We speak to Shezlong's founder Ahmed Abu El Haz about the investment and what they're hoping to do with it.
Egypt-born online therapy startup, Shezlong, has just raised a total of $350,000 in a bridge funding round on April 18th. The investment came from 500 Startups, Endure Capital, HIMangel, and two individual investors Hadeer Shalaby, a Dubai-based Careem executive, and Shiva Datawani who is also a Dubai-based angel investor.
Providing online therapy to Arab-speaking patients across 40 countries all over the world, Shezlong has found that it needs to expand its services to the KSA, UAE, and Qatar. "We have also found that users find it more convenient to take therapeutical consultancy through texting, so we are also using this investment to work out an in-app texting service," Ahmed Abu El-Haz, co-founder of Shezlong, tells Startup Scene ME. "Sometimes, patients or for example mothers who want to ask a quick question about their children find it less practical to book a video conference to extract a certain answer. So, an in-app texting service would provide them a quick answer to their quick questions. Even though anonymity is guaranteed in the video conferences, some would feel better about texting rather than video-calling the online therapist."
Abu El-Haz, who is an engineer, and his fellow co-founder, Mohamed ElShami, who is a psychiatrist, established Shezlong in 2014. Two years later, Shezlong raised $150,000, also in a seed round, from A15, Endure Capital, and Karim Hussein, Senior Vice President with WebMD who is currently a Managing Partner at Algbera Ventures. The startup was also accepted for the current round of 500 Startups’ global accelerator and has three of its team members taking part in the program in Silicon Valley, California.
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