Founders: Josh Kushner (CEO), Kevin Nazemi, Mario Schlosser
Date launched: 2013
Funding: $150 million
Industry disrupted: Health Insurance
Disrupting: Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare
Competition: The Health Co-op, Health Republic Insurance, North Shore-LIJ Health
When you think of the likely founders of a new health insurance company, technology experts and Silicon Valley venture capitalists hardly spring to mind. But that's just who's behind Oscar, a New York City-based start-up that launched on the New York State health plan marketplace. It claims to be a health insurance company built for the Internet age, with an emphasis on technology and data.
CEO and co-founder Josh Kushner, also the founder of Thrive Capital and an early investor in online eyewear darling Warby Parker, has said he was inspired to start the company last year when he received a health insurance bill and couldn't make sense of it. The home page of the Oscar website features easy-to-understand language and graphics. Plans include complimentary telemedicine visits, and there are good search functions to find a specialist.
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Oscar's technology also allows customers to compare in-network providers by looking at cost estimates of a doctor visit, location, patient demographics and the languages spoken in the medical practice. So far, there are 40,000 doctors and 80 hospitals in the company's network.
Already an Internet darling, Oscar raised an $80 million investment round of venture capital in May. Formation8's Joe Lonsdale led the round. The funding brought the valuation of the 1-year-old company to $800 million.
How did you come up with your big idea?
"Oscar was created when we opened one of our own insurance bills, only to realize we could not make any sense of it."