Malaysia: Brunei Royal Family makes first tech startup investment in BookDoc

BookDoc's webpage.

Starting the year with another headline-grabbing development, Malaysian healthcare technology startup BookDoc has sealed its US dollar seven-digit seed funding, led by Prince Abdul Qawi, a member of the Brunei Royal Family.

With this, BookDoc has achieved another round of funding with the highest valuation in Asia’s technology startup history. It’s pre-seed funding in September last year also had the highest valuation, the company had said.

The latest round of funding will go towards expanding its workforce, funding the second phase of its technological development and strengthening the infrastructure to support regional growth, the company said.

BookDoc founder Chevy Beh told DEALSTREETASIA that the size of the raised funds is in the US dollar seven-digit range, which the investors prefer not to disclose in detail.

He also noted that this is the first time the Brunei Royal Family is investing in the technology startup space.

“All strategic investors besides the Brunei Royal Family are from the insurance, ICT, healthcare sectors, as well as regulators,” Beh said in an interaction.

In November, Beh had mentioned to DEALSTREETASIA that the startup was in talks to raise its seed capital from among the world’s richest.

Related story: Exclusive: Malaysia’s health-tech platform BookDoc on road to raise seed cap, wants to be more than booking app

Beh’s connections to some of the world’s richest is courtesy of his penchant for the sophisticated game of polo, through which he has gained a “passport of diplomacy”, he quoted Churchill in a media interview, to the likes of Britain’s Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as the Brunei royalty.

Officially launched in October 2015, the healthcare app that aims to improve patients’ access to doctors and medical centres, has been expanding rapidly through various strategic partnerships and is now the market leader in Malaysia in this segment.

Over the past three months, the healthcare app has established tie-ups with prominent specialised hospitals in Malaysia, namely Institut Jantung Negara (National Heart Institute), the largest private hospital in Malaysia in terms of revenue and bed size Sime Darby Ramsay Healthcare, and Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (National Eye Hospital).

The startup has also successfully signed up corporate clients which have a combined market capitalisation of $15 billion.

BookDoc has also begun its regional expansion, venturing into Singapore and Hong Kong, most recently.

In addition to Singapore and Hong Kong, BookDoc is planning to roll out its services in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines over the next few months.

Beh remarked that the BookDoc team has been inspired by the confidence that the investment community has placed in them.

“The latest funding round is really a shot in the arm. The record valuation of the seed round is a resounding endorsement of the execution track record of the team and will spur us on to strive forward with more innovative partnerships while perfecting our solutions. Moreover, we have greater financial flexibility now to seek out long-term strategic investors which could complement our future business growth,” he said in a statement.

BookDoc has recently tied up with ride-hailing startup GrabTaxi in Malaysia to extend user convenience from virtual booking to physical transportation.

To further BookDoc’s commitment to the provision of services in an ethical manner, it has established an Advisory Group, which comprises respected healthcare leaders initially from Malaysia, to advise BookDoc on strategic areas related to content, medical ethics, regulatory matters and issues of interest to the people it serves, namely the public and medical communities.

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