A year after raising 185 million euros, the insurtech Alan is accelerating its growth in Europe. Its co-founder and CEO gives an update on his projects and his long-term vision for the start-up.
JDN. How does Alan differ from other health mutuals?
Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve. Insurance is a historically highly intermediated market, with the presence of brokers in particular. The presence of these intermediaries has created a certain disconnection between certain mutuals and their members. They are thus deprived of valuable customer feedback allowing them to innovate. Conversely, at Alan we constantly seek the satisfaction of our members. Insurance companies are not technology companies. They specialize in risk management but not in user experience, as is our case. We took a very different approach to the problem by positioning ourselves as a wellness partner from our inception. We created insurance simply because we thought it was the best way to get there. Over time, Alan has developed different skills: the product, the design, the corporate culture but also all the technology that allows us to automate certain tasks to bring, at scale, more effectively value to our members. .
Did your lack of experience in this insurance sector help you to innovate?
It is indeed very difficult to innovate and break away when you have worked for twenty years in a sector. From the start, we put ourselves in the shoes of an average user by asking ourselves what our expectations would be. Our goal has not been to create the best insurance, but to become a partner that our members can count on for all their interactions related to their health and well-being, both in body and in spirit. The creation of a health mutual is simply the first brick and we have added other services since. Alan now has 275,000 members from 14,000 different companies and with 15% self-employed. The company, present in France, Spain and Belgium, employs 180 people.
Concretely, what types of services do you offer?
Our vision is to be the fully integrated health partner for our members. In other words, to make Alan the single point of contact for everything related to health and well-being. Our priority for this year is mental health. In particular, we have developed Alan Mind, an app based on targeted educational content and techniques from behavioral and cognitive therapies.
Alan has also developed other services such as our virtual clinic which allows you to chat with general practitioners, pediatricians, nutritionists, etc. We also provide our members with prevention tools to tell them when to carry out certain medical checks, such as dental care or vaccinations. We have also created Alan Map, a search engine that helps our customers find a healthcare professional. We want to continue to innovate by developing new services.
Can we imagine Alan evolving as a platform that would integrate services developed by third-party companies?
We do not forbid it. However, the company has to reach a certain scale for this to make sense. Offering these services to our existing customers is interesting. We also have new customers who have not subscribed to our mutual health insurance and who have chosen to subscribe only to Alan Mind.
Where are you in your development in Spain and Belgium?
We are experiencing faster growth in Belgium than in France over a similar period. Spain is also showing good results with growth similar to France in the same period. This is explained by the fact that the Belgian system for mutuals is complementary, just like in France. In Spain, on the other hand, it is an additional system. A learning curve was therefore necessary to adapt, but the year 2021 allowed us to validate that we could succeed internationally, despite the difference in health systems in each country. We are now the first company in the sector to reach such a European scale with a single technical platform in all countries.
What will be the next country to be able to subscribe to Alan? Is an acquisition of a foreign competitor to enter a new market being studied?
“We are aiming for the profitability of our French activities in 2024 and globally in 2025”
Nothing is decided yet and we are still discussing it internally. We first want to consolidate our position in our markets this year before aiming for new ones in 2023. What is interesting with the health sector is that even the countries considered “small” are important markets and can represent tens of billions of euros. We really don’t believe in acquiring companies to enter a new market because there are no players in Europe for whom an acquisition would make sense. We prefer to grow organically with our own products.
What is the profile of your customers? Is the business profitable?
Alan’s offer is aimed at companies of all sectors and of all sizes. Companies in the technology sector, including IT services companies and consulting companies, are an important segment. But we are also experiencing strong growth in all of our segments, starting with the hotel and restaurant sector. Our portfolio is also very diversified with customers from the industrial sector, delivery, mass distribution, nursery networks, etc. Regarding our turnover, our annualized revenue (ARR) now exceeds 170 million euros. We are aiming for the profitability of our French activities in 2024 and globally in 2025.
How do you see Alan evolving in the years to come?
By 2030, we want Alan to become the all-in-one healthcare partner for Europeans. This means having a presence in many countries and perhaps even outside of Europe. By this time, we hope to reach 20-25 million Europeans. We wish to become a partner for all questions related to physical and mental health but also of the whole family in the broad sense. This could include services related to family education, fertility, or the management of certain chronic diseases. In other words, to make Alan a complete and international partner. We also recently launched an “Alan as a service” platform which allows small and medium-sized mutuals to provide access to our applications to their members. We think this is an interesting growth lever for developing in certain segments.
Is an IPO under consideration?
No not right now. We still have a lot to build. By 2030, Alan will surely have gone public in order to provide liquidity to our stakeholders, but this is not an objective as such for us. It’s just one step.
Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve is co-founder and CEO of Alan. The company has raised over €300 million since its inception in 2016 from investors including Coatue, Index Ventures, and Temasek. Jean-Charles is the author of “Healthy Business” (Storylab, 2020), on corporate culture. Before that, he created Expliseat. He holds an MSc in Engineering from Ecole des Ponts Paristech and an MBA from the College of Engineers.