No-frills startup Jeevanti taps into the unmet demand for quality healthcare
Even as we continue our search for the next big technology or mobile startup from India, a larger opportunity exists in areas such as healthcare, infrastructure and education in India. Unlike a technology or mobile product, the problems that these sectors deal with are universal, and in the foreseeable future demand will continue to outstrip supply. But because of the complexity of the space, not too many have ventured here. However, there are few like Jeevanti who have taken up the challenge.
Who are they?
Started by an ex-banker Arun Diaz and an ex-social worker Jeevanti Healthcare was incorporated in April 2011. The startup is backed by Seedfund and plans to setup a chain of 50-bed secondary care multi-speciality hospitals in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Since its launch, Jeevanti has rolled out two hospitals in suburban Mumbai. Jeevanti provides assistance to patients in gynaecology & obstetrics, paediatrics, general medicine and general surgery.
The healthcare sector is the largest sector in the country, and according to reports, the Indian healthcare industry is expected to touch $160 billion by 2017. Jeevanti with its no-frills model is placed well to reap the benefits. There is a large unmet demand for basic, but good quality health facilities. A clear gap exists between high-end tertiary hospitals, government hospitals and stand alone single-doctor-managed private nursing homes, it is this middle segment that Jeevanti wants to explore.
Arun and Deepa have been running the Apollo Clinic in Thane city for sometime and Jeevanti is an extension of their dreams in healthcare.
The startup currently has two hospitals functional in Ambarnath and Bhiwandi areas in Thane district, near Mumbai. These two facilities were existing hospitals which the Jeevanti team took over and have now redone according to their standards.
These hospitals continue to be owned by original owners. The Jeevanti team takes over management control, the doctors and staff are realigned to be NABH certified and latest technology and facility are provided to the hospitals. “The hospitals we take over are mostly practitioners of Unnani or Ayurveda. We increase the number of qualified technicians and set quality benchmarks which improves the benefits to the existing owner of the space as well,” explains Arun.
The checklist that Jeevanti ticks before taking over a facility includes: the town where it is located, the facility should have at least 50 beds, it should be self sustaining, the location should have a population of at least two lakh people, the facility should be located on an owned plot of land, either commercial/residential, the sellers should also be owners of the property and Jeevanti should be able to take over the place completely.
Certain doctors at Jeevanti work full time, while others are visiting practitioners. Arun admits visiting doctors come at a price but says it doesn’t make sense to have the hospitals full-staffed if there are not many patients visiting. Existing doctors who have been working in the hospital are also retained after Jeevanti’s takeover. The administrative team in each hospital comprises of doctors who have also studied hospital management.
Jeevanti does a lot of local activation once it takes over a particular hospital. “We always do a launch event of the hospitals we have taken over and that helps create the buzz we want in the locality. We regularly invite local celebrities or leaders to the event so as to create more buzz around it. In terms of mass media, we rely on outdoors for communication,” says Arun.
As part of continued engagement, Jeevanti also conducts many local camps across areas like orthopedics, gynecology and more. Community outreach prorgrammes, health checkups for local institutions and housing societies are also done on a regular basis. “The events we conduct are sometimes about simple things like hygiene, benefits of washing hands, gastro problems and so on. We rely on volunteers as well as staff who are willing to put in the extra time to do these activations,” explains Arun.
He says Jeevanti is very stringent about the standard operating procedures that they have devised and are very strict about complete compliance with those. Costing of services at every facility is done relative to what it is in the market, and also salaries given are as per normal standards. Jeevanti looks at breaking even within 18 months from takeover.
For Jeevanti to be termed a successful chain is still a long way, but the demand in small cities for quality healthcare presents the venture with many opportunities. For now the Jeevanti team is only focusing on Maharashtra and Gujarat, before it can spread its wings.