Mumbai-based healthtech startup PharmEasy has raised $5.5 Mn (INR 40 Cr) in a venture debt funding round from Mumbai-based InnoVen Capital. This round comes quick on the heels of a $30 Mn Series C equity funding round raised by PharmEasy in March 2018.
“The current funding is part of our working capital requirement and it will be used for strengthening inventory, developing the warehouse across the country and also receive better customer experience,” said co-founder Dhaval Shah,
PharmEasy operates on a full stack model whereby it claims to procure medicines directly from the manufacturers and deliver it to the customers. It is an integrated platform and aims to be a one-stop shop for all healthcare need of consumers amid other notable players in this space such as 1mg and Portea Medical, among others.
The company was co-founded by Dharmil Sheth and Dr Dhaval Shah in 2015. It currently offers a range of services, including medicine delivery, teleconsultation, sample collection for diagnostic tests, as well as a subscription-based service, which is currently live in a few cities.
According to a May 2018 report entitled ‘India Epharmacy Market Opportunity Outlook 2024’, currently, the epharmacy market potential is worth over $1 Bn with more than 30 startups assisting the growth of this segment in various regions of India.
The Indian epharma market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of over 20% and is expected to cross the $3 Bn mark by 2024. However, India has about 850K independent pharmacy retail stores that can meet only 60% of the total domestic therapeutic demand.
While speaking with Inc42, Shah also said that the recent update on the epharma guidelines is a great step by the government. According to the new draft rules laid out by the government in August 2018, it will be mandatory for epharma startups to store all their data locally.
“For the first time, we are seeing that digital prescriptions are getting recognition. Till now, any prescription received over any digital firm was not recognised but now we know that it is a legitimate prescription. So this will open up the doors for digital healthcare across the country,” he added.
PharmEasy claimed that as of March 2018 it had expanded its presence to 700 cities and 2,000 pin codes in India, and had over 150 partner vendors. The startup has a network of 100 offline retailers and various licensed pharmacies to deliver medicines free of charge on submission of a valid prescription.
It is also working on eradicating fake medicines from the system. As Sheth pointed out in a 2017 media interview, fake medicines contribute to 30% of drug volume in India.
Going ahead, things are looking up for online pharmacies with the epharmacy guidelines in place. With PharmEasy’s bucket filled with cash, to what extent the company is able to scale its existing infrastructure will be interesting to watch.