Singapore-headquartered health tech startup Doctor Anywhere has bagged USD 27 million in a Series B funding round led by Australian VC firm Square Peg, Singapore government investment arm EDBI, as well as international healthcare provider IHH Healthcare.
Pavilion Capital and existing investor Kamet Capital also participated in the round. The investment increases the company’s total funding to USD 40 million, marking one of the largest financing raised by Singapore’s health tech startups in the past two years, according to an official statement.
Doctor Anywhere will utilize the fresh capital to further strengthen its presence in Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, while also preparing its expansion into new markets like Malaysia and the Philippines this year.
“This will include scaling our technology infrastructure, building and incorporating big data capabilities into our platform and relevant products, and growing our network of general healthcare practitioners and healthcare specialists,” Doctor Anywhere’s founder and CEO Lim Wai Mun told KrASIA in an interview.
Founded in 2016, the startup offers online and offline healthcare services. The platform provides users access to locally licensed doctors and medication deliveries.
Countries like Singapore and Thailand are preparing for a rapidly aging population, which increases the need for accessible healthcare services. “By 2030, one in four Singaporeans, for example, will be aged 65 years or older, and resultant healthcare costs are expected to rise ten-fold over the next 15 years,” Mun said.
Bringing down healthcare costs
Mun believes that telemedicine can reduce the cost of resource allocation in healthcare, particularly in the area of chronic disease management. Medical professionals can take advantage of smartphone features like video and audio calls to monitor a patient’s condition remotely. This is especially useful for patients with mobility issues, and it also provides a convenient option for caregivers who may have difficulty finding time to accompany the patient to see a doctor.
“We saw an opportunity to make a difference. Our belief is that access to healthcare should be a universal right, so we started Doctor Anywhere to bridge the lack of access to quality healthcare. We want to ensure that resources are utilized more efficiently, that overall redundancies and costs are reduced with technology,” Mun explained.
Doctor Anywhere is one of the earliest participants of Singapore Ministry of Health’s sandbox for telemedicine, working closely with the government to shape the virtual health landscape in Singapore, he said. The startup also operates eight physical clinics in the city-state, which are part of the Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) scheme.
“With the endorsement of the Singapore government through our latest round of funding, Doctor Anywhere is well-positioned to look after the health of the nation, especially during difficult times like this,” so Mun.
The entrepreneur believes that the startup has seen rapid progress in the past year. It has more than one million registered users and 200,000 of them are active app users. Doctor Anywhere recently launched an in-app marketplace and hybrid clinic chain, and secured partnerships with various big names such as Bao Minh Insurance, ViettelPay, Cigna Insurance, as well as Gojek.
Increasing demand amid COVID-19 pandemic
With the current pandemic, more people become aware of the importance of health tech services and Doctor Anywhere is committed to continually improve its services to help more users. “This situation has brought to light the need for telehealth as a useful tool to address workforce issues, care for at-risk populations, and deliver more efficient care,” Mun argued. “Since the COVID-19 crisis started, we’ve witnessed a growth of between two to three-fold on the Doctor Anywhere platform.”
The platform’s data shows that once customers experience the convenience of telehealth services, they tend to use the platform again.
“For example, we are currently seeing many patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure choosing to lower their exposure and risk of contracting the coronavirus. Instead of traveling out of their homes and spending time in clinics or hospitals, they are using the Doctor Anywhere platform to connect with doctors and get medication from home,” he added.
This also gives healthcare providers a safe platform to continue delivering medical care for those in need. Mun concluded that in a time like this, when public health systems are being stretched, medtech can play a part in keeping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, while also providing users with health advisories, as well as updates and tips about the COVID-19 disease.