National Australia Bank’s (NAB) internal venture capital fund has unveiled its second official investment in a start-up that could disrupt the lender’s own business that services healthcare operators.
NAB, the nation’s biggest business lender by assets, will today reveal a stake in Medipass Solutions, an Australian start-up that claims to deliver an “Uber-like” solution for practitioners, patients and insurers in the $59 billion healthcare booking and payments market. The undisclosed investment gives the bank a minority, non-controlling interest in Medipass, which NAB Labs executive general manager Jonathan Davey said was deliberate to allow the start-up to be agile and “a big bank like NAB could make (that) difficult”.
It marks NAB Ventures’ second investment after taking a slice of Data Republic, although Mr Davey indicated that the fund had put more of its $50 million of capital to work in unannounced deals.
Medipass, formed out of tech company Localz, allows customers to freely search healthcare providers, get a cost estimate (including how much private health insurance will cover), make an appointment, pay and claim. It has an app that is accessed via smartphones and is also integrated with private health funds’ own systems.
The start-up threatens to disrupt NAB’s HICAPS payment processing platform that was formed in 1998 and allows businesses to instantly process private healthcare and Medicare claims for customers.
But practitioners need a terminal to use HICAPS and pay NAB a monthly fee. With Medipass, practitioners pay a basis-point charge on the gap component of patient bills. Insurers are charged a processing fee.
While Mr Davey declined to disclose the charges, he suggested Medipass would be far cheaper than HICAPS terminals and NAB Labs opted to invest to get “ahead of the curve” after noticing rapid change in the payments space.
Medipass Solutions co-founder Pete Williams, also product director at Localz, said: “When we presented this to the executive team at NAB, the response was go faster, which is pretty refreshing.”
Mr Davey said the Medipass investment was a “fantastic example” of NAB being prepared to “really challenge the way the organisation operates”.