Tell us who you are, what you do and your education and background.
I’m Haris, one of the founders at Meddy — a Doctor discovery platform in Qatar. I have a degree in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Meddy is one of the startups incubated at DIC. I help run it.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Haris: The idea of Meddy was conceived in a classroom at Carnegie Mellon University. I was taking a course where we had to come up with an idea for a business and talk to potential customers to get feedback and improve the idea.
We initially had a totally different idea — something like LinkedIn for doctors. But after talking to a few doctors and clinics it was clear it wouldn’t work, because doctors are too busy treating patients. So we tried to do something from the patient side.
We talked to a lot of people in Qatar and asked them to share their issues with healthcare and doctors in the country. Finding a good doctor was something pretty much everyone said they struggled with. Everyone relied on their friends and family to find a doctor. But the problem was Qatar also has a high turnover of doctors, so chances are your favorite doctor will leave the country after 12 months. Moreover, Qatar has a growing number of new expats coming to the country who don’t have so many friends and family to rely on. So they go through a trial and error process to find a good doctor.
You can imagine how tedious and inconvenient the process is. So we decided to create an online platform where people can conveniently find all the information about a doctor including patient reviews to help decide which doctor to go to.
How do you find people to bring into your team that truly care about the business the way you do?
Haris: Hiring is definitely one of the hardest challenges a startup faces. It’s imperative to find really talented people who care about building something really good. I was fortunate enough to find really smart people with complementary skills at my university. I worked with them to build the product.
What advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Haris: Talk to your potential customers and spend as much time as possible before trying to build your product or raise funding. Understand exactly what their pain points are and how they are currently solving that problem. People often like to think in terms of solution without clearly understanding what the problem really is.
Find people to work with — people who are smarter than you and with complementary skill sets.
And finally, build your minimum viable product as quickly as possible and constantly iterate based on the feedback you get from customers.
What are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Haris: Ability to hustle, courage, and an uncanny ability to be laser focused!
How many hours do you work on average?
Haris: Every waking hour!
How do you come up with new ideas?
Haris: By talking to customers frequently and trying to empathize with them. By looking at problems in the healthcare industry in general and trying to understand the processes and how they can be improved. There is so much room for improvement here. It’s really not a challenge to generate ideas. But it’s the execution that’s the difficult bit.
Describe your typical day
Haris: I wake up and go through Slack — an instant messaging tool that is linked to all our other internal tools. It’s something I look at to get an update about what has happened overnight. We don’t have typical work hours and we allow everyone to work whenever they can. A lot of our team like to work through the night so we use Slack to keep everyone updated. I then head to the office and check my emails to communicate with customers and sign up any new doctors and clinics. I then look at my Trello board to go over the tasks for the day.
What motivates you?
Haris: What motivates me to keep working on Meddy is the fact that it’s helping make people’s lives better. People can now easily find a good doctor that they can go to and feel comfortable with. They are no longer struggling to find one. It’s something everyone struggles with and our product is making a big impact.
How did you decide on Qatar and the Digital Incubation Center to launch your business?
Haris: I was born and raised here. So I’ve experienced the problem of not finding a doctor first hand. Moreover, there is nothing in Qatar that is directly trying to solve that problem. Hence, Qatar was the most suitable market to launch the product. We chose DIC because of its support program and ecosystem — they help our startup to grow.
Who inspires you?
Haris: Brian Chesky, Elon Musk and Chris Sacca.
Read more on the Meddy blog.