by Annie Bricker

5 top Egyptian health tech startups to watch

Aug 29, 2020
Artificial IntelligenceHealthcare IndustryTechnology Industry

Egyptian healthcare startups are deploying AI, VR and mobile apps to optimise health services, and are making the country a leading player in the sector in the Middle East.

stethoscope mobile healthcare ipad tablet doctor patient
Credit: Thinkstock

Egyptian government initiatives to improve healthcare for residents, along with venture capital interest in the sector and a growing local talent pool, has made the country one of the health tech startup hotspots in the Middle East.

Globally, investments in health tech have been on the rise in recent years. In 2019, funding for healthcare startups topped US$7.4 billion and investors are continuing to put money into companies looking to bridge existing gaps in traditional healthcare models, according to Deloitte Insights.

As the world continues to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, patients, medical professionals and governments alike are looking to emerging health tech to not only support COVID-19 efforts such as infection tracking, but also to provide care for all patients while remaining socially distant.

Egypt began accelerating efforts to provide quality, countrywide healthcare to its citizens in 2017, with the approval of the New Health Insurance Law, which aims to fully cover the treatment of low-income citizens and improve public healthcare in general. This is one of many healthcare-focused programs dedicated to improving quality of life for Egyptians, including the allocation US$5.51 billion to the health sector in 2018.

This nationwide focus on healthcare and increased investments into health tech capped by the global COVID-19 pandemic has opened up opportunities for Egyptian healthcare startups like never before.

“Developing countries [like Egypt] are pursuing a higher quality of healthcare services, and due to the long-standing social and economic challenges which leave a lot of room for improvement, healthcare entrepreneurs are finding unprecedented opportunities to make a dent and to innovate for a better tomorrow,” explains Ahmad Al-Kabbany, founder of startup VRapeutic.

As the health tech industry continues to grow in Egypt, here are five startups that have been disrupting traditional healthcare and health services in the country.


Year Founded: 2019 Funding: Seed stage Headquarters: Cairo CEO: Ahmad Al-Kabbany

What they do: VRapeutic leverages virtual reality and IoT technology to implement therapeutic solutions for individuals with developmental and learning disabilities like autism and ADHD. The startup provides equipment and programming to clinics and therapists in order to enhance therapeutic intervention and improve the quality of therapy sessions.

Why they are a hot startup to watch: Though it is still in its seed stages, founders of VRapeutic saw success out of the gate as finalists at MIT’s Arab Startup Competition in 2017. In 2019, the company was the winner of SingularityU MENA competition and it recently secured a US$100,000 grant from UNICEF.

CEO Ahmad Al-Kabbany, says that he saw a lack of effective and efficient intervention approaches for learning difficulties and developmental disorders, coupled with the opportunity to fill this gap by using emerging technologies like VR as an opportunity.

“The numbers of children who get diagnosed with these kinds of difficulties are on the rise worldwide. This represents a pressing market need,” he explains.


Year Founded: 2017 Funding: $304,000 Headquarters: Cairo CEO: Doaa Aref

What they do: Chefaa is a digital pharmacy app that allows users to scan prescriptions, order medicine and confirm the dosage of their medications. Focusing on patients with chronic illness, Chefaa uses AI and GPS technology to route orders to the patient’s most convenient pharmacy. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen a 300 percent increase in orders, driven by chronic patients who need to fill their prescriptions while maintaining social distancing measures to protect often already compromised immune systems.

Why they are a hot startup to watch: After the recent launch of its own private and white-label products, Chefaa is now planning to expand further. The startup hopes to use its latest successful funding round to begin B2B services that serve small to medium sized businesses.


Year Founded: 2017 Funding: Series A:  Undisclosed amount Headquarters: Cairo CEO: Amr Bakr

What they do: 7keema is, primarily, an on-demand nursing service that connects users with nearby nurses. Users can choose from a range of services and can request immediate help, or schedule an at-home visit. Since its launch, 7keema has expanded its offering to include a VR game to sooth children during vaccinations, a tele-nursing service, and an AI triage platform.

Why they are a hot startup to watch: The startup turned heads in 2018 when it was named Best Egyptian Startup at that year’s Seedstar’s World Competition. Now, 7keema is looking to expand their services into Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi with a long term plan of moving deeper into the African market.


Year Founded: 2012 Funding: $63.5 million Headquarters: Cairo CEO: Amir Barsoum

What they do: Vezeeta’s digital healthcare platform matches patients in the MENA region with licensed healthcare providers. Users can not only find doctors and book appointments, they can leave reviews and ratings of their healthcare providers and share their experiences with other users. The company has unveiled two new products this year, ePharmacy and Tele-health—its first foray into providing medical assistance through the app.

Why they are a hot startup to watch: Since its launch in Egypt, Vezeeta has expanded into Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. Recently, the company further expanded its reach, and is now available in Nigeria and Kenya. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vezeeta has provided free medical consultation services for anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Smart Medical Services

Year Founded: 2009 Funding: $1.2 million Headquarters: Gîza, Al Jizah, Egypt CEO: Amr Tayeb

What they do: Smart Medical Services is a healthcare management company that provides business process services and affordable healthcare management plans as well as management software for health insurers. To help bridge Egypt’s healthcare gap, which at the time of the company’s launch saw 50 million to 60 million Egyptians without proper healthcare services, Smart Medical Services also provides a basic medical plan directly to low-income Egyptians.

Why they are a hot startup to watch: Since its launch in 2009, Smart Medical Services has grown to over 65,000 subscribers and is now a profitable company. As it looks to expand its offerings into East Africa, the company boasts that it can handle upwards of 1 million subscribers. Were it to reach that capacity, Smart Medical Services could stand to be a regional leader of healthcare software companies.