Over the past couple of years, the healthcare industry has faced significant disruption, and the true potential of healthcare technology (healthtech) is now beginning to be realized. COVID-19 has underlined the importance of resilient, digital-first healthcare systems for optimal patient care, and there has been years’ worth of innovation taking place in mere months as technology providers work to match new demand.
It is in this context that Meddy Inc., the Qatar-based doctor booking platform and recipient of investment from Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) via its Tech Venture Fund (TVF), recently announced that it will be acquired by Helium Health, the leading healthcare technology provider in Africa. “Meddy’s acquisition is a reflection on the evolving maturity and resilience of Qatar’s startup and innovation ecosystem,” said Yosouf Al-Salehi, Executive Director, QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI). “It demonstrates the confidence in technologies that have been developed by local innovators, which are delivering global impact and now expanding outside of Qatar, both regionally and internationally.”
Abed Khattab, Chief Operating Officer, Meddy, agreed, saying: “Digitizing healthcare is proving to be crucial to addressing many of our current struggles and setbacks in the healthcare industry. And Meddy is a leading player in digital healthcare, providing solutions to both patients and healthcare facilities to help move Qatar and the wider region towards a healthier and brighter future.”
Its solutions include a doctor booking platform and telemedicine product to manage bookings and patient reviews, as well as marketing solutions for hospitals to improve their online presence and attract new patients. To date, the company has facilitated more than 200,000 bookings, while enabling healthcare providers to generate approximately USD $130 million in billings.
Meddy started as a university project at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), part of Qatar Foundation’s Education City. The company was incubated at QSTP, before receiving investment via TVF. “Meddy is the perfect example of a startup that has been able to take advantage of various elements of the QF RDI and QSTP value chain, including the wide range of support programs we are able to provide to aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Dr Danny Ramadan, Investment Director at Qatar Science and Technology Park at QSTP.
“A key pillar of TVF is showcasing how QF’s education and applied research ecosystem is creating solutions which are locally relevant yet globally scalable. This is strongly complemented by QSTP’s support for students within the Qatar Foundation network. To be able to see the team at Meddy progress from academic endeavors at CMU-Q to the international acquisition stage indicates the underlying health of the ecosystem we have worked so hard to develop.”
“TVF made the very first investment in Meddy, and it has been transformational in our journey from idea to exit,” Haris Aghadi, Chief Executive Officer of Meddy, recounted. “It helped us move from an idea to building and launching a live product in the market. Moreover, it validated our product and enhanced our credibility as a startup that helped attract other investors. We wouldn’t be where we are today, having been the first startup in Qatar to raise an institutional Series A round, and then to be bought by such an established player in the healthtech market as Helium, without the sprint start that QSTP and the wider QF RDI ecosystem were able to give us.”
“Qatar is a unique market because there is a lot of opportunity within its infrastructure to make services, across every industry including healthcare, more accessible to everyone. This creates an enormous market for technology-based solutions to solve real problems. There also aren’t that many incumbents that are monopolizing the market, which makes it a level playing field for new entrants to launch their products and compete.”
“I encourage entrepreneurs in Qatar to take advantage of the multiple programs available to support us as we develop our businesses. They are a great way to get actionable feedback on your idea and refine it to launch the product in the market without needing significant resources. Incubators such as QSTP also have great networks that can help you land your first paying customer or an advisor or an investor,” Aghadi concluded.
QSTP’s TVF is a strategic venture capital fund that supports local innovative startups and attracts international ones looking to scale in the region and further afield. It also contributes to the diversification of Qatar’s economy through the support it provides to startups, including the likes of Meddy. The fund provides opportunities for local, regional and global tech founders and entrepreneurs to source seed-stage funding and follow-on capital. It also aims to lower the barriers of entry to starting a tech company in Qatar, making the market more accessible for founders.
To apply and find out more about QSTP’s TVF please visit: https://qstp.org.qa/tech-venture-fund/