The year was 2013. Bamasish Paul, 39 and Avishek Mukherjee, 36 were pursuing their MBA at the University of Chicago and working on their final-year project. Being a part of the project (study) group, they created a doctor networking portal.
Prior to this, Avishek was working in healthcare analytics, and had held senior positions with companies like the Mayo Clinic, and Capital BlueCross. Bamasish was working as an investor in AIG Private Equity and Brookfield Equity, where he was handling the real-estate sector.
But why did Bamasish feel the need to make the transition from investor to entrepreneur? He replies:
“I think I was getting way too comfortable in my skin. As an investor, you are just a part of someone’s journey. You’re not creating one for your own. I wanted to create my own journey.”
After the course finished, Bamasish joined AIG Capital while Avishek went on to become the Chief Technology Officer at Genia Technologies. However, the discussions on their entrepreneurial endeavour continued. After a lot of debate, the idea took the form of Healthenablr – a patient-centric healthcare service that was not only affordable but accessible.
Healthenablr is a telemedicine healthcare services company that is on a mission to make healthcare affordable and accessible across the world. The company has developed a proprietary web- and mobile-centric platform that not only assists patients, but also helps doctors handle and schedule their visits.
Divided into two parts, the first – Poc Care – is the patient-facing side of the product that allows general patients book video appointments, see a doctor in person or have a live chat with a doctor. The platform currently allows you to book appointments through their website, Android app or their helpline.
The second – Poc Clinic – is an advanced clinic management SaaS software provided to doctors to help them manage their day better. Its comprises various offerings – BrandEdge, which deals with acquiring more patients, taking appointment requests and checking the doctor’s availability; RecordPro, which helps doctors manage all their patient records on a secure cloud; and Practice360, which helps doctors expand their practice through offering telemedicine visits.
At present, the platform has a little over 3,700 doctors on the network, spread across Kolkata, and more around the the areas surrounding the city as well as in Mumbai where the firm is headquartered. The firm also has a network of five in-house doctors and the founders say this number is certain to grow.
By December 2015, the size of the team had grown to 30 with 16 members in customer support while 12 support sales. At the time of December 2015, By last month the firm was closing almost 15 telemedicine consultations a day. It had already closed in total of 50 video calls as of November 2015.
In terms of revenue, the co-founders tell us that 40 per cent of their revenues are generated from the B2B side of the business, with the basic Poc Clinic model subscription costing Rs 450 and the premium listing of services costing as much as Rs 250 per month.
The focus for the firm clearly seems to be on the B2B side of the business and strengthening their offerings in terms of getting more doctors and specialists on the network before tackling B2C side of the business. In the next three to four months, the firm is also looking at making their specialisation services available 24 *7 to the customers.
According to reports by IBEF and PwC, the healthcare market in India is valued at $100 billion as of 2015. Following YourStory Research, investor interest in healthcare has already heightened with as many as 57 deals made last year amounting to $276.5 million, a huge leap from 2014 where 24 deals were made that amounted to $91.6 million.
The heightened activity, scope of increasing profitability, and strong investor focus has also fostered the entry of several players to the market, making the segment a fairly crowded one. Healthenablr will directly compete with the likes of Practo and Lybrate, which are heavily funded and have a strong footing in the market. Moreover, the segment is getting even more heated up with bigger players like Practo on an acquisition spree with Qikwell and Insta Health to kill competition in their space.
Moreover, starting off with Tier II cities might be a good start for the company as a report from IBEF says that rural India, which matches up to 70 per cent of the population, is set to emerge as a demand source of the future.
Despite the positive indicators, Healthenablr, which is still in its early stages, needs to sort out an innovative strategy to get the market, which is getting increasingly saturated.