Follow The Leader: Fodhil Benturquia, Founder And CEO, Okadoc
"Retention is an extremely important topic in the tech field, unlike traditional businesses. There is no physical asset in tech companies; your people are your assets."
With Fodhil Benturquia boasting of a career trajectory that has included stints at some of the best regarded startup ventures in the MENA region (MarkaVIP, Souq, and Noon), it’s perhaps only natural for one’s curiosity to be piqued about the enterprise he is a part of today.
Benturquia is currently the founder and CEO of a healthtech startup called Okadoc, which he describes as an online platform that helps patients find the right doctor based on specialty, experience and qualifications, language spoken, insurance policy, cost of consultation, and location. Since its launch in 2018, Okadoc has found favor with users in the UAE who are promised that they can make an appointment with their choice of doctor on the platform in less than 40 seconds- small wonder than the website has recently reached the 400,000 mark for visitors per month, growing at around 30% on a monthly basis. “The portal is free to consumers, but client hospitals and doctors pay a monthly subscription package to facilitate online bookings and list their services,” Benturquia says, while explaining Okadoc’s business model. “The cost varies typically averaging AED500 per month per doctor. Already, 140 clinics and hospitals subscribe to our platform with some 1,000 bookable doctors. We aim to have 30% of all doctors in the UAE registered in our platform by 2021, making it the country with the highest percentage of doctors accessible through a state-of-the-art appointment booking system.”
As for Okadoc’s prospects in the long term, Benturquia points out that Okadoc is based on an internationally proven and profitable business model: “A good example is Zocdoc in the US, a US$1.8 billion company according to its 2015 valuation, or Doctolib in Europe, with a March 2019 valuation of EUR1 billion.” With those two enterprises indicating the heights to which Okadoc could potentially soar, it’s easy enough to understand why Benturquia is bullish about his new undertaking in the region. But building a business that is poised for such success requires the right people to drive it ahead, and Benturquia acknowledges that this is something that’s easier said than done. “I always try to work with likeminded people who share the same passion for innovation, invention, and the mission to improve the healthcare experience for all, and most importantly, caring for others,” he says. “We always look for people who are determined, have a sense of ownership, continuous learners, and not afraid to fail. Finding good executives can take a lot of time, especially for certain critical positions. In fact, at Okadoc, we still haven’t filled all executive positions. Because for us, having the experience or the capabilities is not good enough, if you can’t fit in the culture, and you’re not able to integrate with the team. Retention is an extremely important topic in the tech field, unlike traditional businesses. There is no physical asset in tech companies; your people are your assets. Our core team and critical talent receive share option plans. In this way, our people take real ownership, because they work for themselves, and for the team’s success.”
Okadoc is an online platform that helps patients find the right doctor.
Of course, getting the team to follow in your footsteps means that you, as the entrepreneur heading the enterprise, need to lead by example, and that’s the mindset Benturquia tries to live by in his workplace. “As an entrepreneur, it is important to have a clear vision,” he says. “Having an idea that solves a real problem is the first step. But having the vision of where you want to take the company, and a clear mission that improves people’s lives is as important. And don’t be afraid to dream big. It’s also about creating a culture that values and motivates every member of the team. Making sure your people truly believe in your vision and mission is fundamental. And giving them the tools and infrastructure to help them be successful in what they do is crucial. At Okadoc, no idea is a bad idea. Everyone is asked to innovate and simplify. Every idea is then tried and tested, and following deep data analysis, we decide what can potentially work. We work as a research lab that starts by identifying problems facing doctors, patients, and healthcare providers, and work towards fixing those problems.”
From a personal perspective, Benturquia believes in emotional intelligence, resilience, and determination as being the three key ingredients that make a good leader. “Never be afraid to try, as long as you are prepared to learn from your mistakes,” he adds. “Someone once said: ‘A wise man learns from his mistakes. A wiser man learns from the mistakes of others. But the wisest person of all learns from others’ successes.’” That’s exactly what Benturquia is striving to do- and it’s fair to say that everyone else should follow his lead.
'Trep Talk: Fodhil Benturquia, Founder And CEO, Okadoc
1. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
“You first need to focus. Have a clear mission. At Okadoc, we focus solely on solving the booking issue first, and we want to be the best in the world at booking.”
2. GIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY NEED
“To achieve the above, we must listen to our customers and partners. So, be really close to your customers, and listen carefully to what they say, and then make sure you give them what they really need, and not what they think they want.”
3. YOU’RE THE SUM OF THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU
“Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Build a team with the right attitude and mentality, recruit people who share your passion.”
4. ACCEPT THAT YOU’LL HAVE STUMBLES ALONG THE WAY
“Don’t be afraid to go for itwith every failure, you learn.”
5. DON’T LOSE YOUR PASSION AND DRIVE
“Make sure you do something that you love, and that is meaningful to people, and to you personally."
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.