Lahore-based healthtech Healthwire has closed a $700,000 pre-Series A investment round from Pakistan-focused VC 47 Ventures, it told MENAbytes today. The round was closed a few months ago but has been announced today.
The startup had originally started as a doctor booking platform in 2015 but Hamza Iqbal, its founder and CEO, quickly realized that hospitals and doctors in Pakistan were not ready to use it. He then immediately pivoted to sell it as a cloud-based hospital and practice management software.
“In Pakistan, a big number of doctors work with hospitals on a revenue-share basis. They are not their employees so each one of them has their own way of managing patient appointments and records. There are very few hospitals with centralized booking systems and they have almost no say in the software a doctor chooses to use. Many still book their appointments using pen and paper,” explained Hamza in a conversation with MENAbytes.
Taking the software route allowed Healthwire to sell directly to doctors for a monthly subscription fee, a model they were much more comfortable with at the time. It has been also selling its hospital management solution to hospitals and clinics that want to use centralized systems. The startup has now grown to have 3,500 doctors and 75 hospitals across 52 cities of Pakistan using its software. Each one of them is a paying subscriber, paying Healthwire a monthly fee to use its software.
After winning a sizeable number of hospitals and doctors who are using its software, Healthwire has gone back to its roots and launched the doctor booking platform, enabling patients to book appointments with doctors. The platform is still work-in-progress with many features expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks including telehealth, Hamza told MENAbytes. The doctors using the booking platform pay Healthwire a cut on every successful appointment.
Hamza told MENAbytes that they will be using a large part of the newly raised funds to leverage the strength they’ve gained on B2B side and grow the consumer side of the business, “We intend to offer services to patients throughout their healthcare journey by enabling them to appointments with doctors, view and store their health records, and order medicines and lab tests right from our platform.”
Khurram Zafar, Country Manager for 47 Venture Investments, said “So far, Healthwire has executed flawlessly to acquire the largest supply-side share in the health care service provider space. With the injection of new capital, we look forward to the company rapidly expanding and growing the patient side share of the market and providing 360-degree healthcare solutions to the masses.”