I don’t know about you guys but I totally hate waiting in the lobby for hours just to ask the doctor a quick question or advice. Sometimes, it even takes a lot of time to get an appointment. Well, if you also worry about this then eTobb is here to take your worries away.
eTobb is a new platform that has emerged in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region that promises to save you time and provide you services for free. It is an online Q&A service that connects patients to the top medical experts allowing access to reliable medical information for free. In addition to answering health related problems by top-notch doctors, eTobb, gives users space to browse existing questions and answers, request a second opinion on existing questions, and gives people access to a large pool of top medical experts in the region and enables them to view each doctor’s full profile.
We spoke to the founding team at eTobb and got to know more about them.
Q. When did you start eTobb and why did you feel the need for it?
eTobb was founded in August 2012, in Beirut, Lebanon. The reason behind this idea is straightforward: there was a lack of access to reliable medical information in the Arab world. During our research, we found that the healthcare system had many gaps in it and filling in these gaps would help solve many problems we face in our daily lives. The service provided by eTobb allows users to access reliable medical information from top medical experts for free. It saves them time, money, and gives them the answers they seek.
Q. How has the response been so far? How many doctors do you have on board? How many registered users?
Within two weeks of our public launch on January 14, 2013, we now have over 50 registered doctors on eTobb with 19 different medical specialties and over 400 registered users.
And these numbers are growing everyday! So far, we’ve noticed that people are very excited to use the website and they’re signing up from all over the Arab world and beyond. We constantly receive messages from our users telling us how eTobb helped make their lives easier and that they love the product.
Even doctors are enthused to join.
Q. What is the average turn around time for a customer? I mean, how much time does it usually take for a customer to get an answer?
Well, it really depends on the availability of a specialized doctor. Sometimes the process is quick, other times it takes a little longer. But with the increasing number of physicians on eTobb, users are getting their answers sooner than they used to.
Q. You are providing the service free of cost to the customers. Do you make any money right now? If not, how do you plan to monetize this?
Currently, we are not making money. There are many options open to eTobb in the future. But for now, our priority is to provide this great service and to make it available to as many people as we can, for free.
Q. You have been funded by Seeqnce. Can you tell me what are the benefits that they provide?
Seeqnce not only provides funding but advisory services as well. Their help and feedback have been very useful to us and they go out of their way to help us reach our goals. They stay late nights working with us, testing the product, arranging interesting and beneficial learning sessions for us; they really do everything to help you access all the resources that will help your startup succeed.
As one of the Seeqnce members put it once, “You have 1 in a million chances in turning your startup into a success if you’re alone; You have 1 in 8 chances in turning your startup into a success if you’re working with a leading incubator”. And I believe the odds are in our favour!
Q. What will you say about the startup culture in Lebanon? What is the social perspective about entrepreneurship there?
Startups in Lebanon are still in their early stage and remain a new concept to most people; however, this trend is slowly changing with time. There are many obstacles slowing down this process such as the power cuts, the occasional bombings, political tensions and so on but this should not stop any entrepreneur from reaching his goals. As long as we’re focused on our work and we take the necessary measures to reach our targets then everyone should be able to turn his startup into a success.
About The Founders
Paul Saber, Founder | COO
Paul graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2010 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and a specialization in Finance. He worked as a Senior Consultant in Pricewaterhouse Coopers, one of the most renowned consultancy firms worldwide.
In the summer of 2012, he applied to the Seeqnce Accelerator Program and his startup was amongst the final eight that won the competition.
Sara Helou, Founder| CMO
Sara has a background in Business and Sociology and specializes in Marketing, PR and Advertising. She graduated in 2010 from the American University of Beirut and then worked as an Account Executive for ELLE Oriental and CURVE Magazine, two leading publications in Lebanon.
Sara has also worked in Communications and Fashion with famous names like ELIE SAAB and Malia Group.
Nader Dagher, Founder | CCO
With a specialization in Graphic Design and Digital Media, Nader graduated from the Middle East University in 2009. Before applying to the Seeqnce program, Nader was the Marketing Communication Supervisor at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, one of the leading banks in the UAE. He earned a certificate from the bank for his outstanding work and performance.
Nader also has a passion for writing and his latest book is called “Fruit of the Synapse” which talks about logic and the unobvious obvious.
Jad Joubran, Founder | CTO
Jad is a first-year university dropout from Notre Dame University where he was studying Computer and Communication Engineering. Jad perceived Seeqnce as an opportunity to begin his career as an entrepreneur and put his studies on hold to pursue this occasion.
Before Jad co-founded eTobb, he worked as a Developer at Qommune, a digital house in Lebanon. In fact, Jad has been coding since the age of fifteen. It is not only his job but his passion.
He also participated in the ArabNet Developers Tournament, a very tough competition, and won fourth place.
I believe these guys are doing a great job and there is a long way to go. We’ll be in touch with the team at eTobb and will keep reporting as we get to know more.
If you are a startup from the Middle Eastern region, we’d love to talk to you.