Swedish doctor-patient video app Kry to expand into France

LONDON (Reuters) - Kry, the best-funded digital health care start-up in Europe, said on Friday it would expand into France later this month with its smartphone-based app that connects patients to doctors for advice, prescriptions and medical referrals.

The company describes its service as aiming to provide “hassle free” primary health care. It works with the publicly-funded national health systems of the countries where it operates, which so far include Sweden, Norway and Spain.

Using the Kry app, patients schedule a 15-minute video call with a doctor. Ahead of the appointment, they are asked to describe symptoms in writing, upload relevant pictures and respond to symptom-specific questions before consulting the doctor. A consultation costs around $25 per session but typically can be reimbursed by insurance, the company said.

Kry said it would operate in France and other European markets where it plans to expand under a new brand name - Livi, a play on “liv” the word for life in Swedish. Kry, which means “healthy”, will continue to be its brand in Nordic markets.

It has also said it planned to introduce its medical services into Britain, followed by other European markets where regulations allow so-called “telemedicine” to be dispensed. Doctors can prescribe medications or make medical referrals.

A French law to allow medical diagnosis and treatment to be delivered online goes into effect this month, clearing the way for Kry/Livi to open its business there.

To fund its expansion, the Swedish company raised $66 million in June in a financing round led by Index Ventures along with existing venture capital backers Accel, Creandum and Project A. It has raised $99 million since its founding in 2014.

San Francisco-based Doctor on Demand, which operates a comparable service accepted by major private health insurers, has raised $160 million in financing over the last five years.

Kry employs 350 certified medical professionals who work from home fielding calls from patients on their mobile phones or tablets. It also has another 200 employees, many of whom develop technology that provide medical expertise and administrative support to doctors.

Six months ago it launched an online psychology service which has already made it the largest provider of cognitive behavioral therapy treatments in Sweden, Kry said.

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; Editing by Mark Potter