Before becoming an entrepreneur, Stanislas Niox-Chateau was a professional tennis player. One day, after suffering a serious back injury, he realized that it was difficult to quickly find a doctor available that had space in their calendar. Since the invention of the telephone, there seemed to have been no technological progress that could help you reserve an appointment with a traumatologist or physiotherapist.
This was the start of Doctolib, the startup co-founded by Niox-Chauteaux. At the end of 2013, it was “a team of 10 people wandering through Paris, desperately trying to speak with doctors so they could introduce them to the concept”, remembers Niox-Chauteaux. But in less than two years, it has become a business of 230 workers that process “between 50 and 80 interviews a week” with doctors with different specialties. The digital platform receives over 3 million unique visitors every month seeking quick access to healthcare services. This achievement has made its co-founder one of the prize winners of MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 France 2016.
The success of Doctolib lies in its simplicity for the doctor as much as the patient. Their platform, free for the patients, allows you to search for a doctor by their specialty and their location (in France), check their timetable and reserve an appointment directly. You then receive a confirmation email straight away. A week after, you receive another as a reminder and the day before the appointment, a text message on your phone.
Doctolib saves doctors many hours on the telephone. “Reservations are a costly process for them, which normally take up a third of their administration tasks, or in terms of time, 18 hours a week”, explains Niox-Chauteau. Furthermore, it offers them a platform that gives recognition to their services as patients can find a dentist, neurologist or gynecologist close to their house. The business is currently associated with 6.500 healthcare professionals with diverse areas of expertise, that must pay a monthly subscription of 99 euros.
Niox-Chateau explains that 70 of his employees spend their time visiting doctors who may be interested in joining their network, and showing them how the system works. They also have various teams in their headquarters that respond to the doubts and requests of patients and professionals, and an integrated chat on their platform, that according to Niox-Chateau, “has become very popular among the medics.”
The youngster recognizes that at an international level their platform faces strong competitors, like Practo, ZocDoc and Docplanner. The entrepreneur explains: “These companies were launched before us and have a bigger client base, operate in larger territories and have raised more funds. But in two years we have demonstrated a stronger growth rate and constant technical usability.
What makes us different is that our doctors and members use only our technology, that connects their whole agendas to our platform of patients in real time.”
In 2015, DoctoLib obtained 20 million euros from the risk capital firm Accel and from various investors. With this investment, he wants to expand his workforce, “to improve access to healthcare for 500 million Europeans” and to “build a community of 400,000 health professionals and 10,000 healthcare centers.”
The founder and CEO of Access2Europe, Wytze Russchen, who is a member of the prize jury, was impressed by “the wealth and diversity” of Niox-Chateau´s development. For Russchen, Doctolib “responds to a specific need of society, it is practical and user-friendly, has an enormous amount of growth potential” and, furthermore, it is an example of how innovation in civil society and commercial opportunities can go hand in hand.