Amar Lab is trying to create a world where everyone has easy access to quality healthcare.
We are a platform that provides home-based health diagnostics by connecting diagnostic centres with patients.
Due to heavy traffic and overcrowded diagnostic labs, it takes hours to get any test done. Amar Lab allows patients to simply connect with us, we collect the sample, take it to the lab, get the diagnostic test done and get the report back to them. It saves them time and money, hassle and delivers seamless healthcare.
There are three areas that we particularly focus on.
One: access to healthcare.
We have worked in public health for about 15 years now and we realised people don't have easy access to health diagnostics. When they go to the doctor and the doctor prescribes them follow-up tests, many never go for the tests because access is a huge issue. In Bangladesh, there are only 1 medical technologist for 73,000 people. That makes it really hard to get follow-up tests.
Traffic is horrible in Dhaka, which has 21 million people. Then you have to go wait in line at the diagnostic centres that are overcrowded. Our current calculation is, you actually spent over five hours getting diagnostic tests done; travel time, standing in the queue, giving your sample and returning home. Then you have to travel a second time to get the reports.
There’s the issue of accessibility in Bangladesh. Most of our buildings are not designed for accessibility. So, we have people who are elderly or people who are disabled and for them going back and forth to the clinic is very difficult.
Amar Lab is solving these three problems because we are going to your home or your office, or anywhere you want to collect diagnostics samples and organise the testing and delivery of results.
Our main product is diagnostic services, so we are a platform where we onboard diagnostic centres and customers.
When a customer or patient calls in through an app, our website, Facebook page or call centre, whatever they connect to, we take orders of what tests they need.
Then we give them an option of which lab they want to select for the diagnostic service. We then send our trained medical technologists to their homes, they take the sample and deliver it to the lab. Once the report is ready, we take it back to the customer. That’s our main service.
We do offer some additional services, like doctor consultations. We have some telehealth options where if customers see the report and they want to talk to a doctor from the comfort of their home, Amar Lab can arrange that. We also home deliver prescription drugs.
We are now in the process of integrating all our services, so that we can deliver all four dimensions of healthcare: doctors, diagnostics, drugs, and data. From the comfort of their homes, customers will now be able to see a doctor, get their tests done, order their medicine, and have access to all their health records - all in one place.
So far, we have served over 12,000 tests and provided those to our diagnostic centres as part of our partnership with them. Through that, we have actually saved almost 25,000 hours of travel time for our customers.
It actually started many years ago back in 2007 when my Mum got diagnosed with late stage cancer. At that time, we realised that just a simple diagnostic test for the cancer marker CA-125 would actually have detected it way earlier.
I was working at Microsoft at that time and I decided I wanted to do something in healthcare in Bangladesh. So, I started a clinic where we provided free health care, free doctor consultations, free medications, free testing, all of it.
Dr. Zahid was a young doctor who was working at that time in a hospital and he joined the clinic because he wanted to focus more on public health and contribute to society.
So, we partnered together.
Then over the next ten years, we grew the healthcare services at the clinic. By 2015 we were supporting about 80,000 families with health care needs. But at that time, we realised that this charitable model is not enough to make our vision a reality – that vision of giving access to healthcare for everyone.
That led us to brainstorm what we can do to deliver on our mission. During that time another friend, Sabbir Amin, also joined our team. When we did our customer research, we realised many times people can’t do tests even when their doctors are prescribing. Then we looked at the ideas and problems and came up with this concept of Amar Lab which makes it easy for people to complete diagnostic tests.
So, I left my job at Microsoft in Seattle and returned to Bangladesh after 17 years to work on the vision of making healthcare easily accessible to everyone everywhere. That's how Amar Lab got started.
One thing is our history with our passion, and our dream, and our purpose of healthcare. It’s not just about the business opportunity for us, it’s also about providing accessible health care to everyone.
We have been working in this field for many years so that's a big factor for us; that we are in Amar Lab to provide health care solutions that work.
Also, our backgrounds are very interesting and complimentary.
Dr. Zahid is a physician, and actually a very popular one who treats patients with empathy and compassion. And then on top of that, he has expertise in health care management and health care delivery. He has managed different hospitals and clinics.
I, on the other hand, have a technology background. My years at Microsoft were focused on new product development and human centred design, so developing solutions that solve problems from a people’s perspective.
As a team, we merge those human centred design and health care concepts to really bring out a solution that solves people’s problems and makes life easier for them.
Now we have more people who joined the team. In our leadership team, we have Ajoy, who has 30 years of experience in regulatory affairs because that's that big issue in healthcare.
We have other people in the leadership team who are startup founders or entrepreneurs themselves and they bring experience in getting a company started.
So all of us together we’ve created a great team. All of us are really focused on customer experience, which is probably the biggest secret sauce for us.
The formal and methodical approach to help scale up a startup that the Accelerating Asia team delivers.
First of all, fundraising – we are aiming to close our next round so we can expand to three other cities across Bangladesh. Our initial research shows there is demand in the market, and we want to use the new injection of capital on expansion and marketing as well as hiring some top talent.
Next, we want to integrate all our services together within the next 100 days. This will allow our customers to have all their healthcare needs delivered from one place: doctors, diagnostics, drugs, and data.
We are also focusing on customer engagement. We have initiated and launched a customer engagement strategy, thanks to the Accelerating Asia team for their help on that. So how do we acquire new customers and also connect back with customers who have used our service before.
For Amar Lab I think it’s all about learning, both of us are lifelong learners. So for us it is mentorship and also the network we are gaining access to.
Accelerating Asia really is giving us the platform that we need because we have spent a lot of time in MNCs and not for profit but in terms of being a startup and launching/having our own products, focusing on metrics and sales, those are things that we need mentorship and support to grow as Founders.
Based on our research, Accelerating Asia is one of the best platforms for that, especially for international startups.
Actually, we applied for the last cohort also, but didn’t make it through – maybe because we were still too early-stage. But now we have traction, more revenue and the timing was right so we were accepted into the program. And hopefully by the end of the flagship accelerator, AmarLab will be in even better shape and ready to scale!
Amar Lab received investment from our early-stage VC fund and graduated from Cohort 4 of our flagship program. During our last recruitment round Accelerating Asia received 500 applications from 30 countries and we have with 2000+ startups per year.
If you’re interested in connecting with Amar Lab, investing alongside us, meeting our portfolio companies, or just generally interested in talking to us about startup investing, please reach out and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.
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