Egypt-based healthtech startup, Esaal, whose service cuts across physical health consultation, mental health, nutrition, and a range of others has raised a $1.7 million seed investment from A15, -its sole investor- to invest in product and brand development, hire more talent as well as scale its offerings across the Middle East and North African region.
Fadi Doss, the CEO and, founder of Esaal said people resort to platforms like his for their medical needs due to the fear of stigmatization associated with conditions like mental health.
“There is high demand when it comes to needing to talk to someone specialized in mental health. But most people have a fear of going physically to a center to see a therapist or psychiatrist. It’s still not common; people would love to do it.”
Doss mentioned the anonymity that online health and wellness consultation platforms afford their patients as the singular motivation to found the platform in 2018.
“We decided to have a platform that connects the user to the expert, where he or she can get a personalized and real answer for health concerns straightforwardly and smoothly,” he said. “And if we talk about nutrition, it’s becoming a bit trendy here in the region because obesity among adults is becoming quite high. We can see people started to care much more about their nutrition and wellness,” he explained.
Esaal has over 350 consultants on its platform that patients can consult on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, physiotherapy, pediatrics, and nutrition via an app (text, video/voice calls, and in-person visitations) and pay either with cash, credit cards, Vodafone or Fawry.
The startup also adopts a B2B2C approach where it partnered with over 10 medium to large companies to provide these services to their 5,000+ employees. Esaal currently charges subscription fees and on-demand consultation fees with plans to make money from in-person visitations soonest.
Its services are available in 7 markets across the MENA region and the GCC countries – Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine, and, Iraq. Esaal’s user base grew by 55% between 2021 and 2021 during the global pandemic and currently stands at over 1 million. The startup’s revenues and ARPU also increased 250% to $4.4 million in 2021 and 130% between 2020 and 2021. It projects a revenue CAGR of about 50 to 60% between 2021 and 2025.
Karim Beshara, A15’s managing partner extolled the startup’s prudent management of funds and expressed delight in their partnership “They have been prudent in the deployment of capital to date, demonstrating outstanding efficiencies in unit economics, which has enabled their expansion ambitions. We are proud to see their growth and enjoyed building the business with them throughout the last four years. There is so much more to come from Esaal and this sector.”
Esaal’s capital efficiency is one way it stands out from its competition, Doss claimed. He also stressed another subtle difference: while other platforms focus on doctor consultations, mental health, or nutrition like Vezeeta, Meddy, and Shezlong, Esaal merges the three verticals into one.
“There’s huge potential going deeper inside every country we are currently in and penetrating more countries in the region. Yes, we launched in eight countries, but I believe the potential is still enormous, and we can get multiples upon multiples in the coming four or five years.”