PharmEasy, the Mumbai-based pharma platform, has raised a Series B funding of $16 million in a round led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Orios Venture Partners. This is the second round of funding the healthtech startup has raised. It had last year raised $5 million.
Dharmil Sheth, Co-founder of PharmEasy, says that the three objectives for the utilisation of the new funding would be improving their supply chain, technology, and customer outreach. PharmEasy is operational in seven cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, with over 150 partner vendors. Dharmil says,
“With this fund raise, we plan to grow more into the existing cities – acquire more customers – and provide them with the best of the healthcare delivery services (medicine and home-based diagnostic tests) that are accessible and affordable.”
Technology being the company's backbone, Dharmil adds that they are looking to onboard the best tech talent in the country, which will be building highly impactful products and systems that will shape the future of pharma in India.
Started in 2015 with a vision to deliver genuine medicines at affordable rates by optimising the supply chain and logistics, PharmEasy now claims to be serving more than one lakh families. The team has grown from a small five members working out of one of the co-founders' parents' spare office spaces to a 300 member-strong team spread across seven cities.
Dharmil says that with PharmEasy, they are breaking the age-old purchase mechanism, thus making it important for the product flow to be easy to understand and use. He says,
“We do not process any order without a valid prescription, which is not a practice people are used to, and hence, our product has evolved from a pure transactional flow to now being heavy on educating the customers on the process, which is improving our rejections and cancellations. There were at one point over 35 percent rejections and cancellations, which is now coming down to 25 percent through small but critical tweaks on the product flow.”
An order can now be placed on PharmEasy with just three clicks (down from eight clicks last year), and a re-order can be placed just by one click on the app. In the last financial year, the team claims to have grown a little more than 200 percent, with a run rate of 15 percent month-on-month growth.
Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner, Orios Venture Partners, adds that they felt the last mile in the healthcare space had several gaps and issues that needed to be addressed. He says,
"We wanted to invest in a player that was in this space and managing the retail end. We really liked Dharmil and Dhaval, as Dhaval is a doctor and Dharmil knows the space, and they have done their research in the segment. We liked their passion for the space, and they've put a great team in place."
Rejecting the regulatory grey areas, Dharmil adds that the processing is managed by an offline partner vendor – which is a registered premises obtained license from the state Food & Drug Administration. The store is completely compliant as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.
Also, with the health ministry releasing a note on how they intend to regulate the entire pharmaceutical supply chain – which includes online and offline pharmacies, distributors, CnF agents, and manufacturers – the future for the venture, and the space in general, looks interesting.
Dharmil believes this to be a positive step towards use of technology in the sector, which will help with the removal of spurious drugs from supply chain, prescription misuse, drug abuse, self-medication, and drug recall. He adds,
“The plan is to build an ecosystem using technology to connect patients, pharmacies, diagnostic centres, doctors, and healthcare service providers and allow them to seamlessly interact with each other; to build scalable technologies that will help us connect with as many pharmacies as possible across cities, towns, and villages across the country, and optimise the supply chain by understanding the demand and improving supply capabilities.”
PharmEasy also aims to build personalised interactive features that give a real-time feedback to patients and doctors regarding improvement on body vitals of the patient. This helps in taking more data-driven decisions for deciding on a course of action for fighting the disease.