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The Saudi-based leading telehealth startup Cura has successfully raised $4M (SAR 15M) in its latest funding round. The Series A round was led by ELM and Wa'ed (the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Aramco).
Established in 2016 by software engineers Wael Kabli and Mohammad Zekrallah, Cura became the first Saudi-based platform to launch on-demand online health and wellness services. Empowering its users with real-time messaging, voice and video technologies, instant consultations with a doctor 24/7, online e-prescriptions, and extended 6-8 weeks wellness programs to advise on mental health and lifestyle.
The Healthcare industry in Saudi Arabia observed an unprecedented uptick in VC activity and investment after the Pandemic shifted Healthcare industry dynamics and highlighted the need for digital solutions. Driven by an all-time high in transactions closed in 2021, funding in Saudi-based healthcare startups increased by a sharp 52,000%YoY surpassing all funds raised in the past 3 years cumulatively.
With more than 4,500 doctors registered in the platform, Cura was able to assist around 350,000 users since 2016, of whom the majority reside in the kingdom. Meanwhile, the startup’s popularity has been growing worldwide to represent 5% of its overall customers, as the founders plan to undertake an international expansion in the next 3-5 years. “We aim to help redefine the model of care in which patients access health care services in Saudi and move towards a digital-first approach were seeing a doctor online becomes people’s first choice and to move as many health services as possible to be at patients hands.” highlighted Wael Kabli CEO and founder of Cura.
Last year, public demand for easily accessible online healthcare services grew tremendously as the region was forced to adapt to the social and health restraints during the COVID-19 pandemic. This accelerated the rate of both local investments and entrepreneurial innovation in the healthcare sector, further launching Cura’s technologies to the forefront. Mohammad Zekrallah, Co-founder and CTO elaborated “It’s definitely exciting times for the digital health industry in the region nowadays, especially post COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen tremendous month over month growth during the lockdown and we can’t wait to keep innovating our technology and services to help people in need live the healthiest and most convenient lifestyle we can possibly offer them,” at Cura.
Beyond its pioneering position as the first licensed telemedicine company in Saudi Arabia, Cura had close collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Health to work on digitizing the health sector as a whole and to develop the foundational structure for telemedicine further boosting its adoption and reach among Saudi citizens. This helped create the ministry’s national telemedicine mobile application, “Sehha”, through Cura’s licensed technology. "Today, we are pleased to announce our investment in Cura. This investment match Elm’s vision in designing appropriate digital solutions for the healthcare sector, which contributes to raising the quality of life of the community. We are looking forward to more investments in pioneering and emerging companies during the coming period." commented Majid Saad Alarifi, Marketing Vice President and Elm spokesperson.
It's worth noting that this is the third investment round after two rounds of SAR 6.5 million investment made by Enmaa Saudi Business Information Technology “ESBIT” from 2016 to 2018. ESBIT is owned by Enmaa Saudi Business Holding Co. with a mandate to increase local content in the Kingdom by investing in localizing technologies. Cura plans to use the funds to improve the entire patient journey and introduce further services for both individual users and partnering clients, like collecting blood samples from patients’ homes and providing integrable employee health benefits with insurance companies. Fahad Alidi, Managing Director at Wa’ed concluded “Our investment in Cura comes as recognition to acknowledge the incredible milestones that the founding team was able to achieve as the pioneering leaders of telemedicine in Saudi Arabia.”
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