Tata Digital, the digital services subsidiary of Tata Sons, has announced a majority stake acquisition in Delhi NCR-based epharmacy and telemedicine startup 1MG. The acquisition has been speculated since November last year, when Tata’s super app plans came to light, with 1MG also receiving an investment from Tata. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Tata Digital also acquired online grocery platform BigBasket earlier this year, and the 1MG acquisition follows a $75 Mn investment in health and fitness startup Curefit earlier this week. In April, the Mumbai-headquartered multinational conglomerate infused INR 100 Cr ($13.3 Mn) in 1MG through a venture debt investment. The company was valued at INR 1,770 Cr or $240 Mn in the debt round.
Founded in 2015 by Prashant Tandon, Gaurav Agarwal, and Vikas Chauhan, 1MG offers medicine delivery, health & wellness products, B2B distribution of medicines & other healthcare products, diagnostics services as well as telemedicine services. It operates three diagnostics labs, and claims to have a supply chain covering over 20,000 postal codes.
The Tata Group said it is working to create a digital health ecosystem that combines epharmacy, tele-diagnostics and teleconsultation. Commenting on the 1MG majority stake acquisition, Tata Digital CEO Pratik Pal, said, “The investment in 1MG strengthens Tata’s ability to provide superior customer experience and high quality healthcare products & services in e-pharmacy and e-diagnostics space through a technology led platform.
Over the multiple lockdowns in India, epharmacies have emerged as an essential service leading to the majority of Indians depending on platforms such as 1MG, mfine, Pharmeasy, Practo and others for doctor consultations and medicine deliveries.The clarity around epharmacy and telemedicine regulations brought a massive shift in terms of the consumer mindset. “Patients have started to realise a lot of value in healthtech. Patients now realise that they don’t have to expose themselves to undue risk if healthcare can come directly to them,” 1MG cofounder Tandon told us last year.
In a related development this week, Tata Medical & Diagnostics (Tata MD), the Tata Group’s healthcare and medtech venture, announced the acquisition of AccessBell, a San Francisco-based enterprise solutions startup, in an effort to bolster its telemedicine and remote healthcare services. AccessBell offers customisable, fully-managed video conferencing and teleconferencing services to various sectors, particularly targeting the needs of large enterprises, as well as companies in healthcare and education.
In a LinkedIn post announcing the acquisition, the AccessBell team said, “Tata Medical & Diagnostics group plans to use our software to provide teleconferencing services to deliver healthcare services.”
Besides the healthcare sector, Tata Digital is said to be in talks with hyperlocal services and delivery startup Dunzo for a potential investment and controlling stake. The speculated deal could value Dunzo at $150-200 Mn, but Dunzo has denied the reports, claiming that it had raised funds at a significantly higher valuation in 2020.
Further, Tata Digital was reported to be exploring a strategic partnership with publicly-listed local services and retail aggregator Justdial earlier this year.