17. Oscar

Hipster health insurance company

Founders: Mario Schlosser, Josh Kushner, Kevin Nazemi
Date launched: 2013
Funding: $175 million*
Industries disrupted: Health care, insurance, hospitals

A company knows it's starting to get some traction when it's called the Uber or Airbnb of its industry. That's the sweet spot that Oscar occupies now in the health-care industry. Less than 18 months after opening for business, this New York City-based company commands a heady $1.5 billion valuation and has raised $175 million from a group led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, General Catalyst Partners, Khosla Ventures and Thrive Capital.


The company launched on the New York State health plan marketplace and recently added New Jersey. Oscar is setting itself apart from other health insurers by emphasizing technology, data and easy-to-understand explanations of its services.

Co-founder Josh Kushner has said he was inspired to start the firm when he couldn't make sense of a bill from his health insurance company. The Oscar home page features simple language, and there are good search functions to find a specialist. So far, it claims that 40,000 customers have enrolled—more than double what it had a year ago.

*Funding level as of March 1, 2015, the date the nomination process closed for the 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50. Oscar closed an additional round of funding on April 20, bringing its total as of publication to $320 million.

(Left to right) Mario Schlosser, Kevin Nazemi and Josh Kushner of Oscar
Source: Oscar Insurance
(Left to right) Mario Schlosser, Kevin Nazemi and Josh Kushner of Oscar
"We opened one of our own insurance bills, only to realize we could not make any sense of it. As a consumer, we saw this as an opportunity to simplify the complicated and difficult-to-understand health insurance business, utilizing new technology, data and design." -Mario Schlosser, co-founder and CEO, Oscar

Latest Special Reports

  • Aerial view of containers and cargo ships at the Port of Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2022 in San Pedro, California.

    In an era of rapid technological advances and demographic change, how do legacy companies adapt, innovate and evolve? CNBC Evolve features iconic global companies and executives who are embracing change and transforming for the future.

  • Financial advisors stress that now is the time for investors to get serious about year-end financial planning checkup.