The startup is the brainchild of José Bastos, an economist who left a corporate job to create the business about three years ago. “My wife and I have two children. When one fell ill, then the other one would follow,” he says, “and when we both had corporate jobs, taking time to go to the hospital was not at all convenient.”
The original idea was an app to arrange house calls (hence the name, like a knock on the door), but the video-consulting part of the business has quickly become central, with Knok suspending its home visit service during the coronavirus pandemic. The video appointments, which last about 15 minutes, normally cost €17, and 79% of the time happen within 90 minutes of the request.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought more business to Knok.
“In the midst of all this, we are one of the fortunate ones,” José says. “On the commercial side, we’re getting a lot of requests from hospitals and systems to buy our software. On the social side, we’re very proud that in Portugal we’re offering free consultations.”
As the crisis grew, José put out a call for volunteer doctors to provide free consultations as a way to reach patients who were either in remote areas or simply unable to organise a visit in overwhelmed clinics and hospitals – and without the risk of being infected or infecting others. More than 250 people responded. Knok is currently providing about 400 consultations per day throughout the system in Portugal.