In a span of 1 week, Egyptian statups have been heard more the funding scene than any other Region and Today, Esaal, a platform that has witnessed immense growth in the last two years, is announcing a $1.7 million seed investment from A15; this brings its total funding raised from the VC firm to $3 million since its launch in 2018.
“There is high demand when it comes to needing to talk to someone specialised in mental health. But most people have a fear of going physically to a centre to see a therapist or psychiatrist. It’s not common still; people would love to do it,” said Fadi Doss, Esaal founder and CEO.
Doss further narrated how he’d browse on social media platforms and see people feel comfortable sharing personal problems, sometimes behind pseudonyms, while receiving feedback from other users who weren’t specialists in the subject matter. That trend pushed him into developing a platform that captured this virtual opportunity but with therapists on the other end.
“We decided to have a platform that connects the user to the expert, where he or she can get a personalised and real answer for health concerns in a straightforward and smooth way,” he said. “And if we talk about nutrition, it’s becoming a bit trendy here in the region because obesity among adults is becoming quite high. We can see people started to care much more about their nutrition and wellness.”
Facing the same challenge as any other Country in Africa, Egypt’s doctor to citizen ratio stood at 1:2,000; you can paint a picture when you walk into any government hospital and see long queues.
Esaal has enlisted over 350 consultants on its platform. They provide consultations on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, physiotherapy, paediatrics and nutrition. Users access these services via an app (text, video/voice calls and in-person visitations) and pay with cash, credit cards, Vodafone and Fawry.
Doss said Esaal services are available in 7 other countries across MENA and the GCC: Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine and Iraq.
The company’s revenues show that it has run a capital efficient business with just $3 million, an investment that came in tranches since 2019 from its sole investor, A15.
“They have been prudent in the deployment of capital to date, demonstrating outstanding efficiencies in unit economics, which has enabled their expansion ambitions,” said Karim Beshara, the firm’s managing partner on the investment. “We are proud to see their growth and enjoyed building the business with them throughout the last four years. There is so much more to come from Esaal and this sector.”