LAHORE: Marham.pk, a Lahore-based health-tech startup, has announced the receipt of $1 million in seed funding to help it grow into a healthcare superapp.
The seed round was headed by Indus Valley Capital, a Pakistan-focused Venture Capital fund created by former LinkedIn executive Aatif Awan, which has previously invested in Pakistan’s Airlift and Bazaar, according to a statement from the company. Weihan Liew, an Indonesian angel investor, is also a participant in the round.
According to Asma Salman Omer, co-founder of Marham, the firm has already raised $150,000 from friends and family, bringing the total raised by Marham to $1.15 million if the storey is genuine.
Marham.pk, which was founded in 2016 by Asma and Ehsan Imam, claims to be the first digital platform to help patients identify certified doctors and schedule appointments using a website, smartphone app, and telehelpline. The business also says that it has enrolled 20,000 doctors from 67 locations across Pakistan, and that its network has assisted over 10 million patients.
“Through technology, procedures, and telemedicine-enabled micro-clinics across Pakistan, our objective is to develop a healthcare ecosystem for patients, doctors, and hospitals to provide speedier care and a better experience,” said Ehsan Imam, CEO and co-Founder of Marham.
The Superapp ambitions
Marham, according to Asma, aspires to become a superapp where users can access a variety of healthcare services on a single platform. Marham intends to provide all of these services, from appointment scheduling through phone and video consultations, medication delivery, and lab tests.
“We currently provide these services, but on a small scale,” Asma explains, “and we want to expand it now to a larger scale.”
The concept of the Pakistani healthtech superapp is yet to conceive a formal winner. In fact, Marham is the only one to officially call itself a superapp that provides an all-encompassing set of services. However, other startups in the same space are also up in the game to provide all-around services, without officially calling themselves a superapp.
For example, Augmentcare is working on a health tech superapp that will give all-encompassing healthcare services on a single platform. Augmentcare offers all of Marham’s services, including doctor discovery via the platform, consultation and post-consultation services, with ambitions to expand. Similarly, during the pandemic, Dawaai.pk, which is simply an online pharmacy, began offering other services including as teleconsultations and lab tests.
“The funds will be used to improve the platform’s service quality. We’ll also be beefing up our growth infrastructure, focusing on user acquisition, and expanding our team,” Asma explains.
Marham plans to establish itself as a formidable player in the healthtech industry and expand its services to smaller cities and rural areas with available funding, according to the startup. Their journey to spread their service across 67 cities in Pakistan and help over 10 million patients was bootstrapped since inception, according to the startup, and now with available funding, Marham plans to establish itself as a formidable player in the healthtech industry and expand their services to smaller cities and rural areas.
Marham’s funding comes at a pivotal time in 2021, with Pakistani companies raising a total of $120 million in the first half of the year. Despite the fact that the sum raised is more than double that of last year’s $66 million, eCommerce and financial firms have raised the majority of the funding so far this year.
Only 8% of funding went to health tech businesses in the first half of the year, indicating that the sector is still underfunded. In March of this year, Sehat Kahani claimed to have raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round, while Dawaai.pk claimed to have raised $8.5 million in June 2021. Marham’s is the third public announcement of funding by a health tech business this year, and we’re looking for additional money to flow into the industry, which, like eCommerce startups, has seen forced acceptance during the pandemic.