[Startup Interview] Damian Avar, Founder, DoctorsHub, Nigeria
Damian Avar is a medical doctor, social entrepreneur and health business consultant. He founded DoctorsHub Nigeria, a digital-based, simplfied platform to access medical consultation for Nigerians.
Could you introduce your company?
DoctorsHub Nigeria is a medical services company, launched in November 2016, that leverages on digital-based solutions to simplify the access by Nigerians to quality, affordable and professional medical expertise/consultation. The company was founded out of a dire need to bridge the wide gap that separates Nigerians from prompt access to quality healthcare that is affordable. In a nutshell, if you need a qualified doctor's opinion concerning your symptoms but are too busy to go and spend all day at the hospital, or cannot afford the expensive consultation fee of most hospitals; or let's say you urgently need a doctor's review and advice but cannot get one, DoctorsHub Nigeria is your portal to prompt access. The company simplifies prompt round-the-clock access to medical expertise and specialist referrals to only one phone call, video call or text message away! And as the name suggests, we are in the healthcare industry.
Where is it located?
DoctorsHub Nigeria is located in Nigeria with office at 4, Sule Abuka Street, Off Opebi Road, Opebi, Ikeja Lagos.
How is the company funded?
The company is funded by out-of-pocket spending from myself and other members of my team. We are presently about to start generating our first revenue. This will significantly help us cushion the heavy financial obligations that come with running and sustaining a business in the Nigerian environment.
What are your company’s Unique Selling Points?
We pride ourselves in the fact that we are the only company right now offering online medical consultation in local Nigerian dialects like Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, apart from the routine English language used. Also, the fact that we are offering our solution for free delineates us from the rest of the pack. Yes, consultation on DoctorsHub Nigeria is FREE! People are always gobsmacked and in awe when they hear this. But the truth is that we have designed a workable business model that allows us make the most social impact possible and still allows us remain profitable as long as necessary.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are young individuals who use our solution on a personal capacity, private corporations (pharmaceuticals mostly), and quite recently, we have seen one or two NGOs using our solution. Also, we currently have an informal working relationship with the NCDC, and are in talks with relevant government agencies to see how the adoption and use of our solution can be taken to a national scale.
What are the ambitions of the company?
So while our main focus for now is to dominate the Nigerian market, which we are doing already, we have plans to expand to other countries. So yes, we are thinking international. And for us, countries within the Sub-saharan African region would be our markets of interest. Ghana, Mali, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and a few others are on our list. Some of these countries are French-speaking, but we are have already demonstrated here in Nigeria that language is not an issue for us. Mind you, our choice for Sub-saharan Africa is strategic and deliberate. As we all know, the region contributes the highest number deaths to the world's pool of preventable and unnecessary deaths! Again, we have distant Rwanda and Mozambique on our list of potential markets simply because of the impressive growth rate of their ICT sector. Our solution would find immense adoption in those two markets.
What is the latest news from your company?
The latest news from us would be the news of our recent selection and participation in the recently concluded accelerator bootcamp organized by The British Council. It will interest you to know that we, DoctorsHub Nigeria, were among the 50 business selected to participated in the bootcamp out of the over 10, 000 businesses from all over Nigeria which applied for it. Currently, we are undergoing a 3 months acceleration bootcamp organized by African Hub International. Obviously, we are already leveraging on these intense experiences to improve on our solutions. Which is why I can categorically tell you that the next couple of weeks will see us introducing a new feature to our solution. Again, we are also in talks with two international corporations for a possible partnership deal. With time, more will be made public.
Who should contact your company, and why?
As a company, we offer Nigerians and the rest of Africa empowerment. Through health, we empower people to live longer, healthier and happier lives. This is our be-all and end-all: empowerment through health. To that end, we sell convenience, quality, affordability and an unforgettable customer service experience. It is a lifestyle we are selling. So if you are out there and you want to be treated with some modicum of dignity; you aspire and want to live a healthier and happier life devoid of unnecessary hardships; and if you have a low tolerance or obvious dislike for chaos, stress, disease, poor quality, pestilence and a whole gamut of other unlikables, DoctorsHub Nigeria is primarily for you. But why us? Because we are very passionate and extremely good at what we do. Unlike other place your wellbeing above any form of pecuniary gain.
How many people have you attended to with your solution?
Within the 7 months of our operations, we have successfully attended to over 3200 Nigerians! While this may be winning-a-gold-medal achievement for most people, we are not even close to where we want to be. We believe we can do much more, and that is why we personally aren't satisfied with the results even though other people are singing our praise. But the good thing is that we we are very much on the right track. We are pleased to see that Nigerians are quickly adopting our solution. And quite amazing is the fact that the repeat consultactions (that is those who get consult us for a second or third time after first and initial consultation) is almost 100%!
Are you considering partnering with companies?
Yes, we are. It is our primary belief that strategically key partnerships are necessary for business growth and expansion. It is for this reason that we are currently in talks with two international companies with a view to cementing a mutually profitable partnership that would see us quickly dominating the Nigerian market while also expanding to other potential markets on our list. To emphasize this point, we are using this opportunity to invite individuals, groups or corporations who would derive value from partnering with us to approach us for the relevant discussions.
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