Almouneer – Digitising Healthcare in Egypt
Interning at Almouneer allowed me to learn how to scale up a business and how leadership, friendship, and persistence play the most crucial role when creating a company.
Almouneer is a clinic chain that focuses on diabetes-related eye diseases in Egypt. The new line of business pivoted into software development, and their latest product, "The Clinic Management Software," is helping doctors to keep track of their patient's appointments and clinical history.
The ultimate goal for Almouneer is to eliminate diabetes-related blindness, the leading cause of blindness in Egypt and the Middle East, by providing easy access to low-cost clinics that provide specialised treatment.
My first touchpoint with Almouneer was at INSEAD. Almouneer was the business explored by our batch during the "Master Strategy Day" Competition as part of the Introduction to Strategy coursework. Our team won the competition, and I could have the first 1:1 conversation with the founders, the CEO, Prof. Dr. Noha Khater, and the CTO, Dr. Rania Kadry.
The founders inspired me with their eagerness to expand the business and willingness to improve people's lives in Egypt.
When I started the internship in mid-June 2022, Rania, Noha, and the team brought me up to speed. I got introduced to the rest of the team in the clinic and received my own small office with a great view of the crowded streets of central Cairo.
The first challenge at work was to recreate an elevator pitch for the software to make it easy for doctors to understand the value proposition: "Software for clinic management saves you and your patients a lot of time and effort."
To create the pitch, we used a tool I learned at the beginning of my career as a software sales specialist called "The Presentation Framework."
It starts with "the goal" of the customer: "To treat patients and collect the payments efficiently."
Next is "the challenge" that occurs daily: "It's not clear what services get covered by insurance, and very hard to identify the medical history of the patients."
Then you ask the customer, "What if you could solve the issue? What would that mean for your business?"
You listen, and then you show a software demo revealing to the customer exactly how the software makes it easy for them to identify the insurance coverage and the patient's medical records. In the end, you ask for the customer's opinion, show the value proposition and define the next steps. This framework is simple and powerful because it creates a logical flow in the presentation.
I liked Almouneer's software solution because the complete medical records of one patient can be shared with different doctors so that patients don't need to carry tons of papers with them. It's a great advantage to keep the medical records in a central place because patients often lose the medical documents. Especially for elderly patients, it is difficult to keep track of all the paperwork.
Beyond the technicalities of a medical consultation, Dr. Noha explained that elderly patients also want to talk to doctors because they are often alone. Since the software frees up admin time, doctors reported that they could use that free time to spend with the patients.
The moment the patients leave the clinic, they tend have a lot of follow-up questions. Therefore Rania suggested in a brainstorming session that a chatbot that responds to the patient's questions could be very helpful. We directly included this in the future feature list.
Another challenge was to grow the team and find the right people to hire. I never thought how challenging it could be to find talented people, mainly because at INSEAD, I meet gifted colleagues every day. I had the chance to attend job interview sessions with Noha, Rania, and investors.
I observed that attitude is the main character trait that matters for an executive position.
Of course, all interviewees were seasoned professionals, but ultimately, a positive and curious attitude mattered the most. As a second criterion, we looked at their network and asked ourselves: "Who can they hire after getting involved in the new company?" The third criterion was skill, but people can develop their skills on the job.
We also discussed with the VCs the right incentivisation for C-Level hires at a start-up. It became clear that a start-up can't pay as much as an established company, but there is high upside potential if the start-up is successful. The people that apply for the start-up must be aware of this fact and not expect a comparable monetary incentive to their previous secure corporate job. Finding great early hires was crucial for Almouneer because the right hire can improve the business and generate great ideas.
The third challenge was the branding of the software. It was an exciting challenge because it helps founders write down a clear business goal and identify the customer segment. Is it B2B, B2C, or B2B2C? What logo do you want to have, and what should it represent?
We met some branding companies from Cairo, and I could see that the knowledge I had acquired in my "Customer Behaviour" class was beneficial in discussions with the branding experts.
I worked with Rania and Noha towards the project's success and was fascinated by their commitment to extend the NGO arm "Almouneer Control" and impact more low-profit patients.
It was eye-opening to me how important it is to have excellent communication skills and an open mind.
Knowledge can be acquired but developing the right attitude requires a lot of work. I also understand now that the right mindset comes when someone pursues their passion, and I could genuinely see that Noha and Rania follow their passion while growing Almouneer's business.
I am grateful for the INSEAD Social Impact Award that helped me pursue the internship. As a result of this positive experience, I better understand the sustainable social impact of healthcare in an emerging market.