Top 5 healthcare startups in the UAE
The healthcare industry has long been among the most actively invested industries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as startups look to improve the quality and accessibility of an otherwise somewhat antiquated sector. Many patients, across all countries, still opt to seek treatment outside of the MENA region due to quality concerns, whereas others find it difficult to find treatment easily.
This has been identified by many venture capital firms and other investors as well, who have actively looked to invest in healthcare startups in the region, which has resulted in several well-funded startups in the industry. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), already one of the larger startup ecosystems in the region, is one of the top recipients of investments in healthcare startups, with many startups choosing to set up shop in the country or move to the Emirates after receiving funding.
This article covers 5 funded healthcare startups – in no particular order – that have their headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, including the challenges that they are trying to tackle and the funding that they have received.
First is Altibbi, a digital health platform that offers tools and information to provide access to health advice 24/7, whether through its website or mobile applications. Initially, the startup was launched in Jordan by Jalil Allabadi and his father Dr. Abdelaziz Allabadi, but moved their headquarters to the UAE.
With the startup’s up-to-date and simplified medical information in Arabic, it has carved out a niche for itself by serving Arabic-speaking audience. Altibbi has raised a total of $8.5M in funding from a variety of investors, including Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), DASH Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst.
Health at Hand
With a slightly different value proposition, Health at Hand offers its customers access to video consultations with regional doctors, aiming to tackle the aforementioned availability problem. The startup uses its app to avoid waiting times, which still gives patients access to quality healthcare from the comfort of their own home.
With its solution, Health at Hand became the first healthcare provider to be licensed by the Dubai Health Authority to provide tele-health services. Moreover, the startup has received $4.1 million in funding since its inception in 2015, according to startup data platform Crunchbase.
Similar to Health at Hand, Healthigo’s goal is simple – to provide a better and easier experience for both care seekers and providers. Healthigo does not offer video consultation services, however, it connects patients and care seekers to doctors, hospitals, clinics, medical centres, as well as insurance providers; and the other way around.
On the one hand, for people in need of medical care, Healthigo makes it easier to discover the right doctor or clinic, as well as book appointments. The startup aims to keep its users up-to-date with the latest medical information.
For health care providers, on the other hand, Healthigo aims to increase their visibility to the wider healthcare ecosystem and improve operations. This gives healthcare providers access to new patients that they could not reach before, but also smoothen the booking process.
With its solution, Healthigo has raised $1 million in angel funding.
When you are looking for the right medical professional, it is often difficult to know which ones are good and which ones you should rather avoid. Meddy is looking to tackle this exact problem and provide more transparent information in the medical sector. The startup aims to help you choose the right doctor by browsing doctor profiles and patient reviews and clinic locations, helping you make informed health decisions.
With its solution, Meddy has raised funding from international investors like 500 Startups and Modus Capital — whose MD Kareem Elsirafy sees the healthcare industry as one of the most promising in the region.
Haris Aghadi told SME 10X that Meddy has "raised more than $500K."
Last, but not least, is NewBridge Pharmaceuticals, which provides a slightly different approach to healthcare in the country and region. The company, which was established in 2007 by Garrett Vygantas, does not provide tele-health services or connects patients to doctors, but rather develops and sells oncology and supportive care products.
Back in 2010, NewBridge raised a $12M Series B funding round from international venture capital firms Burrill & Company and Kuwait Life Sciences Company (KLSC) to further develop its products and regional footprint. Neither previous nor rounds since have been disclosed.
These 5 startups, among many others, are seeking to improve the healthcare industry in the United Arab Emirates and the entire MENA region, which is due for some much-needed technological advancement. With nearly 10 million people in the UAE and more than 400 million people in the Middle East, they have plenty of opportunity to become the next success story out of the region.