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Startups

Indonesian telemedicine app bags Bill & Melinda Gates investment

Halodoc has now raised $100m to connect far-flung patients with doctors

halodoc
The Halodoc app allows patients to speak with doctors via video calls. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

JAKARTA -- Halodoc, Indonesia's largest telemedicine platform, has received investments from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and two other parties that it will use to expand in a country with a chronic lack of doctors.

The funding, announced Thursday, is an extension of the startup's Series B round, which brought in $65 million from investors in Singapore, South Korea and China. Allianz X, the digital investment unit of insurer Allianz Group, and Prudential invested alongside the former Microsoft chairman's foundation.

Halodoc has not announced the size of the investment from the extended round but said it has raised close to $100 million now.

The startup's existing investors include Indonesian ride-hailer Go-Jek.

The Halodoc app connects patients with doctors. Registered physicians offer consultations through via video calls, mainly for routine illnesses. Founded in 2016, the startup has more than 2 million users and 20,000 registered doctors. It also works with 1,300 pharmacies to deliver medications. The startup says it serves around 7 million patients throughout Indonesia per month.

"Halodoc aims to learn from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's long-established track record of working with partners to deliver best practice health care solutions and improve quality of life around the world," CEO Jonathan Sudharta said. "Knowing the difficulties of health care accessibility in Indonesia, Halodoc is committed to new initiatives together with our investors, to help Indonesians access health services more easily."

Indonesia's geography -- it is made up of around 17,000 islands -- can make it difficult for the country's more than 260 million people to receive health care. Halodoc says 80% of its users reside outside the main cities of Jakarta and Surabaya.

According to the World Health Organization, Indonesia had 3.77 medical doctors for every 10,000 people in 2017, far lower than the 8.03 in regional peer Thailand. The U.S. has 25.94 medical doctors for every 10,000 people, and China 17.85.

Halodoc will face competition from Alodokter, a medical information portal turned telemedicine platform. Another rival is a joint venture between China's Ping An Good Doctor, with 265 million users as of December, and Singapore-based ride-hailer Grab.

Large hospitals have also started partnering with startups, including Singapore-listed Raffles Medical Group, which in January launched a 24-hour telemedicine platform through a tie-up with local startup Doctor World.

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