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The virtual-care entrepreneur

Cherif Habib, BCompSc 03
November 6, 2023
By Damon van der Linde, BA 08

A man with short dark hair and beard stands in front of a window and is wearing a navy blazer over a collared shirt.

As CEO of Dialogue, Cherif Habib is on a mission to help people improve their health and well-being through the rapidly advancing field of virtual care.

Habib co-founded the Montreal-based company in 2016, building an online health care and wellness platform that has connected millions of patients to physical- and mental-health professionals, financial advisers and career counsellors. The experienced entrepreneur was previously CEO of EMcision, a medical-device company that was acquired by Boston Scientific in 2018.

Dialogue has seen a surge in demand from both clients and investors in recent years. In 2020, the company was named one of Canada’s top-growing companies by The Globe and Mail, and has remained on this list ever since. In 2023, Dialogue announced it had been acquired by Sun Life and will continue operating as a standalone entity, keeping its headquarters in Montreal.

“The acquisition is a natural next step for the future and growth of the company that will bring the benefits of virtual care to more Canadians, faster,” says Habib. “Together, we can help millions more improve their well-being, both in Canada and internationally.”

Making an impact

“We are not only providing accessible physical health, mental health and employee assistance programs, but also by looking into prevention: helping people live healthier lives before they need to see a medical professional.”

Early entrepreneurship

“I’ve always enjoyed building something from scratch and being part of a team. I started my first IT services business in CEGEP with a close friend, and we had a blast together. It taught us a lot and was more valuable than the other jobs available to us at that time.

I got into health care by chance when I joined my uncle’s medical-device company and developed a profound passion for the industry.”

The Concordia factor

“The most valuable thing I took away from my time at Concordia is the lifelong friendships. Many of us met in the computer labs of the Hall Building, and we remain close friends to this day. Some of us even started entrepreneurial projects together, and we invest in each other’s businesses.

There’s a saying that ‘we are the average of the closest people we work with, and I strongly believe in that. Use your time at school to surround yourself with amazing people and stay loyal to them for years to come.”

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