Egyptian health and wellness platform Esaal raises $ 1.7 million to scale across Middle and Middle Africa – TechCrunch
In emerging markets such as Egypt, there is a large unmet demand for medical advice due to the low number of doctors. As of 2018 in Egypt The doctor-citizen relationship stood at 1: 2000; you can paint a picture when you go to any public hospital and see long queues.
These problems and habits that are changing the pandemic have led to the proliferation of applications for doctor bookings and consultations in Egypt and in the wider Middle Africa and Middle Africa region.
Esaal, one such platform that has witnessed tremendous growth over the past two years, announces a $ 1.7 million investment from A15; this brings the total funding raised from the venture capital firm to $ 3 million since its launch in 2018.
Esaal is not only involved in physical health advice. It also addresses issues in other segments such as mental health and nutrition.
According to reports, the mental health crisis is growing among populations in the Middle East, where 35% experience frequent stress, 29% suffer from depression, and obesity is fixing new highs among adults. For most people, these illnesses are delayed because of the stigma associated with going to therapy or talking about problems that affect their mental state.
“There is a great demand when it comes to the need to talk to someone who specializes in mental health. But most people are afraid to go physically to the center to see a therapist or psychiatrist. This is not yet common; people would like to do that, ”he said Fadi Dosfounder and CEO of Esaal.
Dos went on to recount how he browsed social media platforms and saw how people felt comfortable sharing personal issues, sometimes under pseudonyms, receiving feedback from other users who were not experts in the subject. This trend prompted him to develop a platform that took advantage of this virtual opportunity, but with therapists on the other side.
“We decided to create a platform that connects the user with the expert, where he or she can get a personal and real answer to health problems in a simple and smooth way,” he said. “And when it comes to nutrition, here in the region, it is becoming a bit fashionable, because obesity among adults is becoming quite high. We see that people have become more concerned about their nutrition and health. “
Esaal has attracted more than 350 consultants to its platform. They provide advice on a wide range of issues including anxiety, physiotherapy, pediatrics and nutrition. Users access these services through the app (text, video / voice calls and personal visits) and pay with cash, credit cards, Vodafone and Fawry.
The Egyptian company Healthtech also uses the B2B2C model, where it works with more than 10 medium and large companies to provide these services to its more than 5,000 employees. Esaal is currently charging a subscription fee and on-demand advice, and in subsequent updates plans to make money on personal visits.
Like most HealthTech platforms, Esaal was one of the beneficiaries of the blockage caused by the pandemic that opened up opportunities in Healthtech. Between 2020 and 2021, the user base grew by 55% and currently stands at more than 1 million. The company’s revenue and ARPU also grew 250% to $ 4.4 million in 2021 and 130% between 2020 and 2021.
Dos said Esaal services are available in 7 other Middle Arab and GCC countries: Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine and Iraq.
The company’s revenue shows it has been running a capital-efficient business with just $ 3 million, investments that have come in tranches since 2019 from a single investor, A15.
“To date, they have been cautious in deploying capital, demonstrating excellent efficiency in the unit economy, which has allowed their ambitions to expand,” said Karim Beshara, the firm’s managing investment partner. “We are proud that they are growing and we have enjoyed building business with them for the last four years. Jezeal and this sector still have a lot to expect. “
Doss argued that Esaal’s capital efficiency is one of the ways it stands out among competitors. He also highlighted another subtle difference: while other platforms focus on consulting doctors, mental health or nutrition, like Vezeeta, Honey and Chaise longue, Esaal combines three verticals into one.
The online health and wellness consulting platform plans to use these investments to scale across the Middle East, investing in product and brand development and hiring talent. Esaal expects CAGR revenue to be around 50-60% between 2021 and 2025.
“There is a huge potential that goes deeper into every country we are in now and penetrates more countries in the region. Yes, we have launched in eight countries, but I believe the potential is still huge and we can get multiples in the next four to five years. ”