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Left to right: Ahmad Karim H. (CTO), Dimas Prasetyo (CEO)

Health tech startup PesanLab was built to answer the concern that there is a “missing link” in today’s health tech startup scene in Indonesia.

“There are already startups working on online consultation with doctors; there are also startups working on prescription drugs delivery. What is missing is the diagnostic stage — the process that bridges the consultation stage and the medication stage,” Dimas Prasetyo, CEO of PesanLab, explains in an interview with e27 at their office.

“For example, before one can be given drugs for cholesterol, they need to have their cholesterol checked first,” he says.

PesanLab itself is a sister company of HaloDoc, which recently made headlines with its pre-Series A funding round from Djarum Group, Go-Jek, and Mensa Group.

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Together with HaloDoc and medicine delivery startup ApotikAntar (another sister company of HaloDoc), PesanLab aims to build an ecosystem of health tech startups that provide end-to-end medical services to the Indonesian public.

An example of its cross-platform collaborations is the integration of PesanLab features in HaloDoc app, which has been in operation since August 2016.

“Right now our service is only available on mobile and desktop site, but we are set to launch our stand-alone app in the next three months,” Prasetyo says.

PesanLab customers use their site to book a wide range of services, from blood test to x-ray test, at nine partner diagnostic laboratories in Greater Jakarta Area.

For the medical staff, laboratories installed with a dashboard that enables them to access patients’ data, requested services and even track payment process.

Currently, the test results are being sent directly to the patients’ email, though the startup is working on a feature that allows them to access the results on the platform.

“So that you no longer need to call back and forth to find out if your results are out. They can also find out the pricing range immediately [through the platform], and prepare themselves for the tests,” Prasetyo says.

For simple services such as basic blood testing, the startup even has ‘home service,’ where laboratory staff will come to a patient’s home or office to have their blood sample taken.

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A tough business

Working in the health care sector comes with its own challenges. However, it is one that PesanLab is ready to conquer.

“Health care is a unique sector. Only people who understand it can do business in this sector … It requires specific knowledge,” Prasetyo says.

“This becomes a challenge as most tech people do not understand the health care sector. At the other hand, the health care sector needs to be more in touch with the digital technology, the internet. This is what we aim to balance,” he adds.

The CEO himself is not a new face in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Medical Technology and Laboratory Science from Yogyakarta Health Polytechnic, with eight years of experience in marketing, operational, and management in clinical laboratory diagnostics industry.

PesanLab itself was founded in 2014 by four founders: Prasetyo, Ahmad Karim H. (CTO), Thomas Khogeen (Chief Design Officer), and Muhammad Aslam (COO). Based in Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta, the startup is run by a team of 12.

Interestingly, PesanLab got to thank leading Indonesian internet forum Kaskus.id for the establishment of their company, as that was where the founders met.

“The founders have an idealism, [they] want to create something of value. At first, they want to build ‘something general,’ but then they learned about the existing opportunity in diagnostics. There is a chance to become a market leader, that’s why they decided to do this,” Prasetyo says.

The startup has raised its seed round of funding from undisclosed angel investors, and is planning to raise another round.

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The road ahead

There are many reasons why PesanLab is optimistic of the future.

First of all, the startup and its parent company have a good relationship with policy-makers in the health care sector.

“The government admits that there are still gaps in our regulatory system. For example, there is no regulation on digital medical recording system. They [have given signals that they] are aware that tech moves faster than regulation; as long as it is for mutual good, the government will continue to support and adjust with tech advancement,” Prasetyo says.

Second, though there are companies such as 1mg in India and Medivo in the US, in its home country PesanLab is very much all alone, so there’s no viable competition yet.

“But we are certain that soon there’ll be competitors,” Prasetyo states.

Internally, apart from its stand-alone app, the startup is also planning for same-day home service (at the moment customers can only register for next-day home service) and an on-demand nurse service.

“We have a project called ‘Home Care ID’, which is a group of certified and trained nurses. Apart from doing at-home blood testing, they are also available for various home care services, like attending wounds or taking care of elderly people. We are testing this by end of August,” he said.

Part of the company’s step towards the future is its rebranding move. Prior to being known as PesanLab, the startup was known as LabConX (pronounced ‘LabConnects’).

“People are pronouncing the name wrongly, as ‘LabConk’, and as you know, it didn’t sound really good,” Prasetyo laughs, as ‘conk‘ is an Indonesian slang for ‘queer.’

“So we stick to the main idea of our service: PesanLab (‘ordering lab service’),” he closes.