CAIRO: Dubai-based wellness startup Valeo has made deep inroads into Saudi Arabia with the growing acceptance of telemedicine, remote monitoring and convenient health management in the Kingdom.
The company has expanded to Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah and Makkah since its launch in January, offering at-home blood testing facilities and health supplements.
“We have launched at-home blood testing services in the major cities of Saudi Arabia and supplements across all cities,” Sundeep Sahni, CEO and co-founder, told Arab News.
The company has been expanding in the Kingdom because of a growing need for on-demand preventive healthcare services.
According to the US-based International Trade Administration, Saudi Arabia accounts for 60 percent of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ healthcare expenditure, and the sector remains a top priority for the government.
In 2022, the Saudi Ministry of Health launched the Health Sector Transformation Program, part of Vision 2030, ensuring continued healthcare services and infrastructure improvement.
“Valeo can benefit from national programs like Vision 2030’s Quality of Life & Health Transformation Program and the emphasis on telemedicine and remote healthcare,” said Sahni.
The other important factor for the demand is the increase in life expectancy from 76.4 years in 2019 to 81.8 years. Concurrently, the population is also expected to grow from 34.3 million in 2019 to 39.4 million by 2030 are key drivers of infrastructure demand.
At the same time, the increase in life expectancy is creating a need for long-term care facilities, rehabilitation and home healthcare services.
“Our goal is to make health convenient and empower individuals to care for themselves,” said Sahni, adding that he is planning to expand to more cities in the Kingdom and provide a broader range of services other than those they are already providing.
“For our at-home blood tests, the plan is to expand to a new city every month and eventually cover the whole country,” he added.
Our goal is to make health convenient and empower individuals to care for themselves.
Sundeep Sahni, Valeo CEO and co-founder
The company believes personalized and targeted health solutions are essential in promoting better health outcomes.
“We will identify the specific services and features that are most valuable to the local population, and we will incorporate them into our offerings,” Sahni added.
The Kingdom has been actively investing in developing its healthcare infrastructure and services to improve accessibility, quality and patient outcomes.
“One key aspect that stands out is the Saudi government’s commitment to investing in healthcare, reflected in initiatives such as the Saudi Vision 2030,” Sahni said.
Under Vision 2030, the country aims for a 3 percent reduction in obesity and a 10 percent decrease in diabetes prevalence by 2030.
“Such initiatives create a favorable environment for innovative healthcare companies like ours to contribute to developing and delivering cutting-edge solutions,” he added.
Sahni further emphasized that the increase in chronic diseases in the Kingdom presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
For instance, diabetes prevalence alone has increased by 99 percent in Saudi Arabia to 2.7 million in 2019 from 1.4 million cases in 2009, according to the World Bank.
“The rise in healthcare demand calls for advanced technologies, digital health solutions and patient-centric approaches to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness and overall healthcare outcomes,” he explained.
Valeo’s presence in Saudi Arabia aligns with its growth strategy and allows it to leverage favorable market conditions.
“Our main offerings consist of at-home blood test packages curated to suit different profiles and health goals such as women’s health, men’s health, fitness, weight loss, food intolerances and more,” said Sahni.
He added: “We also provide a selection of grade-A supplements based on international manufacturing standards delivered straight to your doorstep.”
The healthcare firm also offers intravenous drips and physiotherapy sessions. Its recently launched treatment focuses on tackling specific needs such as hair loss or skin care.
“The journeys are designed to provide a comprehensive approach to solving specific issues from customized testing to connecting you with the right expert and recommending the right products all in one place,” Sahni further explained.
Through its services, Valeo aims to fill the gap of complicated or inconvenient healthcare experiences and empower its users to check on their health continuously.
Furthermore, the company aims to strengthen its presence in the Kingdom through strategic partnerships and collaborations to empower the digital health sector.
“Collaboration and partnerships are vital in the healthcare market and we are actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with local providers, government entities, and other stakeholders,” Sahni said.
“By working together, we believe we can leverage each other’s strengths to drive innovation, improve healthcare access, and ultimately positively impact the health and well-being of the Saudi population,” he added.
The company currently has a team of 40 people spanning the UAE, India, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, in addition to co-founder Nadine Karadag.
Valeo also has a presence in Riyadh and plans to have an office in the city by the end of the year.
The wellness startup received $3 million in its latest funding round with investors such as DFDF, Global Ventures, Nuwa Capital, Global Founders Capital, Sanabil 500 and FJ Labs.