A medical emergency led this husband-wife duo to start a platform that helps you save half of your hospital expensesAparajita Choudhury
A medical emergency does not arrive alone, but brings with it a trail of troubles jeopardising not just one’s health but the bank balance too. After the first blow of finding out his mother was having breast cancer, Ajay Gandotra discovered another disturbing information: a patented medicine ‘Herceptin’ to be used in chemotherapy sessions for a year would cost them Rs 40-50 lakh.
A Google search unfolded a way to reduce the overall expense to 40 per cent, by procuring the drugs directly from distributors at a discount. Upon realising that other people would be having such astronomical medical expenses too, Ajay and his wife, Nishi Gandotra, launched SaveOnMedicals last June. The vision was to help customers save on medical expenses.
SaveOnMedicals has tied up with Max Hospitals, Park Hospitals, BLK Hospital, SCI Hospital and standalone clinics like Dyslexia Association of India and Anatta Human Varsity to provide doctor consultations over video. Hospitals offer discounts on their doctor consultation charges in the range of 25-50 percent.
Through our asset-light and low operational cost model, we would be able to offer 25 percent discount to the customers on the purchase of medicines, supplements and devices. Moreover, with our network of hospitals, we can help customers save upto 50 percent on surgery costs,” Ajay explains.
SaveOnMedicals offers information on the usage and side effects of medicines, and recommends a list of substitutes along with prices. Since the medicines are procured from authorised distributors, a substantial discount is passed on to customers.
Once we receive the order, our trained pharmacists ensure that everything, including the prescription validity, is in order and then call the customer to confirm the same. Then the order is processed and sent to our suppliers. Once we receive the medicines, we package them and hand them over to our logistics partners, who then deliver it at the customer’s doorstep,” says Nishi.
To avail the video consultation platform, one needs to register on saveonmedicals.com, select a doctor, book an appointment, and make payment. Once an appointment is confirmed, an email/SMS goes to both the patient and the doctor about the scheduled appointment with a video link.
The return to India
Before SaveOnMedicals, Ajay was running the corporate race in MNCs like Standard Chartered, Vodafone, Mashreq Bank and Arab National Bank. When his mother fell ill, he decided to return to India, and eventually arrived at the idea of starting SaveOnMedicals. Nishi was working as an advertising professional with agencies like O&M and RK Swamy.
Ajay (42) has done engineering from NIT, Bhopal and MBA from IRMA, Gujarat, and Nishi (43) did her MBA from IRMA, Gujarat.
SaveOnMedicals has a team of eight people including Ajay and Nishi and is based out of Gurgaon. Of the eight, three manage the design and development of the website and the Android app. The video platform is built on Codex technology. Its backend CRM suite measures customer analytics and helps run marketing promotions.
With one lakh sessions, 500 doctors, 50,000 visitors and 1,000 orders, SaveOnMedicals is growing at a rate of over 30 percent month on month. The revenue comes from the margin on the purchase of medicines, video consultancy and in-patient surgeries.
Having tied up with FedEx, Delhivery and Indiapost, SaveOnMedicals is delivering medicines in over 22,000 pin codes of India. The Android app has had 5,000 downloads since its launch in January this year.
Started with a seed capital of Rs 35 lakh, SaveOnMedicals has achieved revenue of Rs 50 lakh. It is targeting Rs 2.5 crore for this year, and Rs 15 crore for 2017-18.
According to IBEF, the healthcare market in India was worth close to $100 billion as of 2015, and is expected to touch $280 billion by 2020, clocking a CAGR of 22.9 percent. Of the overall market, the healthcare delivery sub-segment accounts for 65 percent.
NetMeds, 1Mg, mChemist and DeliMedi have been ruling the online pharmacy market, while Practo, Lybrate and Portea dominate the doctor consultation space. SaveOnMedicals is trying to capture both markets simultaneously while remaining profitable.
It aims to open 100 SaveOnMedicals centres in Tier II and III cities by tying up with local doctors and taking the franchise route. The centers will act as collection points for medicine deliveries and provide doctor consultations over video. It also hopes to reach 5,000 orders and 1,000 doctors doing 15 consultations per month by the end of this year.