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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  Practo to partner insurance, pharma firms to grow business

Practo to partner insurance, pharma firms to grow business

Practo claims to have more than doubled the number of patients visiting the platform in 2016 as against the previous year

Practo co-founder and CEO Shashank N.D. Photo: Hemant Mishra/MintPremium
Practo co-founder and CEO Shashank N.D. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Healthcare start-up Practo Technologies Pvt. Ltd will partner with insurance firms, medical device makers and pharmaceutical companies to expand business and create new revenue channels, said a senior company executive.

The company aims to develop a platform with multiple stakeholders on board that will not only facilitate real-time exchange of information and health records between patients and healthcare providers, but also help businesses such as insurance firms, medical device makers and pharma companies expand their user base as well as gain intelligence on consumer behaviour by leveraging Practo’s consumer traction.

Practo claims to have more than doubled the number of patients visiting the platform in 2016 as against the year ago period, apart from an 81% increase in appointments booked and 60% growth in number of enterprise customers.

Practo will launch insurance in the coming weeks.

“One of the new aspects we want to incorporate this year is payers, i.e., insurance companies, the government and corporates, people who essentially pay for medical expenses. Insurance has been the most significant movement we have made so far. We have been evaluating options with pharma companies and medical devices firms. These are in the longer term but that is where we tend to move towards," Shashank N.D, co-founder and chief executive at Practo said in an interview.

“Medical devices would be able to share data with doctors and the doctors can provide you with insights based on the data. This way, healthcare will become more real-time and hence more preventive. These are possible today because (of) Internet-of-things driven medical devices, which can transfer data anywhere, anytime," he said.

Similarly, pharma companies can collate feedback on drugs manufactured by them through feedback from doctors on Practo, apart from gaining insights into demand and efficacy of their distribution networks, Shashank added.

Currently, Practo allows consumers to search for doctors and diagnostic labs, book appointments, consult doctors online and order medicines. The company earns revenue from a suite of software for doctors, clinics, hospitals and diagnostics labs on a software-as-a-service model apart from letting institutions advertise on its platform.

“Of course, the platform will create newer revenue engines in the long term. Advertising and global are the short and medium-term revenue drivers but the platform is a strategic step in the long run," Shashank said.

Apart from India, Practo operates in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil. The company claims to have witnessed a 129% growth in appointment bookings in international markets in 2016 as against 2015.

In the year ended 31 March 2016, Practo clocked revenue of Rs165.14 crore as against Rs29.73 crore a year earlier. Net sales stood at Rs156 crore. Losses widened to Rs64.61 crore from Rs12.85 crore a year earlier, according to documents available with the Registrar of Companies.

About Rs133 crore of sales came from Practo Pte, the Singapore-based company that holds about 93% stake in Practo Technologies, for providing “software development and support services", as against Rs23 crore a year earlier. This implies that actual business revenue grew four times to Rs23 crore as against Rs6 crore in FY15.

Even as Practo gears up to roll out new verticals, the company has undergone a rebranding exercise and revamped its mobile application for both consumers and businesses. Developed by New York-based graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the new brand identity, which comes with the tag line “your home for health" is purported to reflect Practo’s expansion into new verticals and intent to evolve into a coveted destination for patients as well as healthcare providers.

Practo has raised $179 million since its inception in 2008 from investors such as Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Google Capital among others, making it by far the most well-funded home- grown healthcare start-up.

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Published: 05 Apr 2017, 01:18 AM IST
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