The round was led by Hong Leong Financial Group President and CEO Raymond Choong Yee How, with Sparklabs Global Ventures in participation.
Armed with this investment, DocDoc is taking a big swing at the booming US$50 million medical tourism industry, of which the centre of gravity is Southeast Asia, according to DocDoc CEO Cole Sirucek.
“South East Asia is already the capital of the world for medical tourism and so it makes a lot of sense that the world’s leading doctor discovery engine comes from here. Our mission is to help South East Asia bolster its leading medical tourism position by effectively marketing the scale, scope and sophistication of the region’s medical establishment”, said Sirucek.
According to government figures, Malaysia’s market medical tourism market hit US$200 million in revenue last year. AFP also reports that in Singapore, medical tourists spent US$630 million in 2014.
DocDoc’s platform lists information about qualified clinics and health professionals, along with their clinical interests, sub-specialties, procedures available and so on. This allows users to search and book appointments with the clinic or doctor of their choosing both locally and regionally.
The site is free for users and is up and running in eight countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea and India.
The news also comes nearly two years after DocDoc merged with Singapore-based rival Doctorpage in 2013. Docdoc backed is by key investors such as Mr Koh Boon Hwee (former Chairman of DBS bank, Singtel, and Singapore Airlines), 500 Startups, Jungle Ventures and Michael Brehm
Back in 2013, e27 reported that prior to the merger, DocDoc had over 1000 doctors using their platform to acquire customers, with over 500,000 engaged users. DoctorPage had 1 500 ‘book-able’ doctors, with 300,000 monthly unique visitors.
Presently, Sirucek shares that the site processes thousands of patient bookings a month, listing approximately 26,000 doctors on its site with a month-on-month compound growth of 18 per cent.
“It’s all about building liquidity in a steady, strong way and owning key markets,” says Sirucek.
The investment also follows notable announcements by health information and booking portals across Asia. Malaysia’s GetDoc went live in February, while Indonesia’s Alodokter raised funding to expand across Southeast Asia.
As with most booking platforms, one of the main challenges of these platforms like GetDoc and DocDoc face is doctor and patient user acquisition and retention, especially for a tricky field like health tech where credibility is critical.
“It’s hard to get doctors not only to be on your platform, but also to have them to give you information to differentiate them from each other,” says Sirucek. He goes on to say that it can be difficult to get consumers to trust platforms with this life decision.
Regardless, DocDoc is going for the gold, to be a the global leader in medical tourism.”This is the second inning. There’s still a lot left to be played,” he said.