Ali Parsa, the founder and chief executive of fast-rising digital health startup babylon, is to speak at DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards event on March 7. He joins a stellar line-up on stage alongside our award winners, celebrating the very best of UK tech for good. Julian Blake reports.
Dr Ali Parsa, the founder and chief executive of babylon health – a business on a tech for good mission – is to join DigitalAgenda on stage at London’s Oval Space for the 2018 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards on Wednesday March 7.
Parsa, an engineer and serial healthcare entrepreneur, joins confirmed speakers Matthew Gould, the government’s digital director general and UN-backed Project Everyone’s Gail Gallie, for our afternoon-into-evening awards event.
Three hundred people join us for the Impact Awards on March 7, at an event connecting innovators, investors, policymakers, academics, media and more. Tickets are on sale at reasonable prices – buy yours now.
Last year, London-based babylon was among the first set of winners of our inaugural Impact Awards, picking up the trophy in our health category at a ceremony at the Barbican Centre.
Parsa, a former investment banker with Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, previously created a Europe-wide network of clinicians during nine years at Circle, building it to 3,000 employees and leading it through a successful IPO.
He took Circle’s network element and combined it with the power of machines and medical expertise to create babylon in 2014, with the ambitious goal of “putting an accessible and affordable health service into the hands of every person on earth”.
Parsa says: “When we see how much can be done with existing technology, to improve access to healthcare for people everywhere, we ask ourselves two simple questions: if not us, then who? If not now, then when? There are no excuses for not trying.”
babylon offers a new digital health service that aims to be immediate, personalised and universal. Its offer combines virtual video calls with GPs, alongside artificial intelligence health services that can remotely check symptoms, triage, monitor and manage health.
Following the roll-out of a free pilot service for the NHS that deployed babylon’s Ai-enabled symptom checker, last year babylon launched its free GP at Hand video consultation service for the NHS. That service offers consultations 24/7, with video conferences usually available within two hours.
In April last year, soon after receiving our award, babylon secured £50m in investment from a consortium including NNS holdings, Vostok New Ventures and Kinnevik. That series B funding followed an £18m series A round in 2016.
The funding rounds have helped the company to assemble a London team of over 200 that includes scientists, clinicians, mathematicians and engineers. The company focuses on “combining the computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans”.
Babylon has had millions of app downloads, including in Rwanda in east Africa, where almost 10% of the adult population there registered with the service in its first six months.
Babylon’s offer spans both private and NHS, and Parsa is a firm advocate of more private involvement in the NHS. He believes technological advance means computers will eventually perform better than doctors when it comes to diagnosis.
Earlier this month, Parsa was one of the high-profile signatories to the Workfinder pledge, promising meaningful work placements to young people.
DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards take place at Oval Space, London E2, on Wednesday March 7. Tickets start at £49, with discounts available for groups and network members.