AI company EBO expanding in Europe

Last Updated on Thursday, 9 May, 2024 at 12:13 pm by Andre Camilleri

EBO to open office in Milan and planning expansion in France and Germany

‘Besides notable market activity in the UK, Ireland and Wales, EBO has signed an agreement with a major healthtech player in Italy, we’re about to open an office in Milan, will onboard the first Italian hospital this year and we’re planning to enter France and Germany markets very soon,’ says Dr Gege Gatt, founder and CEO of EBO

In 2019, EBO set up in Malta with a singular vision: to craft an Artificial Intelligence platform that could transform human communication into automated interactions. Six years later, the company is already serving 16 NHS Trusts with a catchment of 14 million patients across the UK, Ireland and Wales, and is making significant strides into other European markets.

The latest addition to EBO’s network is the Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, a development described as ‘pivotal’. Why?

Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust is the 16th NHS trust to recognise EBO as its preferred AI partner, highlighting EBO’s sustained and collective achievements in transforming healthcare through technology. The assigned project is a key advancement in healthtech innovation, accessibility and patient experience. It re-imagines traditional Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) into AI-driven dialogues with empathy, enhancing patient care and insights. This initiative aligns with the NHS Trust’s 2025 strategy to prioritise digital innovation to improve health outcomes and showcases the potential of AI in enhancing healthcare while serving as a reliable model for other NHS trusts seeking to adopt these digital solutions. With millions of PROMs conducted across the UK annually, this solution creates a significant market opportunity for automation. 

Apart from the growth curve that you are experiencing, what tangible deliverables are there that confirm that your solution is living up to its mission?

In the healthcare sector, EBO’s AI solutions have demonstrated notable achievements. Patient satisfaction rates reached an impressive 94% in 2023, underscoring the effectiveness of the offering and its adoption in the market; 42% of patient interactions occurred outside regular office hours, showcasing the strength of 24/7 availability which is not possible through human-only activity. This not only benefits patients but also streamlines tasks for staff, enabling them to focus on more complex responsibilities. Additionally, our AI Recognition Rate, which refers to the capability of the solution to recognise patient requests and handle them autonomously, is at an impressive 97%. Above all, there is the financial advantage. For every 20,000 patients validated, EBO presents £137,000 in savings compared to existing processes. With most hospitals serving around one million patients, this entirely changes their operating economic model.

EBO has been backed by venture capital investment. How was this instrumental to EBO’s growth?
Investment into EBO catalysed growth, helping us scale up solutions without the immediate pressure of generating profits in the first year, by growing the team, investing in R&D to enhance our Intellectual Property, and scaling the infrastructure to support a growing customer base. Our growth is not just geographical. Our revenues have doubled year-on-year for the past three years and our EBITDA grew four-fold from 2022 to 2023. The financial backing allowed EBO to aggressively pursue new markets and verticals within healthcare and finance, remain competitive, adapt swiftly to market demands and stay ahead of competition.

Privacy and security of patient data are two crucial factors, especially for digital solutions like those offered by EBO.

Beyond our security protocols such as ISO27001 certification, Cyber Essentials Plus certification and our partnership with Microsoft for in-territory cloud deployments, we remain committed to a wider debate on privacy and ethical AI. We acknowledge that innovations introduced hastily may have negative consequences that may erode societal trust in technology. As Europe undergoes significant digital transformation, it is necessary to balance technological advancement with pro-privacy requirements and enhance educational frameworks to foster a culture of creativity and innovation in technology. Governments must also empower the marginalised members of society with education, information and skill investment to ensure their inclusion and mitigate threats to those lacking power and agency.

EBO recently announced the launch of an AI-driven solution – the Digital Women’s Health Hub, taking its service level to a gender-based level.

That’s right. We have developed an AI-powered Women’s Health Hub to address women’s healthcare challenges, placing special attention on gynaecological issues. Aligned with the UK government’s strategy, our solution offers 24/7 support, access to accurate and reliable information and enables patients to manage their healthcare. By applying advanced technology like NLP and Machine Learning, we want to empower women with comprehensive personalised healthcare information, bridging the gap between patient needs and services, and ensuring no woman in the UK is left behind.

What do you think of the current startup ecosystem, what new opportunities are worth exploring by current startups and what’s lacking?

Today, EBO operates across 11 territories, including the UK, US, Armenia, Macedonia, Italy, France, Cyprus, Greece and Malta. However, we refer to Malta as our base. We have found a strong pool of skills and an exceptional work ethic but as we grew, we experienced the lack of an ecosystem that was conducive to acceleration. As a result, we established a strategic presence in London where we unlocked talent and leveraged new market opportunities. It also helped us access other international markets and enhance our focus on R&D, particularly through partnerships with technology giants like Microsoft, IBM and OpenAI. 

How does EBO anticipate the future of AI-driven platforms in healthcare evolving, and what role does it aim to play in shaping that future? 

All stakeholders in the healthcare industry must focus on harnessing data to predict patient needs based on established patterns. But this wealth of information must be turned into actionable insights. The future of healthcare is one where collaboration between AI and humans becomes standard. With EBO’s collaboration with the UK’s NHS, we are witnessing an evolution in service culture. Studies show more willingness among patients and clinicians to engage with automated AI. This is promising and augurs well.

What new opportunities is EBO exploring? 

Besides our geographical expansion, we are working on projects in social care and local authority services in the UK, driven by a growing demand for efficient and technology-driven solutions. We are also deploying our first solutions with the transformative potential of Speech AI – a game-changer in fostering inclusivity and accessibility, especially in healthcare.

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