How startup is innovating access to healthcare in Morocco

Sabrine Zahroubane is the co-founder of Moroccan healthtech The startup has launched an application that facilitates the digitization of medical records, such as lab analyses and others, and offers a communication platform for patients with healthcare professionals.  

The idea for the platform emerged in 2020, when Sabrine’s father suffered from a disease, and Sabrine supported him in his visits to the hospital and interactions with doctors. This resulted in a large number of physical copies of medical documents provided by the hospital, which had to be brought to every appointment, and some of these records got lost along the way. A common challenge across Morocco, where little to no digitalization of health documents and records and communication between medical practitioners and patients takes place. 

Sharing her frustrations about this with a friend who works abroad, she was given examples of online platforms for medical record keeping from other countries, and decided to explore the opportunity of setting this up in Morocco. Since 2017, Sabrine was already running a marketing and communications agency, and from there she and her co-founder Meryem Reneja further explored the idea of what is now COVID-19 helped to accelerate the ideation stage, as it caused a big push for digitalization across business sectors in Morocco. Finally, early 2022, was publicly launched as an app and website through a pilot launch in Casablanca. 

How they got here

Sabrine and Meryem greatly benefited from two programs that allowed them to bring their idea to reality. In 2021, they were selected for the Reseau Entreprendre Maroc incubator, where they were able to further test and develop the idea, supported by an experienced mentor with a background in the pharmaceutical industry. They were the winner of their cohort and received a grant. Together with their personal savings, this provided sufficient budget to build the first version of the application and launch it in April 2022.

Sabrine & Meryem

This was also roughly the moment when Sabrine & Meryem applied for the 7th edition of the Scalerator, an accelerator program by LaStartupStation, and the first edition of the program that was exclusively focused on female founders. The program, made possible with support from FMO Ventures, Creact4Med and VC4A, allowed Sabrine and Meryem to further build out the business. From a pilot in Casablanca engaging 2000 users, 30 medical professionals and with over 2000 medical records exchanges, the founders want to ensure that in 2023 all cities in Morocco are covered and the first steps for international expansion are made. Because of this ambition, focused its participation in Scalerator on the design of an effective marketing strategy and a fundraising strategy to bring in the seed funding to expand the team with developers and marketeers. Next to matchmaking with potential clients and investors and participating in 11 sprints on different scaling themes, greatly benefited from the mentoring component from experienced business professionals.

Sabrine greatly appreciates their participation in Scalerator: 

Getting an outsider’s perspective on our company and the platform from mentors really helps. The mentors were a perfect match with our key challenges. The program also helps push us forward and provides interesting connections with potential clients and investors. The whole journey was relevant, we learned a lot of new things from the beginning.

The biggest learning for Sabrine has been that for everything there is a right time. There are a lot of processes and steps that need to take place to build a business and you need to choose the right time for the right actions. It taught Sabrine that it’s very important to have all your business documentation right (strategy, KPI’s, financials … etc.) before reaching out to an angel investor. You only get one chance to make a first impression!

What’s next?

The Scalerator program helped to get ready to reach out to investors, which is critical as the company needs to invest in the expansion of its marketing team and the further development of the platform. For the future, the ambition of is not only to expand its coverage across Morocco and to the international market, but also to look at the addition of more services to the platform, such as providing opportunities for online medical consultations and expanding the services to other medical professionals beyond doctors and laboratories. Also, Sabrine & Meryem are in talks with insurance companies to see how their services can be integrated. 

Sabrine & Meryem have created a strong pathway for and are very clear about their ambitions: “we want to become the leader in digitalization in the medical sector in Morocco and the wider region. ‘’

In case you don’t know, the 8th edition of the Scalerator program is now calling for applications, you can check it outhere and apply for a chance to become one of the coached startups!