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We're building Miko into a marketplace

Plug: Our number of partnerships for our alpha and beta rollouts are filling up fast, if you are a provider who would like to be involved, or just learn more, click here.

Health touches every part of our lives. It literally is the dominant determinant with respect to what we can do on a day-to-day basis.

However, instead of thinking about how care fits into the way we live, and how it can help us achieve our goals and ambitions, many traditional care providers have built their business models with legacy technology and disparate systems be they private or public sector, and as a result increase their cost base, reduce efficiency, and yet still manage to make juicy margins.

In Ireland, for example, a patient cannot decipher the difference between almost-identical products and services, so we tend to choose our pharmacy, GP, and insurance provider for relatively arbitrary reasons. In some cases we stay with them forever, and allow them to fulfil all our healthcare needs. Because of this, the customer is locked-in to a lower bound of customer experience, and there’s little incentive to improve this. We stay so loyal to some brands, these providers aren’t incentivised to deliver better products or lower prices, and the patient ends up losing out.

Sometimes, these providers come up with new innovations that would benefit the customer—examples include, teleconsultations, at-home lab tests, and delivery services. In some cases, these ideas would undermine profits based on the current business model that providers operate under so they rarely see the light of day (Regulation and red tape play a large role in this too). In many other cases, it's because healthcare people aren't tech people. This is where Miko can provide a solution as a technology company that works with healthcare, to provide the best care service in the world.

Luckily, over recent years a raft of technology companies and incumbents willing to try change, have emerged offering smart products in specific areas like teleconsultation and at-home lab testing. They’re easy to use, offer great customer service and good value.

New businesses like Letsgetchecked, along with Him&Hers, Calm, Headspace and Yoppie offer market-leading services, albeit private sector based. What’s more, you can sign up for these services in minutes from the comfort of your own home, compared to the days or weeks associated with the expensive referral process embedded in the public healthcare system that is operating under serious pressure, with enormous waiting lists. This isn't a money problem.

Ireland’s total healthcare expenditure (HCE) as a share of national income ranks 1st in the EU15, ESRI.

These companies give people more options. This same revolution has taken place in clothing, and entertainment, we are in the middle of it with finance, and with healthcare, we are only getting going. However, dealing with a dozen discrete providers – each with their own app – isn’t always the easiest thing.

We believe that managing your health should be easy. That you should be able to make the best healthcare decisions for yourself, with very little effort, and control all your health from one place.

To help you do that, our goal is to build a mobile healthcare provider, one control centre, a single hub that you can use to manage your entire healthcare experience. In order to give you access to the best products and services from across the market, we believe that hub should be a marketplace.

It might seem remarkable that these new companies can offer both better prices and better customer experience. But this isn’t a new phenomenon—it’s the relentless march of technology. It’s why Uber can send a car to pick people up outside their front door in 3 minutes at half the cost. It's why Revolut can instantaneously process P2P payments, and charge low exchange fees.

This is why Miko has a singular focus — to build a technology company that can provide the best care in the world — rather than selling dozens of different healthcare products ourselves, and trying to rebuild the hospital, the pharmacy, the GP practice, the insurance provider and everything in-between. We can focus on what we know best, whilst offering our customers access to the best products & services from across the market. (Apologies for the unaesthetic diagram below lol)

Our sleep services are so good, we put it in their twice!

But anyway, imagine opening an account in 30 seconds from your phone, and instantly having access to affordable tele doctors, at-home lab tests, prescription services, hair loss treatments, meditation, sleep services, tele counsellors, toiletries, personalised beauty & wellness products. Imagine receiving smart reminders to take every pill, order every refill, and book every important appointment. Imagine your care provider sending push notifications so you remember to bring your medicine to work every morning. Imagine your care provider syncing with your wearable so it can offer you intelligent insights into your health.

These are the kinds of seamless, relevant, convenient experiences we’re aspiring to build across all categories of health. (With the partnerships we've already agreed, we can do all of the above)

Integrating with innovative healthcare services and technology providers is an obvious step to giving customers control over their health. Instead of thinking we “own the customer”, Miko users will have the power to choose, based on price, convenience and customer-service.

The future will be marketplace health.

Monzo tried to do this in banking, and it didn't work out exactly as planned, because they were a regulated bank. Therefore integration, from a technology perspective on a scale of dozens and dozens of providers, wasn't as easy with a watchdog slowing everything down. That won't be as big an issue for us. It's also worth noting that Monzo is still worth £4.5bn as of December 2021. Some of our care providers will be operating on the platform through an integration built between our developers and theirs, the majority will be selling through our marketplace. Our marketplace solutions will operate as more of a hybrid between the Monzo model, and the Amazon marketplace model.

We’re now at the exciting point where we can really start work on making that vision into a reality. On top of offering all of the products and services outlined above, we want to identify opportunities where we can make your life easier in the most convenient, relevant way possible. This will mean helpful suggestions. Say you’ve just landed in another country. We’ll know if you don’t already have travel insurance (with us anyway), so we'll be able to offer you a choice of cover. You could then buy insurance from within the Miko app, so you’re protected while you’re away. We might see that you bought a Covid-19 test for travel purposes through the Miko app. We could then recommend a basket of travel essentials, to save you the hassle of remembering to buy everything individually, and then actually having to go and buy everything individually.

In the future, we also plan to build APIs for specific product categories, so partners can integrate with Miko and offer their services to users from within the Miko app. And a general API will allow third-party developers to do the same thing. This will give customers access to a broad range of products and services, in the same convenient way.

A marketplace will only work if you trust us, and feel confident that we can help you access products and services that you can trust too. We know it’s important that we partner with companies whose values we believe in and respect.

Therefore, we’re seeking to work with partners that provide great customer service, good value, or that can offer other qualities that matter to our users, like being carbon neutral, for example. Our goal is to build a company that’s here to help customers for years and years to come. Building a marketplace and partnering with other companies will play a large part in our plan to build a sustainable business.

When we help people improve their health by introducing them to a new provider, we’ll be able to earn commission on every customer we refer. As our marketplace grows, we hope to build something that economically incentivises us to give value to our customers. For example, we shouldn't be encouraging patients to switch healthcare providers, for the sake of it, so we earn a commission. In the future this may involve a revenue share model, where we’d be paid a proportion of the profits a supplier earns from each customer over a period of time, meaning we make money when customers are getting a good deal.

We want to find the fairest way of being paid, and will continue to test different approaches, to make sure we find something that fits in each case.

We’re building a company that solves people’s problems, which means that our incentives and our customers’ incentives need to be the same: what benefits us, should also benefit you.

Instead of trying to flog you products and services where we know we’ll make a higher profit, in this marketplace model, we make money by helping you manage and make the most of your health.

Because our incentives are the same, you’ll be able to trust that we’re never trying to hoodwink you into taking a bad deal, and feel confident that we’re hard at work, making sure you have more choice, control and access to the best products and services from across the market.

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