desire – to consult the application on a daily basis: it is an absolute condition for carrying out prevention with them. Alan is thus responsible for alerting the users when it is time for them to resume appointments with the dentist, the ophthalmologist, to make their vaccination reminders or the medical follow-up of the children.
Virtual clinic and mental health
The start-up has also built a virtual clinic in the app, where customers can ask questions seven days a week to health professionals from 10 different specialties (general practitioner, dermatologist, paediatrician, dietitian, etc.). Alan’s brilliance may still be the takeover of the American company Jour a year ago for $20 million. Indeed, this is what allowed him to invest in mental health by launching Alan Mind, a service offering personalized support and exercises in this area.
“Mental health is a very important area where it is sometimes difficult to take the first step, we wanted to demystify all this and make these tools more accessible”, explains Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve. This strategy appeals to its intended audience, namely companies looking for health coverage for their employees. Prevention is certainly a win-win approach: members avoid health errors and companies the health costs they entail.
Results? Six years after its creation, Alan has convinced more than 18,000 companies in France, but also in Spain and Belgium, insuring 340,000 employees in total. The start-up now generates more than 220 million in revenue and employs 530 employees. However, the unicorn still has challenges ahead. “The giants of the industry have decades of bounty history, so they retain a decisive advantage over these new entrants,” says one venture capitalist.
The sector’s giants on the lookout
Although less agile than startups, incumbents monitor the innovations they build very closely and will not hesitate to reproduce the options that appeal most. In the banking sector, for example, traditional institutions have been slow to offer applications and websites worthy of the name, but since they have made the move, their digital products have nothing to envy many neobankers. Result: after a promising start, many of them have all the trouble in the world to transform the test.
At Alan, however, optimism reigns. “We are convinced of our ability to be one step ahead of the competition”, assures Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve confidently. Even the decline in technology investments in 2022 does not worry the team: “We had foreseen this gloomy context and we were organized so that the fundraising last May would be the last one necessary to achieve the profitability that we expect in 2025. .” With the 183 million euros obtained in the spring, Alan the unicorn now has enough to gallop for a long time.
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