1mg, the online pharma company, on Wednesday announced that it has raised an additional funding of $15 million. The funding round was led by HBM Healthcare Investments. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Maverick, and Kae Capital also participated in this round of funding.
HBM had made its first investment in 1mg in May last year as part of a top-up round following the Series B financing that was led by Maverick Capital Ventures.
Prashant Tandon, Co-founder and CEO, 1mg, says that with this round of additional funds, the team intends to further expand their pharmacy and diagnostic services nationwide. He added that the financial growth will be a key aspect of this expansion plan. The total amount of funding raised by 1mg is now at $37 million. Prashant said,
Over the years, we have gathered significant amount of data and we are looking to build a deep-data and analytics backend infrastructure. The focus will be on integrating machine learning and AI in the healthcare segment. There is a move towards making healthcare more preventive and personalised, and AI will help in the same.
The team also wants to use these additional funds in building new lines of business, largely with corporates, insurance, and pharma companies. The team is looking at corporate wellness offerings for their workforce, outpatients’ insurance facilitation for insurance companies, and patient support and adherence programmes with pharma companies.
Andreas Wicki, CEO of HBM Healthcare Investments, adds that 1mg was HBM's first investment in a digital health platform in India and presently the team at HBM finds the prospects of the company bright given the tremendous progress across all dimensions over the last year.
He added that HBM has decided to lead the current round and double up on its investment in 1mg, pre-empting any need for the company to seek external capital while keeping the focus on continued growth.
In a press statement, he said, "As a specialised healthcare investor, we have been monitoring the interesting impact that technology now has in the space of healthcare delivery. In our view, 1mg has created a unique platform in one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and this platform can be the foundation of India’s leading healthcare services business in the years ahead. All companies in the healthcare domain are looking for innovative platforms to partner with to connect better with their consumers—very few platforms have managed to achieve the consumer engagement at a scale like 1mg has done."
The healthcare ecosystem is going through a rapid change. However, there still has been an online and an offline tussle. In May this year, the offline pharmacies had gone on strike against online pharmacies to speak up against the e-portal as mandated by the government. They also wanted to have their views on the central drug act amendment, where the government has mandated the presence of pharmacies in all stores, taken into consideration.
And this tussle has been on since online pharmacies grew across the country in late 2015 and early 2016. Prashant, however, believes that over the several years there has been little technology shift that the healthcare ecosystem has seen, but now there are several players who are bringing in the much needed technological change in the healthcare space.
We are at the cusp of a massive change. Data-based and technology-based healthcare today is coming of age. I think the next year is going be exciting and the year of healthcare.
Agreeing to this, Matthew Kinsella, Partner at Maverick, added that digital health is coming of age globally and 1mg is leading the charge in India.
In January, Practo, the doctor consultation platform also raised an additional $55 million in Series D funding led by Tencent. And later in April, Practo also rebranded itself as a complete healthcare platform that focuses on appointments, consultations, health records, and insurance. A Sequoia-backed company, Practo, also ventured into the online pharmacy space late last year.