Online healthcare platform BookDoc is working on closing its seed round funding from a prominent investor before the end of this year, and it will likely have the highest valuation for an Asia technology company again, according to its founder.
Founder Chevy Beh said, the startup, which connects patients with healthcare professionals through a booking app, is targeting to close its seed round by the end of this month, just two months after its pre-seed funding.
“The seed round will have a well-known investor on board, one of the world’s richest who has never done venture capital (VC) investments before,” he said, keeping mum on who the party will be.
The funding will drive Malaysia-based BookDoc’s product and service expansion, beyond its current booking feature.
He told DEALSTREETASIA that BookDoc has garnered interest from various notable investors for its fundraising rounds going forward, but the startup will need to achieve its targets to progress with its fundraising momentum.
“We have investors keen on seed, Series A and so on but we need to get the numbers, the customers and network of healthcare professionals to get to those rounds,” he said, at the sidelines of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Heart Institute (IJN) of Malaysia today. The MoU marks BookDoc’s first partnership with a hospital.
Speaking at the signing, IJN chief executive officer Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said the collaboration is timely as it is in line with the institute’s aspiration to further extend its cardiac specialist care services in Malaysia and neighbouring countries.
He noted that patients are increasingly tech savvy and the institute is addressing the demand for faster service. Yakub added that the IJN is in the midst of enhancing its IT capabilities, which the institute has been investing heavily in since 2013.
“We really want to make IJN more accessible to patients. We need to emphasise that, despite the persisting perception that we are always full and difficult to get an appointment at, we have the capabilities to take on the patient load. Patients can get treatment in a couple of days,” he commented on waiting time.
Reducing waiting time to see doctors is the main pain point in healthcare that BookDoc aims to resolve. Customers using the app can book appointments with their selected doctors through its platform, which also displays the doctors’ credentials, and connects with GPS to route them to the medical centres.
Asia’s highest valued pre-seed
In September, BookDoc raised its pre-seed round of funding, with reportedly the highest valuation for a technology startup in Asia so far.
Although the company did not reveal the amount raised in its pre-seed round, BookDoc has said it was a seven-digit figure in US dollar, which valued the company at close to an eight digit figure. The funds were channeled into growing the team and enhancing BookDoc’s technology.
The strategic partners, advisors and initial investors involved in BookDoc’s pre-seed funding come from a wide range of fields, among the ‘who’s who’ in their industries.
From healthcare backgrounds, there is the pro-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr M. Jegathesan; former director of Armed Forces Health Services, Major General Dr Mohandas Ramasamy; former deputy director general of health system at the Ministry of Health, Dr Maimunah Hamid; and Sime Darby Healthcare former head of strategy Lee Mean Yeit.
BookDoc has also attracted investments from entrepreneurs Syed Budriz Putra, who is a founder and former chief executive officer of Sepang Aircraft Engineering (which is part of the Airbus Group), and Danny Yeung, who is former chief executive of Groupon East Asia and founder of Groupon Hong Kong. Yeung also invested in another Malaysian startup, KFit as an initial investor.
BookDoc also calls Sharil Tarmizi, former chairman of Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission, one of its initial investors in the pre-seed round.
Fund fast, scale swiftly
The pace at which BookDoc is fundraising and scaling bears an uncanny resemblance to another fast-growing Malaysian startup – KFit. That comes as no surprise, as well-recognised entrepreneur Joel Neoh, the founder of KFit, is the co-founder in BookDoc.
“Joel has the knowledge in terms of VC funding and talking to investors while I am familiar with the healthcare industry,” Beh said when commenting about founding BookDoc alongside Neoh.
Prior to starting BookDoc in July 2015, Beh founded the Asian Healthcare Group Bhd, Asia’s first healthcare special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Beh noted that having Neoh on board meant BookDoc’s learning curve was more forgiving, as KFit being the startup launched earlier (in May 2015), will have gone through fundraising and scaling processes which BookDoc can then learn from.
BookDoc has a steady income stream coming from the five corporate clients that have signed up to use its mobile platform for their staff force, on one- to three-year contracts. BookDoc charges the clients per employee per month.
Through those corporate clients, Beh said the platform is serving a crowd of over 20,000 customers. The startup also has a network of over 200 general practitioners and dentists, Beh added.
Now that BookDoc has signed a MoU with IJN, the startup is preparing itself for its first regional foray, marking Singapore as its second market.
“We are looking to sign with a hospital in Singapore by the end of this month, and with one in Hong Kong in December,” Beh said during a press conference at the signing.
After Singapore and Hong Kong, BookDoc is looking to grow its Southeast Asia footprint, with Indonesia and Thailand in the pipeline.
Aside from expanding into other markets, BookDoc is also looking to offer other services and products, which Beh did not elaborate on.
“We are not just about the booking, that feature is just the appetiser,” he said.