Vezeetaa health tech startup operating in the Middle East and Africa reportedly laid off about 10% of its workforce last week. The number of affected employees is unknown; however, multiple sources who posted the news on LinkedIn, including affected workers, revealed that up to 50 people were laid off. Vezeeta has nearly 500 employees, according to its LinkedIn page.
londonbusinessblog.com contacted the Egypt and Dubai-based company for comment, but received no response at the time of publication.
The last time we covered Vezeeta was in 2020, when it raised $40 million in Series D financing (the joint largest health tech round in Africa alongside Reliance Health) from Gulf Capital and Saudi Technology Ventures (STV). According to CEO Amir Barsoum, the healthtech company has: receive Totaling $73 million and generally touted as one of the soon-to-be horns of Africa and the Middle East.
Vezeeta’s business has evolved from the ‘Uber for Ambulance’ model it launched in 2012 to what it is today: a subscription-based platform for booking and consulting doctors. As of 2020, it operated in 50 cities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon and claimed its user base had grown 3x year-over-year to 4 million patients, with 30,000 healthcare providers offering software-as-a-service. used solution. But currently, the platform serves 10 million patients in 78 cities (including Nigeria and Kenya, the latest addition) through three outpatient contact points: doctor’s consultations, pharmacy and diagnostics.
Like many health tech startups in the region and globally, Vezeeta benefited from pandemic-induced funding, and before this news, there was no indication that the 10-year company needed to cut costs. But if there’s one thing the current venture capital landscape has shown, no industry is immune from layoffs, as startups from the likes of real estate, crypto, q-commerce and fintech laid off a staggering 16,000 workers last month.
There are a few notable examples in the US healthtech space. Earlier this month, Carbon Health, a virtual healthcare provider, laid off 8% of its workforce, citing the need to “adapt to changing market conditions”. Last week, healthcare unicorn, Ro, after recently raising $150 million at a valuation of $7 billion, relieved 18% of its staff from their duties to “manage expenses, increase the efficiency of our organization, and better align our resources with our current strategy.” Other platforms worldwide such as reported by Layoffs.fyiincluding PharmEasy, Sami and Truepill.
Vezeeta is the first major player in Africa and the Middle East to be affected. The health tech company has not released any statements describing what led to its decision or plans for the future, but affected employees gave reasons that Vezeeta likely put forward in his discussion with the staff. One said the layoffs were the result of “market disasters”, while another said it was “due to the global market crisis caused by the war in Ukraine”.
This resignation news is the second fast-moving news from an Egypt-born but Dubai-based company. In May, listed mobility startup SWVL announced plans to lay off 32% of its staff. The company noted changes in financial realities and the need to implement a portfolio optimization program to “focus on the operations with the highest profitability, improve efficiency and reduce central costs.”