“We meet a lot of other start-ups launched by two brothers”
The Grid: What inspired you to start HeyDoc!?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: My brother and I launched a digital marketing agency (WebMisc) three years ago and that got us thinking about the HeyDoc! concept. We did a lot of work in the healthcare world and saw the issues they faced and wanted to find a solution.
The Grid: So you and your brother have had previous experience creating businesses?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: I have a background of creating new businesses, in the early days as part of larger corporations, more recently as stand alone entities. We founded four start-ups together. The first two failed but the last two are doing well.
The Grid: That must really test a sibling relationship and create moments of tension. What is it like, working with your brother?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: He was my idol, older to me, when we were growing up. Since the age of fifteen, my brother was an entrepreneur – the IT guru of the neighborhood. He set up an IT company in 2002. Even at the age of nine, he fixed an IT issue for a company while standing in a queue.
Ahmad Al-Hidiq, left, and Salah Al-Hidiq, right, Co-founders, HeyDoc!
We entered a competition and won and set up our first start up together. That business didn’t work. We tried again six years ago here in Dubai. That didn’t work as cash was king at the time and it was difficult working with large clients.
There are no borders with brothers. You tell each other everything. It creates conflict but also conflict is resolved ten minutes later. You go through a lot together and you learn that communication is really key, especially with your brother. You agree on most things and think similarly but there will always be areas of contrast. And when you are brothers you are not scared of shouting it out. Deflate and sit and talk it out and then start over. This is key with any co-founders. You go through a lot together and it is important to split things properly between two co-founders to help smooth things out. Of course, that is sometimes very difficult to do at the beginning of a business.
We meet a lot of other start-ups launched by two brothers and they always ask us about our experience starting and running HeyDoc! together. It’s nice to inspire younger entrepreneur siblings to work together too.
The Grid: It sounds like entrepreneurship runs in the family. Do you have other siblings apart from your brother? What do they do?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: All my siblings are quite entrepreneurial. I have two sisters who also initiated their own career moves. One of them is a coach who manages behavioral conflict in organizations. Actually, my nine-year-old nephew has just published a book on how to not be grumpy.
The Grid: Wow, there seems to be a common talent amongst your family: managing conflict, turning negativity into positivity. I wonder if that has anything to do with one of your parents. Was either in a similar field?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: My dad was a financial auditor who should have been a psychiatrist. Going through tough times as a Palestinian family after the war in Kuwait together makes you close and you learn to cope with all the obstacles that come your way.
The Grid: Tell us a little on where HeyDoc! is today and what you have in store for its users.
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: We are migrating the platform at the moment so the doctors are on a two-week holiday. We will be up and running again in early April. The whole chat engine has been revamped and we have added voice notes and it will be much more secure. We will launch video and voice calls a month or two after that (so essentially you can have a doctor in your room live on video). We also are working on introducing virtual reality treatments, home care diagnostic tools and wearable devices that give access to live data synced with your device.
This is an extract from an interview with Ahmad Al-Hidiq, Co-founder at Heydoc!
HeyDoc! is an award winning global telemedicine platform dedicated to connecting patients with the right medical consultants.
Interview by Tasneem Mayet, Research Director, The Grid Media Ltd
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