Dr. Saira Siddique has become the first solo female founder of a Pakistani startup, raising $1.8 million in pre-seed funding for media, a health tech venture.
In context, women-led startups in Pakistan have only raised 3% of total funding for the startup ecosystem over the last five years, so this fundraiser is a ground-breaking opportunity for Pakistani women founders to demonstrate what they are capable of.
“We are thrilled to complete this strategic funding round, which is an endorsement of our holistic healthcare model by leading investors with robust healthcare and technology expertise,” said Dr. Siddique, Founder, and CEO of media.
“Media plays a critical role in redefining digital healthcare services by improving quality and convenience for patients, reducing costs for patients, healthcare providers, and insurers, and having a strong capacity to become a regional player,” she continued.
“An integrated digital platform is a modern-day requirement in a healthcare system to deliver an efficient model of care at scale.” “media has demonstrated a track record of serving over 300,000 patients in only eighteen months,” Dr. Siddiqui added.
The pandemic was a catalyst for Pakistan’s startup landscape, with investments increasing from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million across 83 deals in 2021. Despite the significant market potential, the healthcare sector has lagged in venture capital financing, which is expected to change as the industry attracts more investor interest.
“Our health care system is fragmented, and hospitals are overburdened,” Dr. Siddiqui explained, “because patients have to go to a hospital even for minor ailments.” Inadequate, brick-and-mortar, hospital-centered care makes timely, affordable, and holistic healthcare impossible. In hospitals, the average consultation wait time is 90 minutes, with only 2.5 minutes spent on the actual consultation. “90% of patients can be easily treated at the point of need without visiting a hospital.”
She emphasized that “media is reversing the current model of hospital-centered healthcare delivery by bringing healthcare to patients at their point of need through a patient-centered approach.”
The round brings together several strategic investors led by Amana Capital in the United States and Cordoba Ventures in the Middle East and Pakistan (CorVCF). The match was also attended by the US-based early-stage investor Seraph Group, TAJDEED, a syndicate of prominent physicians from APPNA (All Pakistani Physicians of North American Descent Association), House of Habib, and leading health tech angel investors from Silicon Valley. It is NRD Capital and Seraph Group’s first direct investment in a Pakistani startup.
Media is Pakistan’s first integrated B2B virtual care platform, offering everything a business or insurer needs to provide virtual care to its members. It also serves both urban and rural individual customers by connecting them directly to
The media-powered B2B virtual care solution includes a customizable plug-and-play technology stack, a comprehensive network of online pharmacies, and online laboratory services, as well as GPs and specialists from 32 specialties, nursing staff, and dedicated home care teams. This is combined via a proprietary electronic medical record system to record patient data in a single profile and promote data sharing and interoperability, thereby improving care quality and lowering costs.
With the funds raised, the media intends to invest even more in its technological infrastructure to provide holistic virtual care to businesses and patients, based on developing AI and Machine Learning tools using high-quality patient data. The company intends to expand its services across 20 cities in Pakistan, as well as regionally.