HealthTech Startup Altibbi Raises US$6.5 Million From DASH Ventures, MEVP And Others
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The digital health sector gets a boost as Altibbi, a telehealth platform raises US$6.5 million from lead investors DASH Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), along with new investors TAMM, RIMCO Investments, Endeavor’s Catalyst Fund, and other undisclosed investors. This marks Altibbi’s third round- its first round of $500,000 was in 2014 with DASH Ventures and MEVP, along with angel investors, followed by a second raise of $2 million in 2015 with DASH Ventures and MEVP too. In total, according to Jalil Allabadi, founder of Altibbi, the Jordan-based startup has raised $8.5 million in investments.
Founded by Allabadi, Dr. Abdelaziz Allabadi and Ayman Allabadi in Amman in 2010, the startup’s platform has more than 1.5 million pages of medical content in Arabic, with 12,000 registered doctors on the database available for online consultations. The app serves users in 10 Arab countries, as well as have offices in Amman, Dubai and Gaza. The investment is one of the first after the announcement of Mohamed Alabbar’s and MEVP’s new venture capital fund. Walid Mansour, Partner and Chief Investment Officer at MEVP, comments on a statement that Altibbi’s growth last year was an influencing factor in their decision to continue investing. Omar J. Sati, Managing Director of DASH Ventures also discussed that their decision to invest in the startup was also due to their “genuine and authentic rapport” with Jalil, who Sati says, showed his ability to bring the startup towards various evolving points to achieve product-market fit. Sati also adds that Altibbi stood out from startups with similar business models because of the platform’s impressive statistics of web visitors and verified doctors. “Business models are a dime-a-dozen,” Sati says, but in particular, it was the execution and the team behind that motivated the investment.
As they were determining investors, Altibbi mentioned how a key factor was focusing on top investors from the start: “We targeted investors who have the stamina, and the heart to invest in new areas that require more patience than other sectors.” As the startup continues to grow, to keep being a standout from the market, Allabadi says that a guiding factor is not only focusing on growing features, but “overarching value” for users, focusing on quality and accessibility of their services by working on the small details. As for the newly acquired capital, Allabadi says it would be on used on two fronts: content-wise, the startup plans to grow its presence and Arabic medical content, plus develop its free Q&A sessions answered by its verified Arab doctors; while on the telehealth side, the team is working towards making the platform more robust, with new features geared to turn it to a hub for family health. They’ll also be working towards establishing B2B activities with offices in Cairo and Riyadh soon.
Omar J. Sati, Managing Director, DASH Ventures
Financially, what excites DASH Ventures in the deal?
“As existing investors, scaling the business remains top of mind. The previous round allowed Altibbi to lay the groundwork necessary for growth and expansion. Virtual direct-to-consumer healthcare delivery in our region is a massive untapped frontier, and is poised for exceptional growth. So, from a financial perspective, the decision for follow-on investment was a no-brainer. The factor that really excited us was the involvement of strategies that will play a crucial role in Altibbi’s expansion across key markets.”
A common challenge for startups is that investors may be familiar with the health tech space, what’s your advice for startups seeking funding to make an impact in digital healthcare?
“Digital health or health tech startups have needs that are different to those of other tech startups. Their challenges are unique- regulatory environment, entrenched stakeholders and established giants, navigating varying healthcare systems across different markets, and more. Startups in this space should seek investors that are, first and foremost, patient and risk-hungry, investors that will help them build momentum and navigate the regulatory landscape, investors that can help create synergistic partnerships with established players; [and] investors that understand a new digitally-powered future is coming to healthcare.”