Norwegian start-up SafetyWing, which offers medical insurance to digital nomads, has raised $3.5m in a round of seed funding, according to a report published by TechCrunch on August 1.
In recent years, a growing number of young people have taken up digital nomadism. Freelancers and tech workers, who need little more than an internet connection to do their work, are leaving the office behind to travel the globe. Living abroad, these digital nomads can enjoy all the benefits of a new environment, a self-governed lifestyle and cheaper living costs.
Since mandatory healthcare coverage is only available in one’s home country, many digital nomads are left without basic health insurance
However, one thing they forfeit is a social safety net. Since mandatory healthcare coverage is only available in one’s home country, many digital nomads are left without basic health insurance.
SafetyWing’s founders, Sondre Rasch, Sarah Sandnes and Hans Kjellby, saw a gap in the market. Digital nomads themselves, they have travelled from their home country of Norway to Silicon Valley. The SafetyWing platform, they argue, is the first internet-based welfare state.
Venture capital firm byFounders, which focuses on the Nordic and Baltic regions, led the recent round of seed funding. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund and DG Incubation also participated.
In previous funding rounds, SafetyWing received investment from the seed accelerator Y Combinator, as well as around $500,000 from investors such as NordicVest Angels and the Norwegian Investment Authority.
As many as 25 million people are estimated to make up the company’s target market. SafetyWing’s insurance is sold as a 28-day rolling subscription to suit the flexible lifestyles of these wandering workers. It covers hospital visits and prescriptions, but not pre-existing conditions like cancer.
Coverage starts at $37 every four weeks, although there is a $30 add-on fee for digital nomads in the US. As the founders point out, this is also a low-cost way for international workers in the US – who aren’t covered by the Affordable Care Act – to access basic care.