Having built one of the country’s biggest online fashion brands, Myntra Co-founder Ashutosh Lawania is at the starting line again. This time, it is the healthcare sector that has caught his fancy, and the result - mfine.
He is not alone. His partner in crime is Prasad Kompalli, who was previously chief business officer at Myntra.
On starting up again, Ashustosh seems exhilarated,
“It is great to feel these small milestones of starting up, and the process is always exciting.”
He, though, does jest about the complaints he has been receiving from family about not having time for them.
A possible reason for Ashutosh and Prasad’s exhilaration can also be a validation from investors. App-based on-demand healthcare service mfine on Thursday announced it had raised $4.2 million as a part of its Series A funding in a round led by Prime Venture Partners, along with participation from existing investors, Stellaris Venture Partners.
The company had raised its seed round - of reportedly $1.5 million - in September last year.
The funds raised in the latest round will be utilised to expand the company’s operations to other geographies, including Pune, Delhi-Gurugram, Hyderabad and Chennai. The money will also be utilised in doubling the technology team from 20 members to 40.
Founded in February 2017, mfine started operations in December that year with two healthcare institutions and five to six doctors.
What is mfine?
mfine is an on-demand healthcare service that allows users to consult with doctors from premium healthcare institutions through a video, or a chat. Unlike Practo, which it is constantly compared with, mfine tries to follow a differentiated model where it partners with leading hospitals, rather than aggregating individual doctors on the platform.
Present only in Bengaluru currently, the mfine platform has on board close to 20 centres from 15 brands and hospitals, including names such as Aster, CloudNine and Ovum. The total number of doctors is more than 50.
With nine specialities live on mfine, the platform, till date, has done close to 10,000 consultations, at a run rate of 100 consultations every day.
Speaking about the repeat rate, the founders said the average user makes 1.5 transactions on the platform. They expect this to grow to four consultations in the near future.
According to the founders, gynaecologists, general physicians, paediatricians and dermatologists are the most sought after on the app. Essentially treating it as a hospital on the cloud, mfine’s technology platform helps improve the productivity and access of healthcare institutions. Ashutosh explains,
“mfine helps doctors to be more productive, process more cases in an easy manner with existing data which allows them to better the quality of healthcare provided. At the same time, mfine also helps these healthcare institutions to grow their market penetration by saving cost of physically setting up centers.”
Consumers, through the app, get easy access to their trusted healthcare institutions (or doctors). What’s surprising is that more than 50 percent of the consultations on the platform are from women. Essentially mothers, who seek consultations on behalf of their family.
The age demographic of mfine’s users ranges from 28 years to 35 years.
How it works
Users can get on to the platform and register their family on to the platform. After registering, users can feed in details of their symptoms, and are shown a list of available doctors based on proximity. In case of something serious, the doctors immediately advise the patients to go for a physical checkup.
After selecting a doctor, he or she responds to a patient's queries within 60 seconds. There are some aspects here that are AI driven. Also, a consultation live on the platform is valid for seven days, where a customer can ask numerous doubts and queries.
Refraining from revealing the average ticket size on the platform, the founders state that the cost of one consultation is same as what one would spend in a hospital. The platform takes a part of this consultation fee as commission.
Into the future
Looking at current metrics, the founders are positive they will touch close to 1 lakh consultations by the end of the year. They are looking at close to 250 doctors by then.
The 50-member team has also incorporated Artificial Intelligence-powered elements on to the product, which will show up from time to time. Prasad states,
“Apart from the AI helping doctors to make the diagnostics faster and productive. Based on the prescription, the platform gives medication reminders and exercise reminders.”
This will make a huge part of the mfine's next revenue-generating product, where the platform will provide premium plans for clinical healthcare along with consultations. This could include tracking of food, diet, providing tests, and sample collection from home.
This product is planned for launch in the next six months. Ashutosh adds, “While core product will be built in-house, we will be partnering with other players for services.”
The company, however, plans to keep its business strongly B2C focused, and plans to expand to the top 40 cites of India over time.
Fintech and SaaS-focussed early stage fund Prime Venture Partners admits it was a bit hesitant before investing in the on-demand healthcare space. Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners, said, “When we enter hospitals, we still see people standing in lines. Somewhere, we felt the on-demand healthcare segment was not working out.”
However, when they saw how mfine was simplifying a working professional's life with online consultations they changed their mind. Shripati adds,
“The anywhere and anytime proposition had some promise and we realise this was something different. Especially when we saw that it covered cases from common ailments to specialised things from the brands trusted by the consumers. And, now you have the hospital on the cloud.”
Ritesh Banglani, Partner, Stellaris Venture Partners, said,
“We are pretty excited about what mfine has built so far, both in the product and the provider network. The impressive consumer traction they have achieved in a short time reinforces our belief in this space and mfine's differentiated approach. We are excited to back them in their journey to create large and impactful health-tech business.”
According to IBEF, the online on-demand healthcare market is expected to be around $372 billion by 2022. The market size was around $160 billion last year.
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