Egyptian e-health startup 7keema to expand across Africa via quasi-franchising model

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Egyptian on-demand nursing services platform 7keema is planning on expanding across Africa via a quasi-franchising approach that will see if partner and offer equity to entrepreneurial operating teams in the continent’s major cities.

Launched in 2017 by a team with vast combined experience in the health space, and led by medical doctor Amr Bakr, 7keema – pronounced “Hakeema” – is an on-demand nursing services that applies advanced technology to enhance the availability, accessibility, quality, and safety of home nursing services.

It’s Uber-style app matches users with nearby licensed, registered nurses, while in recent years it has expanded its scope with a VR game to assist children during vaccinations, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for nursing triage, and a tele-nursing service.

“We recruit freelance nurses through a very meticulous process to ensure the selection of qualified staff to be placed on the platform. The process starts with advertising for freelance nursing jobs, followed up with interviews and tests. The accepted staff then undergo orientation training on quality management, infection control, communication skills, and “how to use app” sessions,” Bakr told Disrupt Africa.

7keema, which was initially self-funded but has since secured a total of US$250,000 in angel investment, has on-boarded almost 700 nurses in Egypt, and completed 11,000 requests. With the platform seeing monthly growth of 33 per cent at home, it is now thinking about expansion. The startup is in the process of scaling into Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Kingdom (UK), and also has ambitious plans for the rest of Africa.

Bakr said the startup wants to empower local e-health entrepreneurs across the continent to start their own on-demand home nursing services by providing them with technology support and mentorship. Interested parties can apply to take part in this quasi-franchising approach to expansion here.

“Our vision at 7keema is to expand operations everywhere through a model of local partnerships with strong entrepreneurial operational teams in the main cities,” Bakr said.

“We provide the local teams with up to 50 per cent equity in the local branch, and work to get investors to join after some success on the ground. We provide full technology support in addition to quality management through standard policies and procedures.”

An innovative approach to expansion from a startup that takes quality very seriously indeed. Bakr said 7keema has various departments that ensure quality across the board: an operations team responsible for recruitment of nurses, a quality team responsible for issuing policies and procedures, a customer services team, a technology team, and a research and development department that is always trying out innovative new tools.

This is all part of a plan that Bakr hopes will see 7keema – which was one of the 10 startups that pitched at the Africa Startup Summit in Kigali earlier this year – establish itself as a major player in what is a massive market.

“The home healthcare market is huge, and the demand for nursing services is a global challenge. The market size exceeds US$400 billion, and the Middle East and Africa represents about 20 per cent of this figure,” he said.

Moreover, 7keema, which primarily makes money from charging commissions on bookings made through its platform, believes it has an edge over competitors in this space.

“We have some conventional competitors who are home care service providers, but they are very far from our scalable model,” said Bakr. “They don’t use technology and are working on a very small scale. 7keema is the first mover in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a technology-enabled on-demand nursing services platform.”

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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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