MetroMedi, a Hyderabad-based online pharmacy and e-health store, said it has raised $1.5 million in seed round from TK GP Rao, a high networth individual, who is also the founder of the TMT Group of industries.
The startup told YourStory that it is also in talks with various funds to raise Series A funding to move closer towards fulfilling its vision.
MetroMedi was founded by Dilip C Byra, a serial entrepreneur, who resigned from civil services at the Ministry of Defence to pursue his passion of creating employment and creating an impact in the society.
A serial entrepreneur, he founded Vensoft India Pvt Ltd in 1998, which is into development, consulting, and content writing. During his entrepreneurial journey, he realised the need for quality healthcare, and established Value Pharma Retail in 2010.
In 2018, with the increasing penetration of Reliance Jio, smartphones, and WhatsApp, Dilip started MetroMedi with a mission to deliver 100 percent genuine medicines to the consumers' doorstep. The way MetroMedi works is simple - patients share their prescriptions through WhatsApp, and MetroMedi staff then delivers the medication to them on a recurring cycle.
Dilip C Byra, Founder and CEO, MetroMedi, said,
“We bundle all health related solutions and assist to improve healthcare segment by our health assistants programme, where personalised assistance is given for every 1,000 customers and to create employment as well, along with health insurance and health credit.”
“This is very unique and the only platform where health, technology, and fintech bundles together as a unified health platform using ancient wisdom and modern science together in the fast-growing Indian ecommerce market,” he added.
With Dilip's experience in the pharma retail and strong partnerships with distributors, MetroMedi initially started delivering medicines in Hyderabad. It then expanded to six more cities including Bengaluru, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Guntur, and Rajahmundry - that are a mix of Tier-I, Tier-II, and Tier-III cities. So far, MetroMedi claims to have fulfilled more than 100,000 orders with a 99 percent prescription fill rate.
The company said, apart from delivering medicines, the platform helps patients set a reminder to automatically refill medicines, recommends health foods, and also educates users with health tips.
Dilip said, "Currently, brick and mortar pharmacies are fulfilling only 60 percent of the orders, and most importantly there are 20 percent counterfeit medicines in the Indian market. MetroMedi is delivering genuine medicines and solving the unavailability problem."
On its mission to become a unified health platform, MetroMedi has also started offering diagnostics by partnering with DoctorC.
Manikanta Byra, COO of MetroMedi said,
"As of today, MetroMedi fulfills nearly 1000 orders a day, acquires customers at 75 percent less cost than its competitors, has 60 percent monthly repeat customers and is growing at 25 percent month-on-month."
It has also developed a personal health assistant programme, where a trained health professional is assigned for every 1,000 customers to support their healthcare needs. The startup is now piloting this programme with a select group of customers.
MetroMedi is currently working on a set of complex problems and committed to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable. First, the company wants to offer a wide range of quality nutritional products and expand these offerings to 10 cities in the next ten months. Second, the firm is working on new initiatives to improve the accessibility of healthcare in Tier-III and Tier-IV cities by working with pharmacists and doctors. Third, the team is working with banks and financial institutions to offer health credits and affordable insurance.
According to Google trends 2018, India is searching for ‘online medicine apps’ more than any other country. The Indian healthcare sector is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020, reports IBEF. It is estimated that by 2025, ePharmacy in India may grow up to 30-35 percent of the total size. The company said these factors are in its favour, which has ambitious plans in the healthcare sector.
Other players operating in the space are Practo, 1MG, NetMeds, and Pharmeasy among others.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)