West Africa

Startups: Debu Odulana

Founder Debu Odulana on the lack of facilities for doctors in Nigeria and the online platform “Doctoora”

Text: 
Olivia Cuthbert
Foto: 
Thomas Imo

Debu Odulana (29), Founder of Doctoora, a health technology startup in Lagos, Nigeria​

Debu Odulana (29) Gründer der Onlineplattform „Doctoora“ in Lagos, Nigeria

“Coming home from medical school in the UAE, I saw that the facilities for doctors in Nigeria weren’t nearly good enough. Doctors in Nigeria just don’t earn enough to open their own clinics and many end up going abroad – we lose around 1,000 a year. Meanwhile, a lot of healthcare facilities aren’t being used to maximum capacity so I decided to create a platform that would enable more private practices to be set up by developing a space for doctors to access shared clinics and advertise their services online. I put aside £500, my partner chipped in £100 and I borrowed a little from friends and family to set up Doctoora, which has since grown into a network of 21 clinics throughout Lagos and the surrounding area. One of the doctors that has really benefitted is a sex therapist whose clients were too dispersed to work from a single clinic. She now uses four of our facilities and is able to be a lot more flexible in her practice. Another is an optometrist who was just starting out when she joined Doctoora. She booked one of our clinics for the first six months while she built up her client base so we were able to cushion that market entry for her. Of course, there were challenges in the beginning, particularly in terms of finding investors, who tend to be rather risk averse here. There are a lot of startups competing for the same pool of funding in West Africa, so the support we’ve received from GIZ has been really helpful in this respect. Those first three months were really impactful in developing new ways of working to push the business forward and track progress as we go. After that we moved onto the mentorship phase and they arranged introductions to key stakeholders in the industry. That exposure has been great, especially during the trip to CEBIT in Hanover.”

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