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Exclusive: Epharma Startup Medlife Gets $17 Mn Top Up

Exclusive: Epharma Startup Medlife Gets $17 Mn Top Up

Prasid Uno Family Trust has invested in the equity round

Medlife enables delivery of medicines, doctor consultation etc

The company recently acquired MedLabz

Bengaluru-headquartered epharmacy startup, Medlife, has raised INR 118.95 Cr ($17 Mn) in an equity funding round from founder Tushar Kumar’s family trust, Prasid Uno Family Trust.

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings of Medlife International Pvt Ltd accessed by Inc42, the company has issued equity shares in three tranches over the last two months. Here’s the breakdown:

  • February: 13,850 equity shares at a price of INR 14,440 including INR 100 face value per share amounting to INR 19.99 Cr
  • March: 16,620 equity shares at a price of INR 14,440 including INR 100 face value per share amounting to INR 23.99 Cr
  • March: 51,939 equity shares at a price of INR 14,440 including INR 100 face value per share amounting to INR 74.99 Cr

Email queries and phone calls to MedLife founders and representatives didn’t elicit any response till the time of publication. 

Medlife was founded in 2014 by Tushar Kumar and Prashant Singh as an inventory-led epharmacy and helps doctors digitally manage and store patient records. However, it gradually diversified to online doctor consultations, wellness products and laboratory services.

The company began with an initial investment of $15 Mn,  and later received a funding of $30 Mn from family capital and promoters. In effect, MedLife has been a largely self-funded company and has raised funds through Kumar’s family trust. Kumar comes from a family of pharma entrepreneurs and was also involved in the family-run Alkem Laboratories.

Kumar and Singh already run Tulip Lab Pvt. Ltd, a company that manufactures herbal and allopathic medicine products.

Here’s what Medlife enables:

  • Pharmacy to buy medicines online
  • Medlife Labs to book free home sample collection for laboratory tests
  • Doctor Consultation to consult a doctor from home
  • OTC to order healthcare and wellness products
  • Medlife Essentials for herbal supplements.

Medlife’s latest statistics, available on the company’s website claim to offer services to over 23,000 areas across more than 40 cities and clocking in nearly 15,000 deliveries a day. It claims to have enabled consultations for more than 5 Lakh patients through over 1,000 doctors across more than 30 specialities.

The startup has an INR 100 Cr business in the Medlife Labs segment and has processed around 80,000 samples till date. The company has made two acquisitions over the last six months:

  • November 2018: Medlife acquired EClinic24/7’s technology at an undisclosed amount. This technology will be affixed onto the Medlife platform beginning from December 2018. Once this technology is implemented and integrated into Medlife’s platform, customers can get immediate medical assistance like general physician consultation and opt for video or voice call via the Medlife portal.
  • February 2019: Medlife acquired digital healthcare platform and a ‘diagnostics at home’ services company Medlabz. With this acquisition, the company plans to consolidate its diagnostics business by integrating its technology platform and the logistic strengths of both companies.

According to Inc42 DataLabs estimate, there are at present more than 4,800 active healthtech startups in India. In 2018, there was an overall increase of 45.06% in the total investment made in healthtech startups. The number of investment deals witnessed a 40.51% decline from 116 in 2017 to 69 deals in 2018. In all, the healthtech startups raised $504 Mn, as per Inc42 DataLabsfunding report 2018.

Further, last week Inc42 reported that Gurugram-headquartered epharmacy startup 1MG raised INR 314 Cr ($45.4 Mn) in a funding round raised between December 2018 and March 2019. The round has been led by investors including — Corsiol Holding, AG’s subsidiary KWE Beteiligungen, Redwood Global, among others.

1MG’s existing investors — Sequoia Capital, Kae Capital and HBM Healthcare Investments also participated in this round of funding, MCA filings accessed by Inc42 showed.

In terms of epharmacy startups, the bigger trouble started in October 2018, when the Madras High Court announced a ban on the online sale of medicines.

This was followed by a similar ban by the Delhi High Court. However soon after the Madras High Court put a stay on its order while the Delhi High Court’s ban still stands. Due to the conflicting but equal judgements, the legality of epharmacies is still a grey area. The matter is now scheduled for hearing on May 9 in the Delhi High Court. Both courts have directed the central government to make its stand clear on the rules regarding epharmacies and the sale of medicines online in their judgements.

The legal tussle may impact India’s pharmaceutical industry, which was valued at $33 Bn in 2017, and have a major impact on the sector’s growth which is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.4% over 2015–20 to reach $55 Bn.

Update: April 15, 2019| 2:43 PM

In a media statement, Medlife said: “The founders are planning to raise investment of $65 Mn and will seek funding from the family to be used as growth capital.”