SA medical bookings platform Recomed set to announce new funding round


Cape Town based medical bookings platform Recomed is set to announce a new funding round led by local venture capital (VC) firm HAVAÍC, the startup’s founder Sheraan Amod has confirmed.

Amod, who celebrates his 32nd birthday today and will speak at tonight’s Startup Grind Cape Town event, told Ventureburn in a phone call yesterday that an announcement on the deal would be made next week.

After selling his previous startup Personera (who he co-founded with Jaco de Wet and Michael Champanis) in 2011 for an undisclosed sum, Amod started Recomed in 2013. In January last year the company received R6-million in equity funding for an disclosed stake, from local funder Edge Growth’s ASISA ESD Fund.

The company has 14 employees at present and has begun white labelling its platform – which allows patients to book appointments with health care professionals – to health-care providers such as Discovery Wellness Clinics and Medicross.

Recomed founder Sheraan Amod says an announcement on the deal would be made next week

The platform currently fields about 30 000 bookings per month and lists about 1500 providers. “The market has accepted it (web platforms to book appointments) and is moving forward,” said Amod, whose parents are both doctors.

He claims that the platform helps health-care professionals to increase the number of new patients by 15% to 20%.

He claims that on average new patients make up at least a fifth of bookings that doctors receive from RecoMed. In addition patients are more satisfied as they can make bookings from anywhere simply by accessing the platform with their smartphone, while saving money on phone calls.

Recomed generates revenue off charging doctors and specialists a R15 booking fee and ad valorem percentage on the appointment fee.

Amod said initially clients paid a subscription fee to get listed on the platform.

However subsequently a decision was made to switch to charging a fee per booking — to ensure that those doctors who generate fewer bookings are not dissuaded from using the service, while the platform is able to collect more revenue from those that are growing the number of bookings they made through the platform.

He said there was significant potential for the startup to use the platform to provide other services such as making available healthcare records, allowing for payments to health-care professionals and providing doctor’s advice.

At present the National Health Act does not allow for the provision of doctors’ advice over web platforms – as any initial appointments with doctors or specialists must be in the form of a face-to-face visit.

Read more: HealthTech app, platform builders face legal hurdles in SA, hear delegates

In addition, there are various regulations governing the collection, storage and release of health-care data.

“A lot of health-care companies are sloppy in this space,” said Amod. But he is quick to point out that Recomed is compliant with the POPI Act – which has yet to come into effect – which will affect how businesses acquire, use and store data on clients. The company makes use of an encrypted database.

Added to this to ensure that the company does not infringe on a provision in the National Health Act which bans doctors and specialists from promoting themselves through advertising, the platform does not allow doctors or specialists to promote themselves by taking out adverts.

“We’re doing it with the health-care industry and everything we are doing so far has been in consultation with them,” he said.

‘SA startup sector is growing’

And what does he think of the current startup scene? Despite South Africa’s present “gloomy” economic outlook, thing for the country’s startup sector are looking up, he reckons.

“Our sector is growing, there is no doubt about it,” said Amod, who adds that eight years ago there were very few venture-capital funded companies in South Africa. “There is more activity going around than ever before, by miles.”

The Startup Grind Cape Town event will be held at Workshop 17 in the Waterfront at 5.30pm. See here for more details.

*Editor’s note (24 November 2017): Recomed founder Sheraan Amod claims that of the patient bookings that doctors receive from RecoMed, on average 20-50% are new patients — and not that the platform helps health-care professionals to increase the number of new patients by 15% to 20%. Ventureburn regrets the error.



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