Stephen Hampson, Investment Director, Oxford Capital
Medical scans are a critical source of information for diagnosis and treatment and waiting times can lead to enormous anxiety and impact the time taken to receive essential treatment. While increasingly, medical imaging is seen as a key piece of information for clinicians, there is a clear need to facilitate patient access to medical scans in a way that supports and enhances the health system. Digital health company, National MRI (nMRI) has taken on this challenge and we recently co-led a Seed funding round to accelerate their roll-out. We wanted to share some thoughts on why we chose to back the team and why we believe their future growth trajectory is looking so promising:
A significant value-add business model
Multi-sided business models are hard to assess and very hard to get right but have the potential for explosive growth. National MRI connects several elements of an existing marketplace; sites with imaging machines and spare imaging capacity with patients that would rather pay than wait. They have developed a two-sided model because they need to recruit both scanning sites and patients. This means managing complexity to find the balance; too few sites and the waiting time increases, too few patients and the sites don’t make enough revenue. The location of each site is also important to minimise the distance patients will need to travel to get a scan.
Although nMRI appears to be a simple marketplace, connecting consumers of scans to providers, it is more specifically a vertical, service-oriented market. A solution that involves connecting multiple users enabling high-value collaboration in a regulation-compliant way. As well as the patient and scanning centre, the GP and radiologist also need to be involved. Users require an efficient workflow solution, that will allow them to interact, collaborate, and transact on the same platform. This reduces costs and leads to a higher quality of service with increased overall value for all participants.
Strong industry (and consumer?) drivers
Long wait times for scans aren’t caused only by the pandemic. There is a growing demand to get the valuable information provided by a medical scan into the diagnostic process more quickly, producing a faster diagnosis and pathway to treatment. New imaging access methods will only add to this opportunity.
Great people with dynamic capability
Even with a great business model and a growing market, you need the right team to pull it off. At Oxford Capital we prioritise backing founders. We look for deep industry knowledge and relentless energy to come up with ideas on how to grow the business. The National MRI team has this in abundance. A winning formula when combined with execution ability.
They also have another key attribute that makes them standout – dynamic capability. A term found more often in academic literature than business circles, but a critical skill nonetheless. The ability to read the wider ecosystem and predict what is changing and understand the causality – what actions or events will cause what effect. In nMRI, this goes beyond the management team, the founders have been able to attract a strong list of investors from the industry, all with deep connections and experience bringing a strong capacity to respond effectively to new factors, ensuring the company can maintain and increase value over time.
What’s next for National MRI?
While the business continues to scale its UK operation, the latest funding round will also fuel its international expansion with plans to launch in the USA and Germany under the SCAN.com brand name. The company is also working to build its B2B business model, targeting leading health insurance companies and new preventative services in the UK such as FullBodyScan.com.
We’re looking forward to working with co-founders Charlie and Oli and the whole team to support their growth journey going forwards.