How 3 friends are making surgery a seamless experience with Pristyn Care
Gurugram-based healthcare startup Pristyn Care aims to simplify the surgery journey by offering care and assistance at every step. It is currently operational across seven metro cities and 35 Tier II and III cities across India.
COVID-19 put the spotlight on India’s broken healthcare system, but three friends had identified the massive gap much earlier.
In 2018, serial entrepreneur Harsimarbir Singh, Dr Vaibhav Kapoor, and Dr Garima Sawhney launched healthcare startupto treat India’s unorganised healthcare sector, with a laser-sharp focus on minimally invasive medical and surgical interventions.
The Gurugram-based healthcare startup, which became India’s 42nd unicorn of 2021, aims to simplify the surgery journey of patients and their families by offering care and assistance at every step.
The end-to-end services include support for diagnostics, consultations, hospital admissions, surgery, insurance and claims processing, post-surgery consultations, and doorstep medicine delivery.
Pristyn Care’s surgical centres are currently functional across seven metro cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata, and 35 Tier II and Tier II cities across India.
The startup operates in more than 12 surgical categories, including general surgery, ophthalmology, ENT, urology, and gynaecology.
In the beginning
Kapoor and Singh, classmates since kindergarten, have known each other for 30 years now. They met Sawhney 15 years ago and the trio became close friends.
Singh always had an entrepreneurial mindset. In early 2010, when the startup culture was nascent, he returned to India after studying at Duke University to start his own business. He founded three companies, but ultimately decided to join Urban Company (formerly UrbanClap) as Head of Business to build their Beauty Services business.
Kapoor, a general surgeon specialising in advanced laser and laparoscopic surgeries, has more than 15 years of experience, including at Max Healthcare and Medanta. Sawhney, a gynecologist with over 15 years of experience, had stints at various leading healthcare organisations.
Both doctors would often talk about India’s broken healthcare system. They wanted to expand their 10x10 feet clinic and create “something meaningful that would serve society at large”.
Having collectively performed more than 10,000 surgeries, Kapoor and Sawhney were bothered by the poor infrastructure, healthcare delivery, and overall patient care.
The a-ha moment came when Singh’s mother underwent surgery in 2017. He faced challenges at every step - from which hospital to choose to filing his insurance claim and post-operative care.
In 2018, the three decided to leave their jobs and bet their life savings on implementing a novel model of elective surgeries, operations that can be “planned” or “scheduled in advance”.
Research showed that patients and families often had to travel considerable distances to undergo such surgeries, which led them to postpone these surgical interventions.
Their idea was simple: to provide high-quality yet affordable services at hospitals closer to a patient's residence.
These surgeries comprise a highly lucrative $50 billion+ market, with over 46 million elective surgeries happening in India annually.
But the going wasn’t easy. “Initially, nobody would take us seriously. The turning point came in 2019 when a few trusted doctors and hospitals started joining us. In three months, we grew Pristyn Care's monthly revenue to Rs 40 lakhs and raised $4 million from Sequoia Capital in just six days,” Singh recalls.
Three years after they started, Pristyn Care became a unicorn, the first secondary surgery care startup to do so.
“Today, we have 400+ in-house super-specialty surgeons who use the most advanced medical technology to treat over 50+ diseases. The fact that drives us is that we have served 1.55 million+ happy patients till now across 42+ cities by partnering with 800+ hospitals and 200+ clinics run by the company,” Singh says.
Revolutionising surgery care in India
Pristyn Care was founded with the intention to provide world-class surgical treatments across India.
Kapoor says they wanted to reach patients not just in metro cities, but also in Tier II and Tier III cities.
As a full-stack healthcare service provider, Pristyn Care now takes care of a patient through the treatment journey, starting from their first OPD, diagnostics, admission, surgery, post-op, IPD, insurance claims, discharge process, and subsequent follow-ups.
The healthcare startup provides treatment in well-established hospitals that are identified and empanelled based on stringent structural and functional audits, including detailed checks on licences, safety measures, and staffing capabilities.
A team of expert surgeons performs surgeries for over 50+ diseases using advanced medical technologies such as laser, laparoscopy, microdebriders, Lasik, etc. The team manages OT slots and rooms in hospitals.
Pristyn Care is optimistic about hitting a Rs 1,000 crore revenue mark by FY24, with better margins and stronger unit economics.
Sawhney, who built the gynaecology division from scratch, has introduced many innovative protocols around pre-OPD and OPD consultations, all focused on educating patients.
The company now has plans to go international and is running multiple pilots. It recently launched dental care and is also expanding IVF, ophthalmology, urology, and hair transplant divisions.