- Opkit is a startup that helps telehealth companies verify and process a patient’s health insurance.
- The founders were early hires at Brex and went through Y Combinator’s Spring 2021 batch.
- Now, the company has raised over $1 million from YC and investors like Rex Salisbury.
Software engineers Sherwood Callaway and Justin Ko first met as early employees at fintech startup Brex and became fast friends. And when Brex announced plans to open an office in New York, the two jumped at the chance in October 2019.
But just months later, the pandemic shut down the city, and Callaway and Ko spent much more time working from home in the Williamsburg apartment they shared. After a year of working remotely together, they were both ready to try building something new. “Justin and I were both interested in starting a startup together and thought, ‘What better time?'” Callaway said.
When coming up with ideas, Callaway remembered a problem he saw his father, an orthopedic surgeon in North Carolina, struggle with in his business operations: health insurance verification.
As more telehealth companies emerged after the pandemic, they often had trouble quickly processing a patient’s health insurance for care, Callaway told Insider. While most real healthcare providers only deal with a handful of insurance companies and plans, telehealth startups would need to process insurance information from dozens of providers in all 50 states.
Callaway and Ko used their experience creating credit card and payment verification software at Brex and came up with the initial product that became their startup Opkit.
The Opkit API automates the process of processing and confirming health insurance coverage for virtual healthcare practices by digitally scanning patient-loaded insurance cards to ensure they will be accepted by the provider, along with procedure types or medical treatments that will be covered. .
Opkit also provides providers with an insurance dashboard that allows telehealth employees to conduct eligibility checks or inquire with insurance companies about specific patients’ plans.
Ko and Callaway were accepted into Y Combinator’s summer 2021 cohort. The experience helped the two co-founders learn what details and statistics to include in an investor pitch and even helped them get their startup off the ground. “Opkit was our first venture fundraising experience, and Y Combinator really helped us make connections with investors,” Callaway said.
The company also caught the attention of Callaway’s longtime mentor and fellow Davidson College graduate and solo venture capitalist Rex Salisbury, who wrote the first check in Opkit.
Now, the team is coming out of stealth with more than $1 million in new funding from Global Founders Capital, Mischief, Socially Financed and Y Combinator, Plaid CEO Zach Perret, venture capital firm, and Y Combinator, along with investment of Salisbury.