On top of reaching over 3.5 million unique visitors per month, Arabic medical content portal WebTeb just announced new investment from the Siraj Palestine Fund, which will allow them to open new offices in Ramallah, invest in some new monetization strategies, and potentially open offices in the Gulf in the coming months.
Although founder Mahmoud Kaiyal wouldn’t share the amount of the investment, the Series B round will enable WebTeb to scale its already popular site and begin to monetize. Kaiyal expects the site to reach 5 million unique users per month by the end of the year, propelled by its active user base and over 570,000 likes on Facebook.
After launching a new diet and lifestyle section this past April, WebTeb has seen a nearly 100% growth in traffic, says Kaiyal, who left his practice as a doctor to launch the site in 2011. The team also sees the highest traffic to their disease and treatments pages and, particularly in the last two months, a spike in hits on content related to pregnancy. Around 63% of the portal’s users are women, explains Kaiyal, which is fairly in line with other medical content portals around the globe, but some sections are definitely visited more heavily by men than women, depending on the information they’re looking for.
While the site remains focused on offering free medical content and resources for users, the team, which has now reached 27 members, split between Ramallah and Amman, is building some new services that they may offer for a premium fee in the near future.
The content, which WebTeb continues to source from Harvard University and Mayo Clinic, will always remain free, assures Kaiyal. But the WebTeb team also creates their own content particularly around specific segments, like their Ramadan channel and soon to be launched diet and fitness tool. Kaiyal explains that WebTeb is complete with its own medical advisory board and editors, which it continues to recruit as more and more curious users visit the site.
“We’re hiring a lot lately,” Kaiyal says. “In the sales, content, and technical teams, and we’re looking at a dietician too. Just today we had two new employees join the sales team.”
To monetize, the team is currently focusing on native ads that are still relevant to the platform, says Kaiyal. By offering doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare providers the opportunity to advertise their services to users among regular content, WebTeb is hoping to keep the site clean and easy to navigate. Kaiyal is also working to build new partnerships with content providers and healthcare professionals to build up their content diversity, add to their lifestyle and health portal, and eventually find new methods to monetize.
As regional trends point to the huge potential of going mobile, WebTeb is also working to take advantage of the space, which is particularly active in the Gulf; Saudi Arabia and the UAE have very high smartphone penetration rates at 60% and 62% respectively. And, as we discussed previously, the healthcare industry in particular has a lot to gain from going mobile.
Although the team hasn’t created a dedicated mobile app as of yet, their mobile site brings in almost 40% of their traffic. But they’re working on building one soon, Kaiyal assures us, as they see a particularly large opportunity when it comes to directories and other services they plan to launch in the future, especially telemedicine services, where patients without access to healthcare can consult with practitioners online.
As WebTeb continues to expand, more users are jumping at the opportunity to take advantage of free Arabic content to improve their health and stay better informed. The key for WebTeb will be turning that fast growth into revenues by executing well on these new monetization strategies and introducing useful new tools that are worth paying for.