Earlier this month, Sarah and I had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Fayad Al Dandashi, CEO of Tamer Healthcare, for an in-depth discussion on the drivers of innovation in healthcare, and his perspective on how the space is shaping up for the future. Dr. Al Dandashi started his professional path as an entrepreneur, having founded two companies in biotech and healthcare. Building on his experience as a founder, which offered him access to the innings of the industry, Dr. Al Dandashi moved to the public sector where he last served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Health Investment Development at the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia before joining Tamer Healthcare, the largest healthcare conglomerate in Saudi Arabia, which has recently acquired Mumzworld.
The healthcare industry has been slow to digitize, particularly in the region. Rigid market structure, opaque and/or strict regulations, and delayed adoption of ‘the cloud’ are only a few reasons why historically, perhaps, we had not seen as much activity in that space as we had in a sector such as e-commerce or retail more broadly early on or in the last decade.
At Nuwa, we often refer to the year 2020 as an inflection point, similar to that of 2005 with the launch of Souq and the ensuing surge of e-commerce activity, driving further innovation across logistics and manufacturing. And while the last decade has mostly been dominated by the emergence of booking platforms (much like e-commerce, starting with the consumer-facing end of the value chain first), the space is now witnessing a massive surge of activity across multiple permutations of healthtech (being healthtech at the intersection of insurance, of fintech, etc.) and everything that can be built around rethinking how care is delivered, with a digital or remote approach in mind.
As we take a closer look at the space, some of the main themes underpinning the latter seem to be: 1) increase in consumer awareness, 2) interoperability, standardization, and integrability, 3) decentralization of care provision, 4) personalization in health and wellness.
By and large, the most crucial transformation that has occurred is a complete shift in mindset on how we view healthcare, years in the making, and now being materialized through reforms to regulations in the space and multiple regional initiatives to optimize access to, and quality of healthcare, as well as through the companies we invest in.
In our discussion with Dr. Al Dandashi, he lays out the core principles driving healthcare forward in the region.
Stephanie Nour Prince is Partner at Nuwa Capital where she leads on the fund’s network engagements and operations.