Opportunities during pandemic propel health-tech firm Doctor Anywhere into fastest-growing list

Mr Lim Wai Mun founded Doctor Anywhere in 2017. PHOTO: DOCTOR ANYWHERE

SINGAPORE – Mr Lim Wai Mun founded Doctor Anywhere in 2017, before teleconsultations gained widespread acceptance here amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He and his team continue to have deep discussions on how the health-tech company can tap technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to personalise healthcare.

Doctor Anywhere took third place in the league table of the fastest-growing companies in Singapore compiled by The Straits Times and data company Statista. It is one of many tech firms on the list – now in its fifth year – that saw exponential growth during the pandemic.

The 2023 ranking features 100 companies based on their revenue growth between 2018 and 2021. The firms were ranked by their compound annual growth rate.

According to data tabulated, Doctor Anywhere chalked up an absolute growth rate of more than 10,000 per cent. The company’s revenue has grown significantly because of its expansion to other countries in the region. Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia are its top three revenue drivers.

The telemedicine provider also doubled its number of users in 2022, from 1.25 million users to about 2.5 million now. During the pandemic, the company worked with the Ministry of Health to assist patients at home and eligible inbound travellers with their antigen rapid tests, or tele-ARTs, among other things.

Mr Lim said: “The Government has been very supportive of us and, over time, we have been able to prove to users that we are not just a tech company, but also very much a healthcare company. We’ve been able to deliver high-quality healthcare and a good user experience, which have given doctors and patients more trust and confidence in the platform. Patients then come back to use us when they need medical treatment again.

“This user-centricity and focus on delivering an excellent healthcare experience have helped us grow tremendously.” In December 2022, Doctor Anywhere announced a US$38.8 million (S$51.2 million) injection in the latest financing round led by Novo Holdings. The company has about 600 employees across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. 

Mr Lim said the company is still hiring, and is keeping a lookout for skilled talent across areas such as technology, product development and engineering, as well as seeking to boost its number of doctors and nurses.

“Telehealth remains key – it is one of the most scalable forms we’ve built. We’re bringing in more users onto the platform, and this does not need any additional capital expenditure,” he said.

Mr Lim added that the company’s plans to tap technology are not about replacing doctors, but using tools like AI to provide more inclusive and personalised healthcare at affordable prices.

Other tech firms on the list include digital wealth firm StashAway, which ranked fifth, and fintech company Aspire, which was No. 8.

Mr Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, head of consumer and Internet at investment advisory firm Aletheia Capital, said the challenge that companies on the list now face is how to prosper in a radically different environment, now that cheap funding has ended and the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.

By Straits Times, 17 January 23

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