Can Indore-based Med108 do one better than industry leader Practo?Mukti Masih
Aggregators seem to have taken the healthcare industry by storm. What’s refreshing, however, is when these startups emerge from Tier-II cities. Indore-based Med108, a healthcare aggregator, is ready to take on industry leaders.
Med108 was co-founded by Avinash Mahajan, Himanshu Sharma, Alok Kumar, Chetan Pushpad, and Jitendra Sharma in January 2016. Once over a gathering, the co-founders shared about a common need of a medical application that would ease healthcare stress. They eventually ended up making a blueprint of Med108. Apart from the usual startup drills ‑ a personal pain point, a family member and a bunch of startup enthusiasts ‑ Med108 has a few unique offerings.
“A few minutes become the difference between life and death during accidents in cities with busy traffic. So we included ambulance services right in the application, a service available within 15 minutes on Med108. This reduces the turn-around time to save patients,” informs 43-year-old Avinash.
Apart from doctor’s appointment, discounted medicines and door step pathology facilities, Med108 also provides a comprehensive live blood donor list, which updates automatically at the time of sign up. It also provides add-ons such as hospital information, fitness facility, trial booking, etc., all under one platform.
“Diseases transmuted through blood remain an all-time challenge in healthcare. Med108 allows patients to call donors directly and fix appointments. This also accelerates the process and may help in saving people’s lives,” informs 40-year-old Himanshu.
The co-founders faced the usual challenges of onboarding hospitals, pharma companies and other vendors, yet they found the market was ready for disruption. “Our first vendor was Aishwarya Hospital who subscribed along with doctors’ profiles. We were very excited because we started making profits right from our pilot,” adds Himanshu.
And how did they make it? “We totally counted on our efficient development and marketing team, and could reduce the cost of development,” informs 28-year-old Alok. Having developers in the founding team definitely contributes to cutting of costs.
Avinash obtained an MCA degree from Barkatullah University, Bhopal, and has over 19 years of work experience in database administration. Himanshu is a MSc graduate from Ujjain and has almost 18 years of experience is Pharmaceuticals Sales. While Alok is an MCA from Medicaps Institute of Technology Indore and is an iOS specialist, Chetan and Jitendra are both MCAs with experience in Android development.
As per Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India predictions this year, with increased digital adoption, the Indian healthcare market, which is worth $100 billion, is likely to grow at a CAGR of 23 percent to $280 billion by 2020. The healthcare delivery comprising nursing homes, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics centers constitutes 65 percent of the overall market.
“We were happy to learn that the healthcare professionals themselves want disruptive applications for their patients. When we began taking paid subscription fees in March 2016, there was one hospital. By May, we had added more than 80 paid subscribers,” says Chetan.
Med108 follows a subscription model where the subscription fee is paid by doctors, medical stores, path labs, hospitals and fitness centres (gym, spa, cross-functional training centre).
But isn’t this how PRACTO charges? “PRACTO is in the same industry but our application has a few unique facilities. They are concentrating only on subscription charges, but we have revenue model from other sources also like commission on every hospitalisation by our ambulance services, etc.,” shares Jitendra. Some of their other competitors are Portea, Lybrate and Zoctr.
“We have a mechanism to wave off the minimum fee charged to the patient, especially for availing the ambulance facility as our objective is to get the most primary care necessary to save the life of the patient in case of emergencies.,” explains Himanshu. Med108 also charges their customers a fixed nominal charge, which is one of their revenue models.
Expansion Med108 is planning to raise Series A funding and is in talks with various investment firms.
The startup plans to expand to other Tier-II cities within the next six months and to other 45 cities within a year. The platform has more than 2,500 users and 120 paid service providers in just five months. “We are excited that we are in an era where healthcare is open to disruptive technologies. We are ready to topple and get back up and move on. Just as Richard Branson put it - “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over,” says Himanshu.