Starship Raises $11 Million In Funding To Make HSAs More Accessible

By Annie Baker ● December 6, 2019
  • Starship, a company that makes health savings accounts more accessible, announced it has raised $11 million

Starship — a company founded by Sean Engelking, Adam Pruden, and Christoph Oberhofer in 2017 that makes health savings accounts more accessible — announced it raised a total of $11 million in funding. Of that $11 million, $7 million was in the form of a Series A round of funding led by Valar Ventures. Broadhaven, Clocktower, Third Prime, and 500 Startups also participated in this round.

How does Starship work? Starship makes portable health savings accounts available to drivers, delivery persons, and carriers who use the Uber app. And one of Starship’s biggest partners is on-demand delivery company Postmates.

“As the way we make a living has evolved, the need to make the most of your health dollars has only gotten greater,” said Sean Engelking, Starship CEO and cofounder. “Starship is excited to address this changing landscape with these great partners and additional funding.”

Starship is also known for providing an experience-driven healthcare banking platform for health savings accounts (HSAs). And anyone with an eligible health plan can install the Starship app on their iOS or Android phone to easily save, spend, and invest their funds.

“We’re seeing incredible, disruptive companies shaking up the fintech space,” commented James Fitzgerald from Valar Ventures. “Health savings accounts are an important piece of that puzzle, and Starship’s individual-centered approach is both unique and primed to disrupt the industry.”

Starship makes it easy to contribute tax-free dollars into an account that earns an industry-leading interest rate. And the company makes it possible to pay for qualifying healthcare expenses with the Starship HSA debit card (or through Apple Pay or Google Wallet) and invest in low-fee index funds to take advantage of the long-term growth potential of an HSA as a healthcare nest egg for retirement. 

And Starship was built to meet evolving needs while also offering an enterprise platform with administrative tools employers need to manage and match W2 workers’ HSA contributions.

Almost half of all workers in the U.S. do not get their benefits from an employer today. And so a new system, or “third way” that unlocks portable benefits for workers — irrespective of employment status — could provide more people with access to a broader safety net.

Postmates was one of the first companies to partner with Starship to unveil HSAs to its fleet of 350,000 workers nationwide to increase savings through the pre-tax vehicle thus reducing medical expenses over time.

“Since the onset of our partnership, we’ve been thrilled with the engagement by the Postmates in our fleet,” explained Claire Sands, Director of Fleet Community Communications and Engagement at Postmates. “As we navigate the future of work, it’s imperative that tools like Starship HSA are not only accessible but easy to understand.” 

The increasing costs of healthcare continue to be a major concern for Americans. And two-thirds of all Americans cite medical bills as their reason for filing for bankruptcy. The median amount of medical debt owed nationally is $681 as nearly half of all Americans do not have more than $400 to spend at any point. Plus the average American needs to save up to $300,000 for healthcare expenses in retirement.

So HSAs are an increasingly attractive saving and investment tool. And awareness of HSAs is growing and Starship seeks to grow it even more.

“Healthcare affordability is a personal mission for me,” added Starship CEO Sean Engelking. “I know how crippling medical debt can be. I’ve seen it first-hand—it’s affected my family. There is no silver bullet to fixing the healthcare industry, but the Starship app at least gives people a chance to make healthcare expenses more manageable.”