Delhi-based CareOnGo has raised $300,000 in its seed round of funding, led by Farooq Oomerbhoy, who co-founded Orios Venture Partners, with Raj Mishra of Indea Capital and Vineet Ganesh of Imperial India Investment.
CareOnGo is a mobile chain of co-branded pharmacy stores which allows users to buy medicines from their neighbourhood approved pharmacies. Earlier, the platform was offering service in preventive care segment.
“We will use the fund to expand our services, build technology and create brand awareness. We are building a platform that will bring the fragmented small pharmacies under a single umbrella. On the consumer front, we empower the users to buy medicines on their mobile from their neighbourhood approved pharmacies,” says Ritu Singh, Co-founder of CareOnGo.
She adds that the platform links with the inventory system of its partnered pharmacies and uses data algorithms to analyse varied trends and purchase patterns to provide a highly efficient procurement platform for the micro-pharmacies. Thus by partnering with a large base of these pharmacies, CareOnGo aims to become a centralised source of e-procurement.
Since its launch, the startup claims to have grown at exponential rate and has spread across many cities in India. The funding will be deployed primarily towards increasing the number of co-branded stores to over 150 across the metro cities of Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and for expansion to Mumbai, Chennai and 11 other cities.
On funding Farooq Oomerbhoy says, “I found the company’s approach unique. It decided on leveraging an inefficiency in the market and bring about a great level of streamline transparency and efficiency into an already existing and dominating part of the pharmaceutical sales model. CareOnGo not only will help these already existing pharmacies expand their reach via technology but also will further help them create a more accessible and an on-demand platform for procurement of authentic medicines benefiting the ecosystem as a whole.”
There exists a huge market for retail pharmacy. According to IMS, retail pharmacy was expected to cross $11.5 billion by the end of 2015 end, growing at a rate of 20 per cent year-on-year.
In this enormous market, there are various players that are vying with each other to grab the largest piece of the pie. Startups like 1mgAyush.com, Healthkart, BigChemist, Healthgenie, Healthadda, mChemist and Deemark are some of the few names.
However, with the growth of the online medicine market, many cases of illegal online sale of medicines have also come up. Since then, the platforms dealing in the segment have claimed to be cautious while partnering with medical stores. With timely deliver, they promise to ensure the authenticity of the medicine as well.
According to experts, the pharmacy is still at the nascent stage. The market will also give ample opportunity for players to grow.