Consumer Healthcare is a niche that had long been ignored in India, after all that’s what hospitals are there for. However, with the induction of technology into almost every other important scenario of human life, something as vital as health couldn’t possibly remain away from advancing itself.
The last couple of years have seen a rapid growth in the sector in the country, with innovative start-ups, backed by some of the largest venture firms, altering the way healthcare is delivered. Lets take a look.
The introduction of technology into healthcare had relatively humble beginnings, namely apps that enabled you to order and receive medicines from your home. For example, now you have platforms like 1mg, that get your medicines delivered to your doorsteps in many major cities including Delhi – NCR, Chennai, Agra, Indore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Kolkata & Ahmedabad.
The Healthcare Delivery and Pharmacy provider recently raised an impressive $15M in Series B from Maverick Capital Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Omidyar Networks, Kae Capital and others in April 2016.
However, with the idea gaining popularity among the masses and with a realization of the fact that a majority of cases do not require actual physical diagnosis by the doctor — i.e. a diagnosis which requires the doctor and the patient to be present together — came the era of virtual or over-the-net consultation which led to applications like Practo, HealthCareMagic and DocsApp.
Interestingly, these platforms approach healthcare in a variety of ways. On one hand you have platforms like DocsApp which seek to make the healthcare industry more efficient and accessible to the masses by eliminating stuff like appointments, travel and waiting. You simply log on to their website, choose your problem, are recommended a specialist, pay a consultation fees and voila! Get instant diagnosis and recommendations from home at a fraction of trouble. Statistics show that 72% of health issues are common illnesses and they do not require physical examination. Here is where such apps come into the picture as they can be used in at least 72% of health issues confidently.
Another start-up which operated on a similar model included HealthcareMagic. The company received $2.5 million in seed funding from Accel Partners in 2009 in exchange for around 20-25% equity, separated into $0.5 million tranches. The company was later acquired by Ebix Inc. on May 27, 2014 for $18.5 million.
Another example is MedECUBE, an asset-less healthcare company that helps patients seek “the right care, at the right place and at the right cost.” This also helps patients get second opinions from the experts across the world. The company raised $4 million in series A round led by California-based VC firm Artiman Ventures.
We also have companies like Care24, which helps patients recuperate post surgery or procedures and can even be used to get trained and professional aid for the old. Care24 has been in operation in Mumbai since 2014 and has successfully helped 1000+ families heal at home. The company managed to raise a sum of $4M in Series A from SAIF Partners and India Quotient in January, 2016.
As per a report regarding the status of consumer facing healthcare in the country,
Over $338M have been invested in Consumer Healthcare sector since 2009. Recently this space has seen exponential growth in funding with $285M invested since 2015 in 81 deals. Healthcare delivery solutions for doctors has seen maximum activity with more than $159M of funding in 33 rounds since 2009. Out of 841 companies, 87 companies are funded as of April 2016.
So, yes the field is growing and with it patients are getting more and better facilities delivered ever closer to them. Lets hope this trend continues in the future as well.