[Startup Bharat] How this Jaipur-based B2B ecommerce platform is solving supply-chain challenges faced by pharmacies
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical markets. According to the Indian Economic Survey 2021, India’s domestic pharmaceutical market was estimated at $42 billion in 2021, and is likely to reach $65 billion by 2024.
While the industry is seeing massive growth, it is witnessing many challenges with multiple layers, various stakeholders, and difficulties in supply chain management.
To drive efficiency for everyone in the pharma supply chain, Aastha Dusad, Rohit Bafna, and Rahul Gautam startedin 2019.
Jaipur-based MEDdelivery is a platform-as-a-service for medical shopkeepers that becomes their digital procurement partner by making daily procurements from hyperlocal wholesale markets simple and easy.
“We want to increase accessibility, availability, and affordability of medicines,” says Aastha Dusad, Co-founder and CEO, MEDdelivery.
“Non-metro markets are dominated by locally-run pharma companies, and thus the fragmentation here is dense and a huge gap exists. These locally-run companies operate on a small footprint while having a strong presence in their local areas. Very few companies have PAN India presence while the rest operate locally,” she adds.
The B2B pharma-tech startup is a relationship-based network that facilitates ecommerce buying and selling between pharma retailers and stockists for a catalogue of over one million SKUs coming from 10,000+ different brands.
The initial days
Rohit says, “Our journey started when e-pharmacies were at a very nascent stage and they had a fraction of the market share. It got us thinking that if medicines are emergency products, it cannot take days to deliver them. With the vision to make medicines accessible, available, and affordable to all, we started delivering medicines to patients within an hour of ordering from nearby medical shops.”
The co-founders also witnessed there were high bounce rates due to availability issues in medical shops. Spotting an opportunity in the fragmented supply chain, they pivoted to a B2B model and became a digital procurement partner for pharmacies.
The platform took inspiration from the scratchpad that medical shopkeepers use to manage daily procurements and made this process digital. From making orders and procurements from multiple stockists, to delivery, payments, and credit, everything is made easy, simple, and relatable for the user.
At present, MEDdelivery operates in over eight cities, including Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Indore, Chaksu, and other Tier-III and IV cities in Rajasthan, and works with over 3,000+ retail pharmacies.
MEDdelivery competes with the likes of B2B pharma marketplaces like Retailio, Biddano, and Saveo, among others.
Talking about the USP, Rahul says, “A medical shopkeeper gets 100 percent fulfillment of all products from the hyperlocal wholesale market through our uniquely designed community-driven data support.”
“We offer a complete solution that essentially aligns everyone’s interest in the supply chain. Our strong repeat cohort of over 70 percent supports the claim,” he adds.
The co-founders, who met with each other through their friends, come from diverse backgrounds in tech, operations, and business. Aastha and Rohit have previous domain experience in B2C pharma and also have experience working in the fragmented pharma supply chain.
“That’s how we could identify the gap,” Aastha says.
Rahul has previously worked with tech startup Cognistix, where he built applied AI solutions for supply chain and retail.
“Bringing all our experiences together, we were able to launch MEDdelivery. We have industry veterans supporting us in high level leadership and advisory roles,” says Aastha, who handles business development, growth, and strategic alliances at the startup.
Rohit takes care of operations and finance; and Rahul is behind the tech and product. Today, MEDdelivery has over 100 members in the team.
The business and plans ahead
According to IBEF research, the total medicines traded in India is to the tune of one and a half lakh crore (approximately $20 billion) annually, and over 90 percent is run by standalone pharmacies, while 70 percent is the share of non-metro cities.
MEDdelivery claims that in the last two years, it has seen transactions worth over Rs 40 crore on the platform, with more than 80 percent retreat cohorts.
The startup is running on a subscription model from medical shops at present.
“We are expecting more than Rs 100 crore worth transaction this FY,” Rohit says.
This year, the startup raised around a million dollars in funding from investors like Auxano, LetsVenture, and marquee angels like Vivek Khare, Mohit Satyanand, Arjun Nijhawan, and others. It is looking to raise a Series A round in the future.
As of now, MEDdelivery is managing hyperlocal procurement for pharma brands like Apollo, Dr BLal, and 3,000+ medical shops.
“We aspire to expand to 100+ non-metro cities and make our platform a single channel for daily ordering for medical shops with very huge dependencies, and become a single value chain between pharma companies, stockists, and medical shops,” Rahul adds.
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Edited by Megha Reddy