The idea for the physician-finding app "Meddy," came from a snippet of a conversation Haris Aghadi overheard at a family gathering: "Could you recommend a good doctor?"
Aghadi, a 2014 alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University's Information Systems program in Qatar, had heard similar conversations for years. But this particular day, the question struck a chord. He and fellow student Abdulla AlKhenji were investigating the feasibility of a professional network for physicians, a type of LinkedIn for doctors, for a course project.
"We soon realized that doctors are not very tech savvy, they don't use the internet to market and network the way they do in other industries," Aghadi said.
Aghadi, a Pakistani national who was born and raised in Qatar, and AlKhenji, a Qatari national, thought if doctors don't have websites or keep websites current — how could the growing population of new expats find them?
So they developed Meddy, which works like word-of-mouth recommendations, providing a list of doctors by specialty, languages, clinic locations, training and credentials, as well as reviews from patients.
"While some of this information was already scattered around the various forums and blogs in Doha, there was no single resource for people to access," Aghadi said. "The aim of Meddy is to provide a one-stop shop for people looking for data on health care providers in Qatar."
Aghadi and AlKhenji first developed Meddy as students, and they were joined by fellow CMU-Q alumnus Noshin Nisa, who is the product designer.
They launched the app in September 2014 with a list of 200 doctors. Meddy has grown to more than 1,700 doctors and 220 private clinics. They will soon launch an Arabic version, and the team hopes to expand beyond Qatar in 2017.
"Taking your idea to the next level and turning it into reality is a full-time job that requires a lot of dedication and support," said Maher Hakim, associate professor of entrepreneurship at CMU-Q who mentored the founders as students and continues to offer advice and guidance.
Meddy was given a boost when Aghadi and AlKhenji were accepted by the Digital Incubation Center, which offers startups mentoring and connections to experts in areas where they may need assistance, such as law, consulting and accounting.
"The Digital Incubation Center has been great. They take early startups, help to improve the products, introduce us to investors and experts in business and marketing. The purpose is to foster entrepreneurship in the country," Aghadi said.
Their work is paying off. Meddy recently won the 2016 Tech Startup of the Year at the Qatar IT Business Awards, hosted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.