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 the health tech venture, medIQ.
For perspective, women-led startups in Pakistan have only raised three percent of the total funding for the startup ecosystem over the last five years, which is why this fundraiser is a trailblazing occasion for Pakistani women founders to highlight what they can achieve.
medIQ’s Founder and CEO, Dr. Siddique, said “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”.
She continued, “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 a track record with more than three hundred thousand patients served in eighteen months only,” Dr. Siddiqui added.
The pandemic was a catalyst for the startup landscape in Pakistan, which led to investments rising from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million across 83 deals in 2021. Although the market potential is significant, the healthcare sector has been lagging in venture capital financing, and is expected to change with the sector now drawing more interest from investors.
Dr. Siddiqui explained, “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. Hospitals have an average consultation waiting time of 90 minutes and only 2.5 minutes is spent on the actual consultation itself. 90 percent of patients can be easily treated at the point of need without a visit to a hospital”.
She highlighted that “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 Amana 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, a comprehensive network of online pharmacies, and online laboratory services backed by GPs and specialists from 32 specialties, nursing staff, and dedicated home care teams. This is combined through a proprietary electronic medical record system to record patient data in a single profile, and promote data sharing and interoperability, thereby improving the quality of and reducing the cost of care.
With the funds raised, medIQ plans to invest further in its tech infrastructure to provide holistic virtual care to companies and patients, based on the development of AI and Machine Learning tools using high-quality patient data. The company plans to build out its services across 20 cities in Pakistan and expand regionally.