Helium Health, a Nigerian and San Francisco-based health tech startup has acquired Meddy, a doctor booking platform with headquarters in Qatar.
Helium Health CEO, Adegoke Olubusi, reacting to the acquisition described it as a great deal that transcended the borders of Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), two regions who have seldom engaged in trade relations.
As gathered, the acquisition will see Meddy CEO Haris Aghadi and COO Abed Alkarim Khattab join Helium’s leadership team as part of the deal. They will “play integral roles in Helium’s execution of its GCC strategy and operations.”
The company, established in 2016 by Olubusi, Dimeji Sofowora and Tito Ovia specialises in core electronic medical records (EMR) and hospital management solutions in Africa.
In recent years, Helium Health has introduced new services under its platform, including HeliumPay, a billing and payments solution; a collateral-free loan product, HeliumCredit; patient-provider and revenue cycle management service HeliumDoc; and data analytics services.
With operations in six African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda, the company has signed more than 500 healthcare facilities while 7,000+ medical professionals from these facilities provide medical services to approximately 300,000 patients every month.
Conventionally, an enterprise client requires various services on a single platform — from electronic medical record and management information systems to revenue cycle management, consolidated analytics and telemedicine services.
However, several service platforms in the GCC have cases that are more vertical than horizontal. For example, Vezeeta and Okadoc assist subscribers to set up appointments, access teleconsultation services and order medications; Bayzat, on the other hand runs an online platform that conducts HR administration, payroll management and health insurance.
Another platform, Clinicy, operates a digital healthcare management system.
As a result, enterprise clients would have to subscribe to a combination of these services to get a holistic EMR experience.
Regardless of the fact that Helium Health provides a vast array of B2B offerings, it falls short in these other areas, particularly in telemedicine and appointment bookings, which are more consumer-facing products. While Olubusi and co could have created these services, acquiring Meddy Helps sell a big statement of an expansion of the company.
Besides facilitating a doctor booking platform and telemedicine product to manage bookings and patient reviews, Meddy also provides marketing solutions for hospitals to bolster their online presence and expand their patients base.
With their new acquisition, the Y Combinator and Tencent-backed Helium Health now have the capacity to cover a wider range of services health groups require. Meddy will merge with Helium Health’s patient-provider and revenue cycle management platform under the name Helium Doc.
“You don’t have a lot of people who can provide a suite like ours in the GCC. If they do, they’re doing it at a price point that’s so high that they’ve already priced out the market in that sense,” Olubusi said to TechCrunch.
“But we can provide a full suite where you can do your appointments booking, marketing solution, EMR, hospital management information system, and have everything in a one-stop shop. It saves you a lot of stress in the process from trying to consolidate many different systems.”
Alsom speaking, Aghadi said the partnership will give interoperability to its clients, a key feature not provided by other EMRs and siloed individual platforms.
It is understood that several legacy and new products operate without open APIs which makes it difficult for data to move between them. Healthcare providers are left to bear the burden of this missing interoperability whenever they enlist the services of such platforms to make uninformed health decisions.
“Interoperability is a very big challenge in the region, and having this one-stop place like ours solves that,” Aghadi said.
Capitalising on the deficiencies of other healthcare platforms lack and maximising the potentials of a growing opportunity in the GCC region (where investment in digital infrastructure will account for 30% of healthcare investment between 2023 to 2030) constitutes the twin reasons for the acquisition. However, Aghadi and Olubusi have identified a third reason.
According to the duo, Helium Health and Meddyalready share striking similarities in operations, technology execution, culture and market price points. It is this oneness of purpose that made it seamless for both companies to strike a mutually beneficial partnership.
“Beyond the actual product and market opportunity, what made this possible was really the composition of the team, how well they executed the fact that they share a DNA and culture that’s very similar to ours,” said Olubusi.
Meddy presently caters for over 150 private clients within the UAE and Qatar. The company, backed with just $1.8 million in VC funding, has facilitated over 200,000 doctor appointments while helping healthcare providers rake home about $130 million in billings.
As both companies merge to strengthen operations, Olubusi has outlined plans to figure out how to better serve the GCC market with its complete EMR solutions while rolling out telemedicine and doctor booking services for its clients in Africa.
“Over the next few months, a lot of what we’re doing is being able to better roll out these consolidated product suites in our markets and serve them more,” he said. “I mean, we want to double, triple the growth of our client base over the next two to three years and extend our reach even further to make sure that Helium Health is the top health tech provider in the GCC region just as it is in Africa.”
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