Dr. Saira Siddique has become the first solo female founder of a Pakistani startup to have raised $1.8 million in pre-seed funding for health tech venture, medIQ. For perspective, women-led startups in Pakistan have only raised 3% of total funding for the startup ecosystem over the last five years and so this fundraise is a trailblazing occasion for Pakistani women founders highlighting what they can achieve.
“We are thrilled to complete this strategic funding round, which is an endorsement of our holistic healthcare model by leading investors with robust healthcare and technology expertise,” said Dr Saira Siddique, Founder & CEO of medIQ.
“medIQ is playing a critical role in redefining digital healthcare services by improving quality and convenience for patients, reducing costs for patients, healthcare providers and insurers, with a strong capacity to become a regional player. An integrated digital platform is a present day must-have in a healthcare system to deliver an efficient model of care at scale. mediQ has demonstrated track record with more than three hundred thousand patients served in eighteen months only,” she added.
COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for the startup landscape in Pakistan, which saw investments rise from $65 million in 2020 to $350m across 83 deals in 2021. Though market potential is significant, the healthcare sector has however been lagging in venture capital financing, which is expected to change with this sector now drawing more interest of investors.
“Our health care system is fragmented and hospitals are overburdened as patients have to go to a hospital even for minor ailments. An inefficient, “brick and mortar, hospital centered” approach makes timely, affordable and holistic healthcare impossible,” said Dr. Saira. “Hospitals have an average consultation waiting time of 90 minutes and only 2.5 minutes is spent on actual consultation itself. 90% of patients can be easily treated at the point of need without a visit to a hospital. medIQ is reversing the current model of hospital centered healthcare delivery by bringing healthcare to the patients at their point of need using a “patient centered” approach.
The round brings together a number of strategic investors led by USA based Amaana Capital and Middle East & Pakistan focused – Cordoba Ventures (CorVCF). The US-based early-stage investor Seraph Group, TAJDEED, a syndicate of prominent physicians from APPNA (All Pakistani Physicians of North American descent Association), House of Habib, and leading health tech angel investors from Silicon Valley also participated in the round. It is the first direct investment for both NRD Capital and Seraph Group in a Pakistani startup.
medIQ is Pakistan’s first integrated B2B virtual care platform providing everything a company or insurer needs to deliver virtual care to its members. It also serves both urban and rural individual customers by directly connecting them to health service providers.
The B2B virtual care solution powered by medIQ provides a customizable plug-and-play technology stack, comprehensive network of online pharmacy, online laboratory services backed by GPs and specialists from 32 specialities, nursing staff and dedicated home care teams. This is brought together through a proprietary electronic medical record system to record patient data in a single profile, promoting data sharing and interoperability, thereby improving quality and reducing cost of care.
With the fund raise, medIQ plans to further invest in its tech infrastructure to provide holistic virtual care to companies and patients, based on development of AI and Machine Learning tools using high-quality patient data. The company plans to build out its services across 20 cities of Pakistan and expand regionally.