Amman-based medical consultation platform Al Tibbi raised $6.5 million in a series B funding round led by returning investors MEVP and DASH, as well as new investors TAMM, RIMCO Investments, Endeavor’s Catalyst Fund and other undisclosed investors. The company plans to use the money to expand its team of developers and expand its offering to target corporations rather than focusing solely on individuals.
“Telecommunication has been at the forefront of the global technology boom,” Omar J. Sati, managing director at DASH Ventures, says. “It was only a matter of time before this technology delivered a seismic shift to the healthcare industry.”
Al Tibbi started as an Arabic medical dictionary created in 2008 by co-founder Jalil Allabadi’s father, a physician, but a year later Allabadi transitioned Al Tibbi to a platform where people can seek advice on health issues from doctors in its network. The company says it receives 20,000 questions per month; 90% get an answer from doctors. Now, Al Tibbi wants to add a premium service: consultations via telephone, as opposed to just email. It used to have video chat, but users didn’t like it, because call quality suffered from poor Internet in many countries. Users can send images to doctors through the app.
“We have a network of doctors that work with us in shifts in their downtime, so we can bring down the cost of care to a much more affordable level,” Al Tibbi co-founder and COO Ayman Sharaiha says.
The company connects patients to one of 12,000 general practitioners in its network across Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Qatar and the U.A.E. It has also launched the service in Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. Al Tibbi checks each doctor’s license, and patients rate doctors after consultations.
When users initiate a call, Al Tibbi notifies participating doctors in the country and connects them with the first available physician. Sharaiha says the average wait time is 45 seconds.
Doctors, however, can’t prescribe medications over the phone, because of the lack of a regulatory framework—a major drawback.
Users pay Al Tibbi a subscription fee of $10 per month; the rate is $5 a month in Jordan, Palestine and Egypt. The company says it pays doctors based on the number of hours they are available for consultation and the number of patient calls they complete. Sharaiha is looking to offer the service to big corporations, as part of their health benefits package.
“It’s the first line of defense,” Sharaiha says. “For people who want to know what specialist to see or who want informational content; to inquire about a chronic health problem.”