Catching Up

"We Love Competition": M'sian Healthcare Startup After Hitting 4 Countries In 1 Year

It began with a terrifying experience—witnessing his best friend on the verge of death due to a lack of proper medical attention.

Determined to make a change, Dato’ Chevy Beh founded BookDoc to help address the inefficiencies and the informational asymmetries in healthcare. This platform works by linking up those in need with those who can assist, thus optimising precious time for all the involved parties

One year after their launch, the service is now available in 4 countries and is involved in various partnerships with other organisations. We get in touch with Dato’ Chevy to catch up on how BookDoc is doing since it was founded.

365 Days Later

A lot can happen in a year, particularly in the fast-paced ecosystem that startups are a part of. According to Chevy, the biggest change he’s experienced is the growth of his company in terms of numbers.

“Things are moving so quickly. We started with just a small team that made it difficult for us to cater to all our customers’ needs. This brought tonnes of sleepless night for us which had a painful effect on our personal lives. That’s why it was crucial for me to grow the team fast,” said Chevy.

The team managed to pull through and are now working together as one of the pioneer startups for healthcare not just in Malaysia but other locations in the Asia region as well.

For lean startups that are bootstrapping and hustling, it’s hard to measure success, particularly if you don’t have much of a revenue stream to show yet. However Chevy said he considers being sustainable for a whole year an accomplishment.

“Sustainability is one thing but seeing the endorsements we’ve gotten from authorities and partnerships with the government has made me believe that there’s a brighter future for BookDoc waiting ahead,” said Chevy.

Their Key Achievements

Image Credit: BookDoc
Image Credit: BookDoc

In a year, this startup got busy with trying to expand their business locally as well as internationally.

To date, BookDoc currently operates in 4 countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand; their service now spans over 17 cities.

April of this year was the beginning their partnership with the Ministry of Tourism who helped endorse their newly launched web portal. The recent partnership they announced with Agoda, the largest hotel aggregator in Asia is also meant to tap into the potential medical tourism in this region.

The web portal was designed as a perfect complement to their healthcare professional booking app. This enables better access to healthcare for tourists and supports medical tourism by allowing them a foot in the door for previously untapped markets.

In July, BookDoc signed a partnership with The Social Security Organisation of Malaysia (SOCSO), the statutory body responsible for social security schemes mandated for Malaysian employees. The partnership enables the members to access information of all its panel clinics and make online appointments for its Health Screening Program (HSP) anytime and anywhere.

Of course, not everything that happens in a startup’s journey is all sunshine and rainbows. As they say, the greater the power, the more responsibilities they get.

Some of the challenges that were faced by BookDoc included coping with demand. Due to their high traffic that came from working in various countries and cities, the manpower they needed also increased which cornered them to a decision of using their funding to expand the team.

The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Image Credit:  BookDoc
Image Credit: BookDoc

We are in an age of constant innovation and change. More and more tech businesses and small enterprises rise up with the intention of solving problems with their ideas. So it’s hardly a surprise that BookDoc does see its fair share of healthy competition.

They take it in their stride though; Chevy sees competition as something they actually welcome. He appreciates that people are trying to solve or are attempting to solve an issue that has been there all along.

“We love competition because it helps grow the size of the ‘pie’ we feed on while also educating the public on how technology can help users. It also continues to innovate and bring more value to users too,” said Chevy.

Since the startup scene this year seemed to be booming, Chevy has predictions that next year will take a slight slump and that traction will slow down, especially when it boils down to getting a VC to fund a startup revolving around healthcare.

“VCs will learn that healthcare is quite difficult to navigate. It is a heavily regulated industry and they’d know that they aren’t backing cowboys who did not do their homework or what can and can’t be done in the healthcare sector,” said Chevy.

Healthcare In The Future

With the advancement of technology sees foreign material being produced and new machinery being introduced to further improve medicine. BookDoc agrees that this is a constant evolution but the technology introduced should have the element of pragmatism rather than just being theory-based.

“We innovate and enhance our products and services almost on a daily basis to stay current to our users’ needs,” said Chevy.

In terms of what they see in the future for BookDoc, the startup says they have quite a lot of new products that they will make available as well as introducing new services. They also have the ambition of moving beyond 4 countries and expanding their influence further.

Check out their website here and Facebook page here.

Feature Image Credit: BookDoc