Finance & Capital Market

Cura announces a $4m Series-A investment from ELM, Wa’ed

Cura, Saudi-based leading telehealth startup, has announced closing SR15 million ($4 million) Series-A investment from ELM and Wa'ed (the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Aramco). 
Established in 2016 by software engineers Wael Kabli and Mohammad Zekrallah, Cura, that works to revolutionise public access to professional digital healthcare services in Saudi Arabia, became the first Saudi-based platform to launch on-demand online health and wellness services. 
Empowering its users with real-time messaging, voice and video technologies, instant consultations with a doctor 24/7, online e-prescriptions, and extended 6-8 weeks wellness programs to advise on depression, stress, chronic illnesses, nutrition, and other lifestyle-related issues.
Cura plans to use the funds to improve the entire patient journey and introduce further services for both individual users and partnering clients, like collecting blood samples from homes, and providing integrable employee health benefits with insurance companies. 
“We aim to help redefine the model of care in which patients access health care services in Saudi and move towards digital-first approach where seeing a doctor online becomes people’s first choice and to move as many health services as possible to be at patients hands,” said Kabli.
Last year, public demand for easily accessible online healthcare services grew tremendously as the region was forced to adopt to the social and health restraints during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
This accelerated the rate of both local investments and entrepreneurial innovation in the healthcare sector, further launching Cura’s technologies to the forefront.
“It’s definitely exciting times for the digital health industry in the region nowadays, specially post Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen tremendous month over month growth during the lockdown and we can’t wait to keep innovating our technology and services to help people in-need live their healthiest and most convenient life-style we can possibly offer them,” said Zekrallah. 
With more than 4,500 doctors registered in the platform, Cura was able to assist around 350,000 users since 2016, of whom the majority reside in the kingdom. Meanwhile, the startup’s popularity has been growing worldwide to represent 5% of its overall customers, as the founders plan to undertake an international expansion in the next 3-5 years. 
"Today, we are pleased to announce our investment in Cura. This investment match Elm’s vision in designing appropriate digital solutions for healthcare sector, which contributes to raising the quality of life of the community. We are looking forward to more investments in pioneering and emerging companies during the coming period. We wish success to the creative team at Cura," said Majid Saad Alarifi, Marketing Vice President and Elm spokesperson.
“Our investment in Cura comes as recognition to acknowledge the incredible milestones that the founding team was able to achieve as the pioneering leaders of telemedicine in Saudi Arabia,” said Fahad Alidi, Managing Director at Wa’ed.
Beyond its pioneering position as the first licensed telemedicine company in Saudi Arabia, Cura had close collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Health to work on digitising the health sector as a whole and to develop the foundational structure for telemedicine further boosting its adoption and reach among Saudi citizens. This helped create the ministry’s national telemedicine mobile application, “Sehha”, through which Cura’s licensed technology was able to deliver over 2.8 million consultations to Saudi citizens in need. 
Also, Cura stands as the first telemedicine provider to integrate with Bupa and MedGulf Insurance providers to enable its users to use their insurance plans to co-pay for teleconsultation services unlocking further barriers to telemedicine adoption and growth. 
This is the third investment round after two rounds of SR6.5 million investment made by Enmaa Saudi Business Information Technology “ESBIT” from 2016 to 2018. ESBIT is owned by Enmaa Saudi Business Holding Co. with a mandate to increase local content in the kingdom by investing in localising technologies.-- TradeArabia News Service