A laparoscopic surgeon, a pharmacy businessman from an old Maratha family, and a former Ibibo employee started a med-tech startup in September 2015. In six months, the company expanded to five more Tier-2 cities processing 6,000 orders.
Gwalior-based Med-x is a medicine-delivery startup that delivers medicines on the same day (if ordered before 2 pm). It takes orders not only online, but also over phone. The company helps you in fetching medicines that may not always be available at the nearest medical. It is particularly beneficial for ailing senior citizens living alone or those depended on other family members for their pills. Med-x also offers convenient booking of diagnostic tests. The team collects the samples from the customers’ homes and reports are delivered at their doorsteps on a discounted price from reputed labs in the city.
“Medicines can be expensive. We have tried to build efficiencies in our supply chain to ensure that the cost of purchasing and delivering the medicines remains low. Currently, we are giving away a 15 per cent discount on all medicines to our customers,” informs Vishay Gupta, 36, Co-founder of Med-x.
Med-x also delivers non-prescription products that are often available with the chemists, such as soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, cosmetics, diapers, health supplements. “Since we have tied up with chemists for our purchase, we deliver these products along with medicines at five per cent discount,” says Dr Abhinav Sharma, 36, Co-founder of Med-x.
Healthcare sector and competition
“The healthcare industry in India is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. But if we contextualise this, medicines in India is a huge market with retail sales of more than Rs 10 crore in a town with population of about 20 lakh people. In addition, since we have phone orders too, we can easily cater to the population that doesn’t use smart phones,” says 33-year-old Indroji Rao Kadam, Co-founder of Med-x.
However, medicine delivery is not a new concept anymore. “There’s 1mg.com that is a purely online medicine delivery application for NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Agra, Indore, Bhopal, and Bengaluru. There’s Netmeds that has a warehousing model and delivers in three to seven days from Chennai. However, our biggest competitors will always be the local chemists who also provide home delivery. But since they are restricted to specific areas and their delivery depends on the availability of the delivery guy, we still have an edge,” adds Indroji.
Presently, Med-x has 2,500 customers and processed 6,000 orders with more than 50 per cent repeat orders. “We had about 2.5 orders per customer on an average in just six months, which is a testimony to our service. We add one new centre each month. Apart from Gwalior, we now have presence in Indore, Bhopal, Jammu, Jalandhar, and Lucknow,” says Vishay.
They have a simple revenue sharing model. “We have tied up with chemists in each city and we get a percentage of commission on each order from the chemists on the basis of sale value. For diagnostics, we get commission per order,” says Abhinav.
When Gwalior’s pain and pride inspired founders
Indroji is a Scindia School alumnus who hails from one of the oldest Maratha families in Gwalior. A law graduate from Symbiosis Pune, Indroji is the director of Sumi Life Care – a Pharma CFA and distribution company. He wanted to put Gwalior on the startup map, but didn’t have like-minded partners. Meanwhile, another Symbiosis (SIBM) alumnus Vishay was bored with his corporate job and had joined Ibibo Group as a director of marketing to learn the tricks of trade in an e-commerce startup. Through a common friend, he met Abhinav who has been a practising laparoscopic surgeon since January 2008. Abhinav was already working on a hospital app then, and the two were soon convinced about Med-x. And who could have helped them better than someone in the pharma business – Indroji who was Abhinav’s schoolmate!
While Vishay and Abhinav are fans of sportsmen Michael Hussey and Rafael Nadal, respectively, Indroji is a follower of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji. “Chhatrapati Shivaji was not only brave but also intuitive and often found unique ways to get out of difficult situations. Similarly, we can deal with customers intelligently by keeping them informed at all points, especially in case of delays and non-availability. Then our customers understand and become flexible,” shares Indroji.
“We realised mass marketing gives you a temporary spike. Only regular engagement and interaction with customers helps in the long term. If all goes well, we may also add doctor visits as a service,” says Vishay. Med-x intends to keep focussed on Tier-2 cities and plans to reach 20 cities by June 2016 and 40 cities by March 2017. As for the uniqueness of the concept, Abhinav shares his favourite quote – Entrepreneurs needn’t be the first. They just need to be better!
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