UAE-based fintech firm Klaim has raised US$5 million in a seed investment round led by Dubai-headquartered venture capital and private equity firm Knuru Capital. The funding was done through a securitized financing structure -said to be one of the first of its kind in the UAE- that saw Klaim initially receive an amount of $5 million. The total amount will eventually be raised to $30 million by way of a pool of Shari'ah-compliant investors.
Launched in 2019, Klaim was created with the singular purpose of solving delayed and/or rejected insurance claim payments for medical providers in the UAE. Since its launch, the startup has already managed claims worth over AED700 million, and supported more than 100 medical entities -across the UAE and Saudi Arabia- with their working capital woes. "So far, we have also saved two healthcare facilities from bankruptcy," reveals Karim Dakki, co-founder and CEO of Klaim. "One of the main effects [of Klaim's services] that we've noticed is that our clients become more efficient internally in submitting the claims. We also see time reduced from 30 days, for a visit to claim submission, to five to 15 days now. Some of them take even less than five days. This translates into higher internal efficiencies and lowers investments in working capital and a better quality of healthcare services as the result."
On his part, Alain Dib, CEO of Knuru Capital, expressed that this round aligned with his enterprise's goal of helping fintech companies scale with access to smart capital. "This combination of KLAIM's claim management software and capital solution will greatly help SME healthcare in managing their payments and improve cash flow management and focus on delivering excellence in healthcare services," Dib added. And with this fresh influx of capital, Dakki hopes to scale Klaim's services across the country, while also introducing newer features.
"We typically raise two types of capital: one is operational capital to grow the business and build the technology, while the other is for buying out receivables and injecting them into the sector," Dakki explains. "So for the first one, our goal is to continue spending a significant amount of money in scaling our revenue-related capabilities, which are sales and marketing. And then on the technology side, we want to bring under one umbrella a unified platform that can automate most of the back-office operations for health care facilities." Dakki also points out that the decisions from this point onwards will require a keen focus on new regulatory requirements. "The key area is the evolution of regulation," Dakki says. "So far, we've been focusing on business-to-business (B2B) working capital products, but now we intend to upgrade our licenses and start pushing forward with a business-to-consumer (B2C) program that will allow us to go into Asia and Africa."
That Klaim's new goals come in the midst of the fintech industry receiving an increasing number of investments cannot be overlooked, of course. In 2021, alone, at least $131 billion was invested into fintech startups across the globe, as per a Crunchbase report. The same study shows that although the number of venture capital (VC) investments progressively dropped in every quarter of 2022, fintech still remains one of the highest funded sectors. Dakki himself is quick to note the same.
"From 2020 to 2021 fintech venture investment grew by more than 175%," he states. "But post-pandemic we've seen an increase in VC investment in health fintech too. In 2019, digital health saw $7.7 billion in VC investment, and that number rose to $14.6 billion in 2020. There was a massive realization that there is a lot that needs to be done on the healthcare front and its digitization, which is an attractive investment opportunity. For Klaim, in particular, there is a high interest because it's at the crossroads of finance and healthcare. Very few startups are targeting that space. In addition, we have proven our model, and the company is now ready for Series A."
And the increased interest from investors has certainly helped Klaim explore untapped markets.
"The initial wave of opportunities that we saw in the healthcare sector that received quite a bit of investment is appointments/online booking systems related to applications such as Okadoc and Veezeeta," Dakki explains. "But we started seeing another wave of opportunities in different sectors such as in the pharmacy space, chronic disease management, clinical decision systems, healthcare data, patient records, among other things, interoperability automation, admin and clinical tasks, and documentation."
But as the funding winter continues and the number of investments continue to stagnate (as stated earlier), Karim advises entrepreneurs not to lose heart. "Reduce your expenditure and focus on profitability early on, and focus on activities that are going to generate your cash as early as possible," he advises. "Also ensure to keep visibility of the startup to bring attention and awareness. Then convert this awareness and incoming leads of investors into actual deals!"
Moving into 2023, Dakki hopes to be at the forefront of digitally transforming medical billing in the Middle East. "To force implement our vision and impact more healthcare facilities, we are planning to deploy $100 million of capital by the end of 2023, with 60% going into Saudi and 40% to the UAE, and then close a successful Series A," he reveals.
"I think the most powerful part has been realizing that we are shaping the way the industry is doing its medical billing and being able to help. We are in a sector that is impacting all of us. I think that's the most gratifying part."