Our start-up of the week is Webdoctor.ie, an online doctor service and custom-built telemedicine platform.
“We are an Online Doctor Service and our mission is to make healthcare more accessible, convenient and affordable,” explained Webdoctor.ie co-founder Oisin Kim.
“We’ve built a state of the art platform that enables secure and easy to use Online Healthcare Services. Our apps and website are easily accessible from any smartphone, tablet or computer.
“Patients can consult with our doctors from their home, office or indeed anywhere in Ireland, at a fraction of the regular cost, seven days a week.”
Kim explained that the primary care market is worth billions in Europe alone and people are now very comfortable using online services for their healthcare needs.
“We launched late 2014 in Ireland and have 12,000 Irish patients. In the next year, we will launch our service in other European countries and will operate across most of Europe within a couple of years.”
‘The ultimate goal is patient empowerment and to make healthcare more accessible, convenient and affordable’
– OISIN KIM
He said Webdoctor.ie has three main types of service: online consultation, health tests (at home, at your company and in-clinic) and corporate care.
“Online consultations are delivered by live video or smart web based forms. Health Tests can be provided via home kits (for swab, urine and blood), in our partner clinics and on-site for businesses.
“All our tests are all backed up with a follow-up consultation with an Irish based GP if the patient wants (or needs) it. In some cases, our doctors will also provide immediate treatment based on these test results, for example if the patient is unlucky enough to test positive for Chlamydia.
Corporate Care is a combination of online consultations, health tests, pre-employment checks, vaccinations (travel and flu) and campaigns to encourage healthy workplaces (like helping you stop smoking).
“It’s worth noting that our Corporate GP Services and Health Checks are totally tax-free for both employer and employee thanks to some recent Irish Budget changes,” Kim said.
CEO and co-founder Oisin Kim has worked for a number of multinational companies on large scale eCommerce, telecoms and insurance platforms.
Along with brother Howard Kim, they computerised the clinic of family friend Dr Sylvester Mooney (who has owned and run the Albany Clinic in Dublin for the last 22 years).
While doing this, it was clear to Oisin and Howard that technology could improve efficiency for both patient and doctor, so they spent months (years, actually!) working out just how an Online Doctor Service could work and what services it could safely encompass.
The team were under no illusions about what it would take to build a platform like this from the ground up so, on the technology side, they brought on co-founders Martin Commins (ex Aer Lingus), Ger Kelly (of Hipster CEO fame) and Kris Adamski (ex JCPenney).
“Our medical board consists of Dr Mooney – our clinical director – Dr Audrey Diffley, Dr Catherine Corless, and ex GloHealth’s Dearbhail Fahey to head up business development,” Oisin explained. “Our plan is to hire 15 more people in the next year.”
WebDoctor.ie’s platform is centred around the patient and their families. Each patient has complete access to their medical records and a full history of every consultation with their doctor. This is a movement called “Open Notes”, which is proven to improve adherence to medicines and to doctor’s advice. Both parents can also have full access to their children’s medical records.
“We have created a fully secure, simple to use communication platform for patients to conveniently access Irish-based doctors instantly using their smartphone, tablet (Apple or Android) or laptop/computer (Windows, Linux or Apple OS X), and with full integration with laboratory testing. No other provider we are aware of has this breadth and depth of service and device support.
“Technology-wise, the platform is primarily built on top of open source software. We run on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform and are very proud to be a Microsoft Bizspark supported start-up. Microsoft Ireland has provided outstanding support to the company.”
Kim continued: “The ultimate goal is patient empowerment and to make healthcare more accessible, convenient and affordable.
“We don’t want to stop in Ireland. We want to provide this platform all over Europe and perhaps further afield over time.
“Long term, we don’t want to stop with GP services, we want to enable other services on our communication platform,” Kim said.
The platform has now attracted over 12,000 patients, and is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up.
WebDoctor.ie closed its seed round of €1m earlier this year and plans to use the investment to grow the team, continue developing the platform, for marketing and to expand the business.
The company’s chairman is Noel McSweeney of Senator Windows, Gowan Group and Beaumont Hospital Foundation.
Kim said that raising investment was something the founding team had no experience with previously. “However, Ger Ryan and Enda Cullivan at Eversheds were there to hold our hands every step of the way.”
In terms of the start-up scene in Ireland, Kim said that there’s a sense of community in Ireland that does not exist anywhere else in the world.
“We’ve had advice, support and encouragement from hugely successful business people that genuinely wanted us to do well.
“I have to single out a few organisations and people for special praise, in no particular order: Niamh and Sarah (Startup Dublin), Paul Hayes and Mark O’Toole at BeachutPR, Niall McEvoy (Enterprise Ireland), Noel Ruane (PolarisVC), Joe Hogan (Openet), Justin Quinn (CES Schools), Gavin Bourke, Johnny O’Dwyer (AIB), Johnny Walker (Healthfounders), Rowan Deveraux (Fan Footage), Joan Mulvihill (IIA), Ronan Perceval (Phorest), Shay and William (Frontline.vc) and Gerard Ryan (Eversheds).
“We would not be where we are today without their advice and support.”
In conclusion, Kim’s advice to other start-up founders is to plan and run your business on metrics.
“Know what your key metrics are, e.g., your revenue per sale/customer lifetime value, your cost of a sale, and what your cost per customer acquisition is.
“When you are ready, hire people that are smarter/better/nicer than you and give them the ability and freedom to deliver.
“Find investors you can trust if you are raising finance.
“Find a legal advisor you can trust if you are raising finance.
“And, finally, don’t be afraid to ask anyone for advice or help.”