A New Polish Unicorn? The Start-Up That Is Taking Over the World

In the past, people were grateful if there was a qualified doctor in their town or village. These days, it is doctors who are grateful for 5-star reviews.

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Mariusz Gralewski
Mariusz Gralewski, founder of Znany Lekarz (DocPlanner). Photo: courtesy of DocPlanner

The tables have turned. In the modern age of digitalization, news travels faster than light. If you are a doctor on a bad day, you better hide it from your patients. Otherwise, you are on the fast track to a poor review.

Cruel? To an extent. In the past, doctors would carefully build up their brand over years of practice. Today that process takes place on the internet, where people seek opinions on doctors providing services in their area and beyond. All with one aim – finding the best specialist. It was just a matter of time before a talented entrepreneur would explore this niche.

Znany Lekarz aka DocPlanner at your service

Mariusz Gralewski
Mariusz Gralewski. Photo: courtesy of DocPlanner

Initially, patients used the Polish platform to share their opinions on local doctors. They rated their experiences using a 5-star system and left comments. When an experienced Polish start-upper, Mariusz Gralewski (the founder of the GoldenLine recruitment platform), needed to see a good dermatologist, he famously came across Znany Lekarz in its early form and decided to purchase the platform. He then… did nothing with it for two years until ideas started emerging.

The site evolved. It no longer resembled a gossip column and became a marketplace where demand met supply. The patients demand medical services and medical professionals provide them. The ambitions, however, do not end there. It evolved into a registration platform where doctors could run their patient calendars for a monthly fee.

The owners complain that most medical professionals do not use the full potential of their services. For example, Znany Lekarz offers doctors the possibility to keep patients’ medical records, but barely any doctors use that function despite the training provided by the platform. Now they are planning to provide software for surgeries.

Never talk money

So far, Znany Lekarz (DocPlanner) has gathered about EUR 300 mln through seven investment rounds. This would suggest its last round amounted to EUR 175 mln. The number is impressive, but… unconfirmed. The CEO never gives away how much they have gathered in every round, nor does he answer any questions on whether the company has already officially become the first Polish unicorn.

At the end of 2021, it was still worth more than Booksy and Brainly – two other very successful Polish startups. What is official, however, is the fact that it is overtaking foreign businesses under the brand DocPlanner. They are present in Spain, Germany, Czechia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy. But they have not stopped with Europe. They are also already present in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, and Peru!

Keep searching for new cheese

Mariusz Gralewski was just a student when he came up with the GoldenLine platform idea, in which he sold his majority stake for over PLN 20 mln. He turned investing in internet platforms into a very successful career. Undoubtedly, Znanly Lekarz has not reached its full potential yet. With over 30 million users worldwide, there are still markets Znany Lekarz is keen to get into and services it wishes to provide. Could it be that we are witnessing the rise of a mythical Polish unicorn?

Weronika Edmunds

Holder of a DPSI in English Law and an MBA, she believes in lifelong learning. Her passion for theatre shaped her sensitivity to the spoken and written word, leading her to become a creative copywriter. She lives for words and knows how to pour life into otherwise lifeless wording. She likes to repeat after M. Ondaatje: “Words, Caravaggio. They have a power.”

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