Seattle startup 98point6 wants to be Amazon Prime of primary care: 7 notes

A different kind of telemedicine startup, dubbed 98point6, recently raised $50 million toward its goal of becoming the Amazon Prime of primary care, CNBC reports.

Seven things to know:

1. 98point6 was co-founded by Robbie Cape, who formerly worked on Microsoft and on Cozi, a family planning software, and now serves as 98point6 CEO, with the goal of building the next health brand in a way that meets patients' demands as consumers.

2. He's consulted with other big industry names for the startup, including Rob Schwietzer, the former head of Amazon Prime who now serves as 98point6's chief product officer. Other team members include Amazon cloud veteran Damon Lanphear, who heads up the technology team; Brad Younggren, MD, who serves as 98Point6 CMO; and former surgeon general under the Obama administration, Regina Benjamin, MD, who sits on the company's board.

3. The goal of 98point6 is to increase patient access to direct primary care in a way that uses technology to bring down the cost. 98point6 operates a subscription model designed to support patients' relationships with their physicians. The first year of the services costs $20, and every year thereafter is priced at $120.

"Our hope is that our users [will engage with it] literally every month about something related to their health," Mr. Cape told CNBC.

4. So far, about 50 self-insured employers — including Seattle Children's Hospital — have signed on to 98point6, pushing its member count up to 160,000 when including those who pay out of pocket. What's more, 98point6 says its service's utilization rate — or the percentage of employees who take advantage of the benefit — is 6 percent, an increase from an average of 2 percent to 3 percent at other telemedicine companies.

5. 98point6, which employs 16 physicians, is licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., according to CNBC.

6. The startup's recent funding round was led by Goldman Sachs' merchant banking division, with help from several individual investors.

7. As for competition in the space, 98point6 hopes to soon become a household name, just like Amazon Prime.

"Everyone claims to have a great value proposition," Mr. Cape told the publication. "But that needs to be combined that an experience that people literally want to talk about. An experience that is so good that you just want to tell people about it."

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