Tata Digital Limited, the digital businesses-overseeing arm of one of India’s largest business conglomerates Tata Sons, is back in doubling down on its health-tech investments. After having recently committed $75Mn for Cure.Fit, the firm is now eyeing majority stake in 1mg — the online medicine delivery platform that claims to be on the top of the charts in its space.
Ever since Reliance stepped up the gas on its digital ambitions via raising billions of dollars for its digital business under Jio, Tata has taken an aggressive approach to get into the digital space as well. And even though Tata obviously isn’t commanding the money that Reliance has, it is still competing neck to neck, thanks to its intelligent investments and the brand value that the ‘TATA’ group commands.
The health tech space has become a battleground of sorts for two of India’s biggest business conglomerates. Reliance Industries forayed into the digital pharmacy game by acquiring well-known online medicine shop NetMeds last year. Tata recently acquired sizeable stack in Cure.Fit, with 1mg now joining that portfolio list.
Pratik Pal, the CEO at Tata Digital, said, “The investment in 1mg strengthens Tata’s ability to provide superior customer experience and high-quality healthcare products and services in the e-pharmacy and e-diagnostics space through a technology-led platform.”
1mg was founded in 2013 by Prashant Tandon (now CEO), Gaurav Agarwal and Vikas Chauhan, allowing users to order and avail quality medicines from well-known companies, and that too, at three different speeds depending on their requirements. They can have their drugs delivered within 24 hours, or within 4-5 hours or, if they need them right away, the service also offers superfast delivery within 90 minutes flat.
Moreover, 1mg also has a solid network of supply centres, delivering to more than 20,000 PIN codes across the country. Additionally, Tata Digital has revealed that the startup also runs three state-of-the-art diagnostic labs, for meeting the testing needs of users. Business-to-Business (B2B) supply of medicines or healthcare products is also facilitated.
Tandon also delved into his take on the deal, saying, “We are delighted to join hands with one of India’s most iconic and respected conglomerates. This marks a significant milestone in 1mg’s journey to make high quality healthcare products accessible to customers across India.”
The support that Prashant and his company gain from the conglomerate will be used to expand the services offered, as well as the geographies covered.
Tata’s big Digital bets
At the start of this year, Tata Digital had also acquired majority stake in BigBasket, the largest retail service for groceries in the country. Back then, the group had invested a sum of around $200-250 million as primary cash infusion, as part of a larger deal to put in around $1.2 billion for taking over 60% of the stakes in the platform.
The firm is reportedly also planning to have BigBasket go public by next year, or latest by 2023. This move is reportedly part of the deal between the two companies, and Hari Menon, CEO at the grocery retailer, has said that it could help investors make an exit.
Only last week, Tata Group had announced an investment of $75 million in Curefit, a fitness startup based at Bengaluru. The deal will see Mukesh Bansal, the co-founder at Curefit, join Tat Digital, and that too, as President. All these moves are said to be the run up to the industry giant’s plans on becoming a SuperApp in the near future.