Bloomberg News, 31 March 2020 — Doctor Anywhere, a Singapore startup for remote medical consultations, raised $27 million in funding as the coronavirus pandemic fuels demand for telemedicine services.
The latest investors include Square Peg, an Australian venture capital firm; EDBI, a Singapore government investment arm; and IHH Healthcare Bhd., which operates hospitals and other facilities in Southeast Asia and beyond. The fundraising brings the startup’s capital base to more than $40 million.
Demand for online medical consultations has surged in recent months as the coronavirus overwhelms traditional hospitals and health-care facilities. In China, where the outbreak first erupted in January, more people than ever turned to online consultations and health services after hospitals struggled to cope with the initial deluge of people seeking treatment.
Doctor Anywhere’s revenue and usage has grown by two to three times in recent months, Lim Wai Mun, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. The global outbreak has encouraged previously skeptical people to try out telemedicine and — based on the company’s data — there’s more than a 50% chance that first-time users will return, he added.
“It’s definitely a catalyst to shift the fundamentals in the whole telehealth industry,” Lim said. “Our view is that it is not something that is reactive; there is a change in fundamentals.”
Doctor Anywhere serves more than a million users in Thailand and Vietnam and its home base of Singapore, which has experienced a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. People there can download its app to consult a licensed doctor for S$20 ($14), and get medicine delivered to their homes. Since the outbreak, Doctor Anywhere has deployed its platform at ferry terminals around the island, and it’s also provided services to self-quarantined individuals. Lim said he now plans to use the new capital to expand to Malaysia and the Philippines while deepening its presence in existing markets.
“EDB seeks to bolster Doctor Anywhere’s journey as it continues to champion the adoption of telemedicine to bring healthcare accessibility and affordability to all patients in Southeast Asia,” said Chu Swee Yeok, CEO of EDBI, the investing arm of the government agency spearheading economic development of Singapore.
Author: Yoolim Lee, Bloomberg News