Thursday Special: Meet Dr. Adebowale Odulana, a Medical Doctor changing the face of Medicine in Nigeria with Doctoora
Have you heard of Doctoora?
You have probably heard of co-working spaces for technology start-ups, but I doubt if you ever thought that doctors could do the same. Doctors? Yes, you heard me right!
This is the longest interview I have conducted and it was worth every bit of my time. Despite the length of time the interview took, I lost the WhatsApp chat in a way I cannot really explain right now.
I got it back from the gentleman Doctor, anyways!
Today on The Inspired Dream, we have a gentleman Doctor who is using IT to change the way medicine works in Nigeria…and he is only 29. He is Adebowale Odulana (aka Debo) a medical doctor and a Management Consultant in Healthcare, the founder of Doctoora.
Doctoora is a real estate company in healthcare operating an online marketplace for health related products and services. They are focused on increasing access to quality healthcare by enabling health professionals setup private practice with ease.
While explaining the vision of Doctoora, Dr Adebowale said “We combine technology with infrastructure to make this happen. Our goal is to help 1000+ doctors establish private practice by using our rentable healthcare facilities situated in multiple locations.”
They are using technology to change the way even Medicine works in Nigeria. They have a base infrastructure which is aided by technology which leads to a virtual private practice for Doctors.
Debo explained, “In all, we are delivering a concierge service where patients never have to wait. People should be prepared to pay for this as well.”
He further reiterated, “Our goal is to democratize healthcare. Our philosophy is that if patients are provided with adequate purchasing information and choice, the competition will develop between care providers and this will drive regulation of price and improvement of quality. however it will surely take time for competition to build up and regulate the price. Our target market is the middle class and we are working with HMO’s now to ensure the solution can permeate.”
Doctoora is really changing the way we knew the medical profession especially in government hospitals where patients have to wait for long before they are attended to. The issue has mostly been lack of equipments not necessarily shortage of doctors, so with this, more doctors can have their own private practice with the best equipments.
He further expressed his thoughts when he said, “We believe a clinic should be different from ward and ward should be different from a cancer center etc. so we are leveraging specialization as a tool to increase quality. We do not hire health workers because we want them to become entrepreneurs under our umbrella. Our job is to slash their setup costs and help them manage their practices.”
Doctoora is currently in Opebi and Ogudu, with two affiliated centers in Lekki and a surgical center under development in surulere.
Most businesses have a similar problem at their start-up stage which is funding. How has Doctoora survived? Debo says “we are self funded for now. I have two co-founders who are contributing financially. We are also leveraging on grants and free money here and there.”
There was something that Debo told me that caused a shift in my thinking, he said, “The best way to get investors or collaborators is to create a fear of missing out.”
That hit me! “To create the fear of missing out!”
This was in response to the question on funding. I was curious as to why investors would just put in their money, then he said, “I already put in work and they could see that I wasn’t going to stop.”
This also got me thinking…”they could see that I was not going to stop!”
He however said that the Tony Elumelu Foundation is providing them with their first grant.
Before Doctoora got to this point, Dr Adebowale had been through it all. They are14 (staffwise) now and only one person is getting paid. 3 are interns who are still in training and will start getting paid in jan. So how has he survived?
He started with £500. He says, “It was just to get me around. I setup a go fund me page and asked my friends to give me lunch money for the year. Basically I used all the resources within my reach to get to this point.”
An amazing thing I also found out was that Dr Adebowale is also a web designer, as a matter of fact, he designed his website himself.
When he was going to start, he got his brother to design the clinics, then got some friends in Dubai to help shoot some videos and another set to help edit. He then rented a location from an uncle.
In order to meet his financial obligations, he also setup Doctoora consulting – under which he has been offering advisory services to healthcare organizations, digital marketing consulting and web development.
He says: “So when I decided to start this, I just finished business school, was job hunting and had barely £500. I built the test website which was my minimum viable product(MVP). And then we were able to start testing and researching to improve the product.”
“The MVP is an entrepreneurs greatest asset. It will help you get something that will convince more people.”
So why even Medicine?
He says, “apparently my grandma whispered this to my ears in the delivery room.”
“By 15 I was being shipped to Med school, I went to medical school in Sharjah, UAE and on returning to Nigeria, I was dismayed by the state of Nigerian healthcare. I left in 2015 for business school at Imperial college business school London and returned in February this year.
After practicing for 6 years and exploring the private and public sector, I realized the opportunity to fix an infrastructural gap within the industry. This led to Doctoora.
So he advises start-up entrepreneurs and with a proof of concept to his credit, he sure knows what he is saying. He says, “I generally feel entrepreneurs rush to look for cash too early. Capital always finds the right businesses, so it’s important to put in work and prove your concept first before running around for money to scale up. This is just my personal philosophy though.”
On how to raise funds for new entrepreneurs, he advises, “Yea, they should get N5000 from 100 friends or family.”
He believes that this should be enough for any business to get to the point where it can be seen to be viable.
It’s been a pleasure interviewing Dr. Adebowale Odulana, the CEO of Doctoora.
Inspired? Kindly leave your comments and share.
I’m yours truly,
Ademo Adeleke Olanrewaju