Created with the aim of solving a local issue in Qatar of individuals struggling to find the right doctor, Meddy is the result of multiple simple ideas that emanated from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q). Located in Education City, the Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university is one of eight specialized universities fostering innovation in the region. As the concept of Meddy developed, the university’s resources helped enable ideas to move beyond the theoretical, and into reality. CMU-Q is a support network that provided me with not only the right tools to get to where I am today, but also realistic guidance from its many brilliant professors and staff.
By ascertaining the feasibility of Meddy with experts in the medical and service fields, me and co-founder Abdulla Al Khenji, a fellow classmate and dear friend, were provided with even more encouragement towards building a more defined concept. With such support, Meddy went from being a collection of preconceived ideas to the newest form of access to the medical field in Qatar.
Looking closer to home
We talked to clinics, doctors, and expats around Doha, and realized the pain points that we then used to develop our idea. Once the main concept of Meddy was realized, we developed the initial version of the product: a basic website with a few details from clinics and easy-to-use navigation. The project received great feedback from our academic support base, and with a few changes, was set to be developed into a functional website that would provide users the service of finding a doctor nearby.
Starting off with only 20 doctors in its listings, the site was launched in beta form in 2014, and has since gathered as much feedback as possible from local news outlets, patients, and doctors. Seeing everything that was wrong with the site opened new doors and developed further ways for us to categorize doctors.
Meddy now serves more than 2,000 doctors, making it the largest online physicians network in Qatar. The average visits per month range between 60,000–80,000 on the platform, with several thousand bookings and reviews. With this, Meddy has branched out into the region, taking over Bahrain and Dubai, with no plans of slowing down.
Upon graduation, Abdulla and I moved Meddy to the Digital Incubation Center at The Ministry of Transport and Communication in Qatar to really delve deep into the production of the platform. We later moved to Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF Research and Development, to setup a more friendly legal structure to easily expand outside of Doha.
The most important thing I learnt while working on Meddy is that building something that truly solves a real problem that people face can help you develop it better with their help. Build something that lots of people care about, so it can be scaled across multiple markets, and focus on consistently growing your key metrics. Make a scalable growth metric for the whole company to follow and aspire to always increase. I believe the key to success in business is to focus on what really matters. Your company inherently becomes more valuable if you consistently bring value to your customers.
Meddy, as a recipient of many awards across the three years it has been developing, has mustered up some rapid recommendations around Qatar. Competition is healthy and has helped keep the company focused and on its feet.
Abdulla and I have made it our mission to gather up talents in the team that reflect our work ethic. We made some good decisions, as Meddy won Startup of the Year 2016 from Entrpereneur.com and The Ministry of Transport & Communications Qatar. Later on we also won Startup of the Year 2016 from Arabnet, the most prominent startup competition in the Arab world.
The platform has proved the need for innovation in the way of thinking and development, not only to help achieve our goals as start-up owners, but to actually give back to the community in which we were nurtured. We believe that Qatar’s is an ecosystem worth protecting.
Outside of Qatar, demand for quality healthcare is rapidly growing. This region is eager for innovative solutions and we plan to expand Meddy’s reach over the coming years. Ultimately, we aim to become the region’s go-to destination for personalized information on healthcare.
Our ambitions for expansion, along with those of countless other startups in Qatar, have grown enormously in recent years.
At its heart, we believe innovation is about knowledge-sharing and the free flow of ideas. These are ideals that Qatar has embraced, and helped the region emerge as a hotbed of innovation. Major forward-thinking institutions, from universities in Education City, to QSTP-backed tech incubators, have enabled young talent to grow, learn, and achieve. I am extremely optimistic about the future for Meddy and the emergence of like-minded entrepreneurs from across the region.