Malaysia-based healthcare app, BookDoc is gunning to seal a pre-Series A round of funding in around four months, courting strategic investors from the healthcare industry in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand.
Founder Chevy Beh told DEALSTREETASIA that the startup, which two weeks ago sealed a US dollar seven-digit seed round led by Brunei Royal Family’s Prince Abdul Qawi, is aiming at closing its pre-Series A investment in May or June.
The funding will targeted at penetrating the markets the investors are based in.
“We are in talks with a few partner healthcare providers and a person from the technology sector. These are (healthcare) suppliers, not just investors. They are well-known names in their respective markets,” he said, noting that with partner suppliers getting their skin in the game, BookDoc and its partners can mutually accelerate growth.
Set up just half a year ago, BookDoc has already been approached by certain Singaporean party for a buyout, although he is not keen on the offer at this point.
“We already have a suitor in this short time, who is attracted to our speed of execution. But I’m more for the long term, ” he said.
Beh commented that BookDoc’s approach to growth was more unorthadox, as it looks for funding and strategic support before rolling out its complete platform.
“I’m looking to grow and taking BookDoc first to strategic investors to scale regionally at a quicker pace, which is unconventional. Typically, startups build their technology and then go the venture capitalist route for funding or business development. Coming from a healthcare background, I understand the needs of industry, hence we focused on business development before building the technology,” he said.
Beh declined to share more about BookDoc’s plans for its platform. At the moment, it is primarily a medical appointment booking app.
Notable healthcare groups in Indonesia include conglomerate Lippo Group which operates Siloam Hospitals, the largest hospital operator in the archipelago, and PT Mitra Keluarga Karyasehat which went for an initial public offering in March 2015.
Lippo Group is founded by financial magnate Mochtar Riady, while Mitra Keluarga is owned by PT Kalbe Farma.
In Thailand, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, which runs Bangkok Hospitals, is Thailand’s largest private healthcare group. The group is majority owned by founder Prasert Prasarttong-osoth.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services is also a major shareholder in Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed Bumrungrad International Hospital.
Noteworthy is also Thonburi Hospital Group, which is launching an initial public offering this year. The healthcare company is owned by low-profile billionaire, Dr Boon Vanasin.
In the meantime, BookDoc is scouting out partnerships within Malaysia to increase its user base.
“We are talking to several parties, and with these deals, we could bump up our customer base into the million,” Beh commented.
The healthcare platform was last reported, in November 2015, to have a customer base of 20,000 through its corporate clients. The company has since signed several more partnerships with various medical centres in the region, and latest numbers have not been revealed.