Tech

Egyptian health and wellness platform Esaal raises $1.7M to scale across MENA – TechCrunch

Due to the low supply of doctors, there is a large unmet demand for medical advice in developing markets such as Egypt. As of 2018 Egypt doctor-to-citizen relationship at 1:2,000; You can get an idea when you go into a government hospital and see long lines.

These issues and changing habits caused by pandemics have led to an acceptance of doctor booking and consultation apps across Egypt and the entire MENA region.

Esaal, one such platform that has experienced immense growth over the past two years, announces a $1.7 million seed investment from A15; This brings the total funding raised by the VC firm to $3 million since its inception in 2018.

Esaal isn’t just in the physical health consulting business. It also addresses issues in other segments such as mental health and nutrition.

There is reportedly a growing mental health crisis in the MENA population, where 35% experience frequent stress, 29% suffer from depression and adult obesity is reaching new highs. For most people, these illnesses persist because of the stigma associated with seeking therapy or speaking out about issues affecting their mental health.

“There’s a lot of demand when it comes to speaking to someone who specializes in mental health. But most people are afraid to go physically to a center to see a therapist or psychiatrist. It’s still not common; People would love to do it,” he said Fadi DossFounder and CEO of Esal.

Doss went on to share how he browsed social media platforms and saw how people were comfortable sharing personal issues, sometimes behind pseudonyms, while receiving feedback from other users who weren’t specialists in the field. This trend led him to create a platform that would take advantage of this virtual opportunity, but with therapists on the other end.

“We chose a platform that connects the user with the expert, where he or she can get a personalized and real response to health problems in a hassle-free and frictionless way,” he said. “And when we talk about diet, it’s getting a bit trendy here in the region because adult obesity is getting pretty high. We can see people starting to care a lot more about their diet and well-being.”

Esaal has recruited over 350 consultants on its platform. They offer consultations on a wide range of topics including anxiety, physical therapy, pediatrics and nutrition. Users access these services (text, video/voice calls and personal visits) through an app and pay with cash, credit cards, Vodafone and Fawry.

Photo credit: Esaal

The Egyptian healthtech company is also employing a B2B2C model, where it has partnered with 10+ medium to large companies to provide these services to their 5,000+ employees. Esaal currently charges subscription fees and on-demand consultation fees with plans to monetize in-person visits in later updates.

Like most healthtech platforms, Esaal has been one of the beneficiaries of the pandemic-induced lockdown, which opened new opportunities in the healthtech space. Between 2020 and 2021, the user base grew by 55% and is currently over 1 million. The company’s revenue and ARPU also increased by 250% to $4.4 million in 2021 and by 130% between 2020 and 2021.

According to Doss, Esaal services are available in 7 other countries in MENA and the GCC: Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine and Iraq.

The company’s earnings show it has run a capital-efficient business with just $3 million, an investment made in tranches since 2019 by its sole investor, A15.

“They have so far used capital judiciously and demonstrated outstanding efficiencies in unit economics, which has enabled their expansion ambitions,” said Karim Beshara, the company’s managing partner for the investment. “We are proud of their growth and have enjoyed building the business with them over the past four years. There is so much more to come from Esaal and this sector.”

According to Doss, Esaal’s capital efficiency sets it apart from the competition. He also highlighted another subtle difference: while other platforms like Vezeeta focus on doctor consultations, mental health or nutrition, meddy and Shezlong, Esaal merges the three verticals into one.

The online health and wellness consulting platform plans to use this investment to scale into MENA, invest in product and brand development, and hire more talent. Esaal expects revenue CAGR of around 50% to 60% between 2021 and 2025.

“There is tremendous potential to penetrate deeper into every country that we are currently in and to penetrate more countries in the region. Yes, we have entered the market in eight countries, but I think the potential is still huge and we can do multiples in the next four or five years.”

Egyptian health and wellness platform Esaal raises $1.7M to scale across MENA – TechCrunch Source link Egyptian health and wellness platform Esaal raises $1.7M to scale across MENA – TechCrunch

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