By converting these service gaps into brand strengths, MyDentist was born – a clinical dental care service provider that offers transparent affordable pricing, high quality standards and adopts the best possible technologies to make dental care more accessible and easy for Indians. Made up of a team of 350 highly motivated staff of which 140 are dentists, MyDentist is arguably the largest team of dentists under a private banner in India. CEO, Vikram Vora believes that MyDentist is sitting on an opportunity nest egg, as currently “The dentist to population ratio in India is 1:10000 against a developed nation average of 1:2000. In less than 18 months, we have catered to more than 1 Lakh patients and the MyDentist policy of providing reliable, transparent and preventive dental services is of huge value to our patients."
MyDentist has a completely owned model to ensure that service and pricing standards are maintained across clinics and this is a key differentiator. Also, the fact that the clinics do not charge for consultations and Intraoral X-Rays comes as a pleasant surprise. “Most dental problems in patients do not get diagnosed and treated because of procrastination of checkups. The reason for this procrastination is often cost, availability of time and laziness. By giving a free consultation, we encourage patients to get their teeth checked on a regular basis thereby helping them to not only save money but also maintain their oral health”.
Most of MyDentist patients come through referrals and investments are made in follow up and CRM activities to retain those patients. MyDentist also spreads awareness about dental care and they have organized free dental checkup camps for more than 50,000 children at schools like Podar Jumbo Kids, St Xavier, Springfield and many more.
“Every possible challenge that applies to a retail service business like that of a coffee shop applies to us. To ensure scalability, we have spent sweat equity in structuring the organization correctly and have invested heavily on technology. There are competitors from South and West India that compete on price but we are determined to rapidly grow the brand across India to negate such threats,” says Vikram. In December 2010, MyDentist got funding by Seedfund and the chain is currently in the process of finding investors for a Series B fundraise. Post the Series B funding; MyDentist is targeting to grow to 50 clinics by December 2012 and 130 clinics by March 2013.
When asked to share an important lesson that he has learnt from starting up MyDentist, Vikram said, “I have learnt that human resource is the most important pillar of a retail services business. One can’t outsource HR as a startup. I personally interviewed every candidate till we were 100 people strong and all the employees of MyDentist meet once every 6 months. We also host knowledge sharing sessions where we meet all the dentists together in an auditorium and I update them on our performance and plans. With a young team like ours, work needs to be associated with fun. We celebrate every birthday, festival, success and even failure as they are all opportunities to learn and develop.”
So, the next time you find yourself waiting in the lobby to meet someone, use that time to assess what value you could add to their business model – you may just come up with a high value proposition the way Vikram Vora did with MyDentist.
- Perzen Darukhanawalla