For Neeraj Joshi (43), Jayant Kaduskar (44), Manish Bandil (44) and Cherag Mehta (43), colleagues at Infosys, lunch hours came to be synonymous with startup talk. For these keen observers of the ecosystem, the cafeteria became the venue for many a conversation on its growth and the related opportunities.
There came a point when the group progressed from talking about startups to thinking about launching one of their own. Neeraj and Cherag had over 15 years of experience in the US healthcare space, and the other two, Jeyant and Manish, had expertise in technology and operations, respectively.
In August 2015, the team of four registered a company called ThingsMeet Solutions, a platform for leveraging cloud, mobile, and internet of things. The team describes their solutions as being able to “expand access to care, enhance quality, and improve health outcomes.”
Nine months later, in May 2016, ThingsMeet Solutions launched its first healthcare app called Prescribez, a consumer-centric health service aggregator. In July 2016, Prescribez Doc, a doctor-centric platform that provides doctors easy access to patients’ details and their health records anytime, anywhere, making remote support a reality, was launched.
“By bringing them on one platform, Prescribez makes collaboration between consumers and service providers like doctors, labs, and pharmacies easy, whereas the strong communication backbone of Prescribez Doc will help doctors to communicate very easily with patients, leading to higher patient satisfaction and better patient experience, which eventually will lead to practice growth,” says Neeraj, CEO and Co-founder, ThingsMeet Solutions.
Inside the apps
The Prescribez app offers consumers services in three categories — doctors, pharmacies, and wellness.
The platform allows users to search for doctors and clinics and book appointments online. It also allows users to order medicines online. Under the wellness category, users can order OTC and wellness products.
Prescribez Doc, the app dedicated to doctors, offers a dashboard that gives easy access to patients’ details and their health records.
Besides, it also offers services like information on the nearest blood banks, hospitals, and ambulance services.
Focusing on growth
Starting from a house in Pune with a team of eight people (four founders and four employees), attracting talent was initially challenging.
“Leveraging team connects and using multiple strategies to expand the team has yielded results, with the team close to being completely staffed across functions, IT, marketing and sales, and business operations,” says Neeraj.
ThingsMeet Solutions was bootstrapped till June 2016 , when angel investment of $145,000 came in from Ankush Mehta, an angel investor. The funds were utilised predominantly in growing the team to its current size of 20, developing the product, and on marketing and sales activities.
Today, the platform claims to have over 1,000 doctors on board, with more than 7,500 patients using the service.
Although the services are presently restricted to Pune, expansion to Mumbai is in the pipeline. The team is also looking to have a presence in a total of eight major Indian cities by 2018.
Talking about revenue, Neeraj says it will be generated from doctors’ subscriptions, lead generations, consumer services, and data analytics and reports.
Players exploit market opportunity
According to a report released by India Brand Equity, the market size of the health sector in the country, which was estimated to be $75 billion during 2012–13, is projected to reach $280 billion by 2020.
Tencent-backed Practo is among the leading players in this space, having acquired multiple startups such as FitHo, Genii, and Qikwell. Practo has also entered the online medicine ordering segment. Accel-backed Portea and Tiger-backed Lybrate are other established players.
Besides, the e-pharmacy space is already crowded with players like Netmeds, mChemist, Medd, DeliMedi, CareOnGo, and MediDali.
Besides patient-centric startups, some doctor-centric platforms have also come up. Curofy and Buzz4Health, medical networking apps that power communication between doctors, are other solution providers in this area.