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E-health is increasingly attracting the investor community

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The economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many startups to shut businesses and lay off people left, right and centre. But in a seemingly different universe, health tech start-ups are witnessing an upswing in business transactions. DocsApp is one such company. It has attained an average of 60 per cent increase in online consultations across various departments and is expecting higher returns in the coming days. In May, the company raised a series B funding of $9.5 million (Rs 72.5 cr) from Bessemer Venture Partners India, Fusian Capital, Rebright Partners and Milliways Fund LLC, and recently had a merger with MediBuddy. Moreover, during COVID-19, DocsApp has partnered with PhonePe, Shemaroo Entertainment, Lokal Hypermarket, Seniority and many others to provide a free consultation. Satish Kannan, Co-Founder and CEO, MediBuddy DocsApp seems greatly encouraged by his company’s progress. In a chat with Raelene Kambli, he reveals more…

How has your business faring during these COVID times?

Although there were supply chain issues initially with regards to the delivery of medicine and in terms of collection of lab test samples, etc., we have always maintained a strong vendor connection to help deal with such challenging times.

We have seen an increase in people opting for online doctor consultations, with an average of 60 per cent increase in consultations across various departments. At this point, MediBuddy DocsApp caters to the healthcare needs of three crore Indians, attending to the needs of over 25,000 Indians daily across the length and breadth of the country.

How have you kept your employee motivated in these times? Any workforce crunching done so far?

Considering the current situation, where everyone, from CEOs to managers are working from home, our team members have adapted themselves to these challenging times really well. Pets and kids walking by and waving at the camera help us in embracing our human side in these desperate times, coupled with an obsession to help more and more individuals with online consultations, medicine delivery and lab tests that are critical; especially now more than ever.

You seem to have had a number of collaborations in the recent past, how will these strategic partnerships boost your business, especially in this economic downtime?

MediBuddy DocsApp’s vision is to provide high-quality healthcare to all. In the fight against this pandemic, it is extremely important to be able to connect with medical experts and get credible information. At MediBuddy DocsApp, we are focusing our efforts on raising awareness and ensuring the availability of trusted medical advice to help control the spread of the disease and panic.

We have also extended our medical assistance to MyGate, CRED, Zee Digital, PhonePe, Shemaroo Entertainment, Lokal, Seniority etc., and will be working with more partners to reach out to communities, increase awareness and provide only doctor consultation support to their customers.

Moving forward, in times to come, what are the changes that DocsApp will incorporate for better customer services and business viability?

At MediBuddy DocsApp, we worry about customers, their experience and needs. We will continue to focus on the customer. With a customer-first attitude, we will improve our range and quality of service to ensure a great experience for the user.

With a partner network of over 90,000 doctors, 7,000 hospitals, 3,000 diagnostic centres and 2,500 pharmacies covering over 95 per cent of all pin codes, MediBuddy DocsApp will continue to focus on enabling healthcare services like online specialist doctor consultations, lab tests, preventive health checks, delivery of medicines, etc. to customers across India. Our focus is to provide best-in-class, end to-end-services in digital healthcare.

How will you strategically utilise the funds you have recently raised?

We will utilise the funding in further strengthening our doctor base, patient reach and develop our product to move a step closer to its mission of providing high-quality healthcare to billions.

Do you personally feel, this could be a good time to invest in healthcare? What would be the investment scenario in the coming future?

Yes, with tailwinds supporting the industry and e-health becoming the new normal, there is a lot of interest in the investor community. However, at the end of the day, business, health and growth of right metrics will only help onboard investors.

For now, we are well capitalised, our plan is to make it grow and ensure access to high-quality healthcare to all.

What are the new business opportunities that you think can bring a complete transformation to  the healthcare sector here on?

People always resist change. COVID has been a tailwind situation. Like demonetisation was to digital payments, COVID is making an adaption of online health exponentially faster. More people will be open to talking to a doctor online. Entry to healthcare for an individual will start with teleconsultation and then move to physical consultation, labs and others, as required.

How will the coming times encourage or discourage the start-up community within healthcare?

Times are changing rapidly, and we should change accordingly. Start-ups who adapt to it and take decisions/actions faster will grow faster and survive.

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