It all began in 2011, in the rainy town of Taiping where my wife and I had been posted under the Ministry of Health to work in Hospital Taiping which is also the first hospital in Malaysia. We both ended up in the Anaesthesia & Intensive Care unit and spent most of days working in the same department but hardly ever meeting each other which is typical of couples who are both healthcare professionals. A year later my request to transfer to the Surgical Department had come through and now we were often working on the same patient but at opposite ends of the operating table.
I had met Dr Yew Chor Giap and become good friends with him one day over a conversation on what tyres to get for our cars. We were both BMW enthusiasts and this eventually led to many lengthy and insightful discussions on investments and business. Our conversations in and out of the Operating Theatre would revolve around the pursuit of financial independence and we had bravely put a lot of our money into diversifying our investment portfolio as early as possible. Not all of them were successful but as the saying goes “Fortune Favours the Brave”… we did manag to get some returns on our investments. He is now in training to become a General Surgeon but I however had a different destiny awaiting me.
Among our earlier ventures were to open our own Clinics each with separate group of partners. Dr Yew bought a place in Taiping that saw a steady stream of patients from long list of panel companies and I ventured into a newly refurbished clinic in Kuala Lumpur with a low patient volume but with huge potential. We quickly realised that there is a lot more to owning a business than just capital injection. We were performing complex surgical procedures but had no idea about workflow optimisation, marketing or even manage an account. We both did as much as we could convincing our shareholders on spending more capital to get the most out of our investments . It was easier to do once we convinced ourselves that not everyone thinks like an entrepreneur and definitely not Doctors.
A good ‘ol buddy of mine called Karl Cardoza whom Ive known through roller hockey and in-line skating events during high school visited Taiping and we had a chance to meet. The basic idea of doing more for our patients was already brewing in my mind and I shared the idea with Karl over a few beers. He had a Grandmother and a Mother in Law who had chronic health problems and required regular trips to their healthcare centres. He told me about his new job in Digital Marketing which was not part of my vocabulary at the time and showed great interest in this idea. We ended the night with Karl saying “when you get your ambulance, come find me…”.
In January 2013, I requested to be transferred back to my home town of Petaling Jaya. My focus on becoming a Surgeon
had to take a drastic turn after my Father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Liver Cancer. My wife and I are both doctors and we treated him at home and found tremendous benefits of giving him the dignity of being treated in the comfort of his own home. We only took him to the hospital for his scans and a procedure that involved injecting Radioactive Crystals into the a major artery in his liver straight to the tumour under the skillful hands of a highly experienced Interventional Radiologist. While working more than 80 hours a week on erratic hospital shifts, we managed to keep him as comfortable as possible towards his last few days with us.
Shortly after his passing, I registered a company on 15 January 2014 and a few months later we were in business. Then I went on to get a loan to buy a vehicle and found the biggest van in the market…the Maxus Westar. Using a designer in Lithuania through fiverr.com I managed to get a design for the van decals. I also attended a short Adobe Illustrator course which helped me finalise the design and sent it out to Tom’s Stickers. Once the “Big Orange” was ready I showed up at Karl’s office and thats when he officially stepped on board. Within a few weeks he helped setup the website, optimise it and also handled the Digital marketing which remains our strongest traction today. The website generated our first lead within 24 hours of launching it in June 2014 and his since then seen several revisions and improvements.
We realised quickly that Door2Door Doctor was more than just a regular startup simply because we gave our patients a service that never existed before in Malaysia and significantly improved their access to healthcare. In the following weeks I hope to share more stories about the lives we touch and the mission to reach out to a Million patients.