Flipkart in talks for its second e-pharma deal

Flipkart had entered healthcare by purchasing SastaSundar.com in 2021.   (Photo: Mint)
Flipkart had entered healthcare by purchasing SastaSundar.com in 2021. (Photo: Mint)

Summary

  • E-retailer in talks to invest in Bengaluru-based Pharmallama
  • Flipkart may even acqui-hire the startup run by Mera Dawai Pvt. Ltd

NEW DELHI : Walmart-owned online retailer Flipkart is in talks to acquire a stake in Bengaluru-based Pharmallama, two people aware of the matter said, in what would be its second such deal in the Indian online pharmacy market.

Flipkart may even acqui-hire the startup, run by Mera Dawai Pvt. Ltd, besides gaining access to technologies of the platform, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Pharmallama claims to handle pre-sorting of drug prescriptions, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and vitamins into personalized packets, organized by date and time.

Further details of the transaction couldn’t be immediately ascertained. Email queries sent to Flipkart and Pharmallama remained unanswered till press time.

Pharmallama was launched in June 2020 by Achintya Dayal, Arjun Raghunandan and Deepesh Rajpal. Dayal and Raghunandan also run Kiplist, a travel tech startup building software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools for the hospitality industry. Rajpal has also been founding member of two health-tech platforms in the past, namely MED365 and LifCare.The platform also recently raised capital from ACG Associated Capsules, which claims to be one of the largest suppliers of empty hard pharmaceutical capsules globally. In the online pharmacy space, Pharmallama competes with bigger rivals such as Tata 1mg, Pharmeasy, Reliance-owned Netmeds, Apollo Pharmacy, and Amazon, among others.

The online pharmacy space has been muted in terms of deals in recent months. In August last year, PharmEasy’s parent, API Holdings Ltd, called off its initial public offering, citing market conditions and strategic considerations. Instead it secured debt funding from growth-stage financing platform, EvolutionX Debt Capital. Also, Tata 1mg raised $40 million in a funding round led by its majority shareholder Tata Digital Ltd at a unicorn valuation last year.

Flipkart had also forayed into the healthcare segment by acquiring a majority stake in SastaSundar Marketplace Ltd, that owns and operates SastaSundar.com, in November 2021. The transaction was routed through Flipkart Health Pvt. Ltd.

Flipkart, through its venture capital (VC) arm Flipkart Ventures, had also invested in diabetes management platform BeatO last year along with a clutch of investors.

Last August, the VC arm invested $500,000 each in six ventures. The investment was part of the company’s accelerator programme, Flipkart Leap Ahead, which aims to provide early-stage startups with mentorship and guidance to scale and build disruptive innovations.

Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd, which operates the e-commerce marketplace, had recorded a 31% increase in revenue at 10,659 crore in the financial year ended March 2022. Net loss, however, widened 51% to 4,362 crore during FY22 due to higher transportation, marketing and legal expenses.

Flipkart generates bulk of its revenue from the e-commerce marketplace, advertisement services, collection services and related support services including corporate agent services for insurance firms.

Mint reported last year that Flipkart was considering raising $2-3 billion at a valuation of more than $40 billion to expand its product range in India and challenge rivals. The company had in its last outing secured $3.6 billion in funding in July 2021.

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