Basically, Katrin Keller, 45, was too early. In 2008 she founded the software company Samedi with Alexander Alscher in Berlin. “The pandemic in the meantime has made everyone realize how important the digitalization of the healthcare system is, but it was different back then.” It didn’t stop the founders. “At the time, we were wondering why you could book plane and train tickets online without having a doctor’s appointment,” says Keller. She had had her own bad experiences following a herniated disc.
The founders’ response was Saturday. The company sells software to doctor’s offices, clinics and health care centers, through which people can make appointments, among other things, and now also has video viewing hours. “The benefits have always been obvious to me, but the first few years were tough. According to Keller, some doctors first had to buy a camera and speaker for their PC and learn how to do an online consultation. “
Keller is seated in her large, bright office in Berlin-Friedrichshain. She worked as an employee in the real estate industry. She has often negotiated offices with start-ups and their “passion and belief that they are doing the right thing” impressed her. The urge to start your own business has grown stronger and stronger. “I’m not someone who comes into the office on Monday and waits on Friday.”
And she never wanted to choose between family and work. A full-time educator takes care of herself and the offspring of the employees. Each office door has a glass window, so the kids can see if the mom or dad is on the phone and doesn’t want to be disturbed. At the end of a long corridor, “ideal for driving the Bobby Car”, is the games room.
Keller and co-founder Alscher have invested a lot of time in data protection and according to Keller have developed their own encryption method, the servers are in Germany. “We support the entire patient journey,” says Keller. Samedi’s name does not appear on the doctor’s or clinic’s website, the link is usually behind the Contact or Appointment button. “We offer real free appointments, the whole schedule is organized through the software.” Doctors can make an appointment with a specialist or clinic for their patients. Patients can use their Saturday account to share results and other data with the doctor before the appointment. “The doctor can then better prepare and save time for the discussion.”
Nearly 10,000 practices, care centers, therapy centers and clinics can now make an appointment online via Samedi. However, it is usually not the entire clinic that uses this software, but only individual services.The company has also been coordinating appointments for vaccinations since the end of 2020, and by the end of May it was fine. over a million. The coordination of the appointments of the vaccination centers of the Saar goes entirely through Saturday.
The competition is financially strong
Last year, the company achieved a turnover of around ten million euros with a hundred employees. Patients pay nothing, doctors and clinics buy software licenses. The full version for coordinating appointments alone costs 80 euros per month. “Everything we have in profit, we invest in the growth of the company.”
The competition is great and financially sound. These include the search engine Jameda and the French company Doctolib, founded in 2013, which is valued at more than a billion dollars after a few rounds of funding. In order to arm themselves against powerful competition, the founders of Samedi sold their business to the Asklepios clinic chain in 2017. “We wanted a strategic investor who isn’t looking for a quick exit.”
Over the next three to five years, Keller wants to increase the number of employees from 300 to 500 and increase sales to over 100 million euros. “The digitization of the German healthcare system is only gaining momentum.”