Meet the Companies of Tomorrow's Subscription Economy — Surf Air and Babylon Health

Innovation is the hallmark of all successful subscription businesses. At our Subscribed conference in London last fall, we showcased four companies that exemplify the spirit of innovation — Babylon Health (healthcare), SurfAir Europe (aviation), Notion Capital (VC firm with SaaS focus), and Telenor Connexion (telecommunications). Read on to find out more about how these trailblazers are profoundly impacting the way we live, travel and do business!


“You pay a monthly membership fee that gives you unlimited access, all you can fly across our network of flights.” — Coen Van Niersen, Chief Membership Officer, SurfAir Europe

After SurfAir’s innovative new approach to air travel took California’s business world by storm, they are now ready for Europe. “We started three years ago in California with three routes. We’re now up to 12 destinations and 90 flights a day and carry 3,000 members. We think it’s now time to move to Europe” says Coen Van Niersen, Chief Membership Officer, SurfAir Europe. In Europe, the airline’s initial service will cover London, Zurich, Geneva, and Cannes, and include weekend services to Ibiza. Plans are on to add service to Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Jersey, Luxembourg, Milan, and Barcelona.

The frustration of business travelers at having to endure daily commercial flights with long waits, security lines, etc gave rise to SurfAir. The company realized that private aviation hadn’t yet become a commercially focused industry and grabbed the opportunity. They combined elements of commercial travel — flying a scheduled airline with the benefits of private aviation such as arrival at the terminal 15 minutes before departure on a custom designed executive aircraft. “SurfAir adds a time-saving element along with a sense of community through membership. You’re flying with like-minded people, many of whom, are entrepreneurial and tech focused, particularly in California. That becomes a desirable product” explained Niersen.

Not only has SurfAir created an easier way for businesses to fly, they have forged a unique opportunity to network. Keep your business cards handy, because with SurfAir, the chances of you getting stuck next to a crying toddler are slim.


“Healthcare was one of the last major industries to experience a fundamental disruption by technology. It’s an $8 trillion global industry that affects everyone. It’s probably the most important industry in the world.” — Rabin Yaghoubi, CCO, Babylon Health

Rabin Yaghoubi and his team at Babylon Health are revolutionizing global healthcare through an innovative telemedicine business platform. “What we do is combine clinicians and highly qualified doctors with technology to democratize healthcare and make it affordable, accessible, to anyone anywhere,” says Yaghoubi.

Working with highly qualified doctors, clinicians, and healthcare professionals, Babylon’s subscription-based mobile business platform allows for personal health monitoring, triaging of symptoms, and easy access to medical care. Users can receive prescriptions, referrals, book exams, as well as directly connect with General Physicians, specialists, and therapists via voice or video. The app also allows the patient to sync data (calories burned, exercise, weight, sleep patterns, etc.) from activity trackers on phones or wearables. It’s a symbiosis of technology with preventative care and has the potential to drastically cut health care costs for the customer.

Based in London, Babylon is backed by Hoxton Ventures, Kinnevik AB and Google DeepMind. The company’s business model focuses on three customer segments — consumers, businesses, and the public sector. “You can download the app — It’s freemium, so you get the monitoring, the record-keeping, and asking doctors questions for free. It’s only when you want to actually see a doctor that you have to pay. There we have a subscription model. You can get unlimited GP appointments with that, or you can pay on a pay-as-you-go basis” says Yaghoubi.

They also serve businesses where scalability becomes invaluable. “We offer Babylon as an employee benefit, and the way that corporates pay is on an annual license.” This helps reduce the cost of absentees and creates more data for well-being programs, an increasing concern for businesses these days. The public sector is another area of focus for Babylon Health. In the UK, they work closely with the NHS. They also recently launched their platform in Rwanda, their first entry into developing countries.

“It’s an 8 trillion dollar global industry that affects everyone. It’s probably the most important industry in the world,” says Yaghoubi.

Be sure to keep an eye on how these companies change the world around us and shape our tomorrow! Read about Notion Capital and Telenor Connexion here.

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