E-health startup El Dacatra targets Gulf after Egypt growth

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Egyptian healthcare comparison platform El Dacatra has its sights set on expansion to the Gulf as it sees ongoing growth in its home market.

Launched as a pilot in December 2014 and made fully available to the public in July of last year, El Dacatra is a healthcare comparison platform for patients to search and compare between private healthcare providers.

Its aim is to empower patients to make informed decisions through easy access to doctors’ information, qualifications and patients’ reviews, while also elevating medical awareness by providing original Arabic medical content from doctors.

The startup’s story began when founder Nada Hamada was pregnant, and had a hard time searching for good doctors and hospitals.

“The search process was very hectic and long and I was surprised that there was no reference or database for healthcare providers that contains information and patients’ reviews,” she told Disrupt Africa.

“Since I come from a marketing background, I spotted the market gap and decided to fill it.”

El Dacatra provides patients with all the information they need to know, whether it is a doctor’s qualifications, other patients’ reviews, or even basic contact information and operating hours.

Hamada said though there are couple of players in the healthcare IT sector in Egypt, her startup’s key edge is that it offers detailed reviews based on many elements. Moreover, El Dacatra enables healthcare providers to list all their information, as well as add videos and photos to their profiles.

“Our platform gives healthcare providers all the features that they would enjoy if they developed their own website, but at a much cheaper rate and completely hassle free setup,” she said.

Bootstrapped since its launch, El Dacatra has just started offering premium accounts as it monetises the platform. The site currently sees 15,000 monthly visits, and has over 2,000 subscribed users. Around 130 doctors are so far subscribed to the platform, with Hamada expecting all these figures to double over the next two months with extensive marketing and search engine optimisation.

Funding will be sought, however, as the startup has an eye on expanding in the Gulf in the coming years. Hamada is confident of continued success, as the challenges El Dacatra has faced has not been minimal – lack of funding, the high cost of website development, and the challenges introducing the idea of ratings and reviews to the Egyptian healthcare market.

“The biggest difficulty of all was doubt, as we weren’t sure how users and healthcare providers would respond to the idea and interact with the platform,” she said.

“But we kept believing in our dream and pushing our limits until we got validation, and we are still thriving for more and more.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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