Startup snapshot: Moroccan platform aiming to ‘Uberise’ healthcare

DabaDoc is a Morocco-based online platform that allows users in the country, as well as Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa, to book appointments with medical professionals – from doctors to dentists. Patients can use DabaDoc for free, however, doctors pay a fee to be featured on the platform.

According to the founders, brother-and-sister team Zineb Drissi Kaitouni and Driss Drissi Kaitouni, their business has already facilitated over three million leads between patients and doctors. The duo briefed How we made it in Africa on how they financed their business and the biggest risks facing the company.

1. How did you finance your start-up?

The company has been bootstrapped.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

Despite quadrupling or quintupling in size each year since launch, we still have lots of growth to do. We would continue hiring exceptionally talented people and expanding our footprint into exciting markets.

3. What risks does your business face?

We have established DabaDoc as a leading brand with over 5,000 active doctors and millions of patients. Our risks mainly lie in being able to execute our growth plan in our current markets and future markets we enter. We have substantially de-risked the business as it stands, as we are leading by far in our core markets and our repeat users are great promoters of the platform.

We always keep a very close eye on our market fundamentals to make sure we are proactive and not reactive to any important changes. It’s also very helpful for us to have raised capital from local strategic partners who help accelerate our growth with much more than just capital.

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Our users are our best growth channel. Both doctors and patients love our product, we score very high on NPS. Online video campaigns on mobile have proved to be very efficient from a reach perspective as we see people spending more and more time on their smartphones.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

When we initially launched the platform, the service was free for all health professionals, and after 18 months we decided to monetise it as planned. The day we launched DabaDoc Pro (the paying premium doctor membership) was a very exciting moment for the team as we could finally measure quantitatively our users’ satisfaction. The product team was especially ecstatic as essentially the service was sold with no sales team in place.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake, and what you’ve learnt from it.

There are no mistakes, just opportunities to learn. In retrospect, we could have had the confidence to launch our premium paid membership earlier, rather than 18 months after launch, as we have been providing value to our doctor members since day one. There is sometimes a trade-off between user growth and monetisation in the marketplace model.