BookDoc focuses on strategic partnerships for growth
By Anushia Kandasivam February 14, 2018
- Now covering the whole medical tourism ecosystem in one platform
- Continuing focus on the B2B revenue model is working well
MALAYSIA-based health tech company BookDoc has big plans for this year. Founder and chief executive officer Chevy Beh (pic) says that in the past year, the startup has focused on increasing the depth of its services and will now put more focus on breadth.
In an interview with Digital News Asia last year, Beh said that BookDoc’s immediate KPI was to break even. He now says that the startup is on the way to meeting this goal and it can, in fact, be achieved this year if it gets a few more clients (or one big client) though only if it does not add more services to its platform, hence incurring more development costs.
“Based in our current state and everything being equal, we will break even this year. But not if we have additional development costs. That’s the way tech companies work – you have to start simple and then do more,” he says.
Beh explains that though BookDoc has not expanded geographically in the past year – it is in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong – it has added services on its platform so that it covers a complete medical tourism ecosystem.
BookDoc is essentially a doctor discover platform. It already allows users immediate access to navigation apps Waze and Google Maps to find their way around, and ride sharing apps Uber and Grab to solve transport issues.
It partners with Agoda so that medical tourists can find hotels near their doctors to stay at during their treatments, and with Trip Advisor so that they can find restaurants and tourist attractions.
More recently, BookDoc has tied up with Airbnb so that medical tourists can easily find homestays during their treatment. “Sometimes during treatment, you can stay in a hotel for months. We listened to what people wanted,” says Beh.
As part of going more in-depth with its services, BookDoc has also landed new partners in Singapore, among them Q&M Dental Group, the largest dental group in Asia in terms of market capital and number of outlets, as well as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the sole trade union centre in Singapore.
Beh says that getting such large companies on board took a lot of convincing, especially NTUC, but persistence and the startup’s evidence of market traction eventually won them.
BookDoc had already got Malaysia’s National Heart Institute and large hospital groups KPJ and Sime Darby on board at the time and, Beh says, decided to put getting Singaporean partners on hold when efforts seemed to be going nowhere and headed to Hong Kong instead.
In Hong Kong, BookDoc signed on Adventist Health, Town Health International Medical Group and Quality HealthCare Medical Services.
“Back in Singapore, they saw we had made some progress and we were not must a Malaysian company for Malaysians,” explains Beh.
Beh considers NTUC something of a coup; the government body could easily have gone with a local health tech startup instead. “We are complementing what they do, not directly replacing them. At the end of the day, people would rather be complemented than disrupted or displaced,” he says.
The core of BookDoc’s revenue model is still the B2B segment. Last year, it had six corporates signed up. As of January this year, it has got another six on the books. Beh reveals that one of the startup’s big targets for this year is to get another 10 companies on board by the end of the year.
The other big target of the year is to get into Indonesia, a notoriously complex market for foreign tech companies to find a foothold in. BookDoc is surmounting this by going through its usual B2B route.
Beh reveals that BookDoc will be partnering with two big hospital groups in Indonesia starting in the first quarter of this year, which he says is quite a milestone for the startup.
One of the partnerships is with Lippo Group, which is Indonesia’s largest healthcare group and operates 24 hospitals across Indonesia. Beh declined to reveal the name of the other group as yet.
“We need as many strategic partners as possible to help us achieve our goal, because it means we can leverage on each other’s tech,” says Beh.
“We’ve already got such partners, so we need to and can find more. We just need to think outside the box.”