Online pharmacy Netmeds has started a fundraising process to raise up to $100 million, as the industry consolidates amid regulatory troubles, said three people, requesting anonymity.
The company has appointed Credit Suisse as the investment banker for the deal, as it scouts for strategic and financial investors, said one of the people cited above. Mint could not independently ascertain the names of potential investors immediately as the fundraising process is still at a fairly early stage.
While Credit Suisse declined to comment, Netmeds did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Netmeds sells prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and personal care products, such as face creams, sanitizers, baby and infant accessories, as well as medical devices and surgical accessories.
Founded by Pradeep Dadha in 2015, it had last raised a $35-million Series C round from Singapore-based Daun Penh Cambodia Group, besides existing investors Sistema Asia Fund and Tanncam Investment, last September. In October 2017, it raised $14 million from Tanncam and Sistema Asia Fund. In October 2015, it had raised a $50-million round led by healthcare-focused investment firm OrbiMed, with participation from boutique investment bank MAPE Advisory Group and Dadha’s family investment fund.
Online pharmacies, including Netmeds, PharmEasy and 1mg, are in the midst of a series of fundraises over the last year or so, amid greater competition and acquisition of smaller firms. The Economic Times reported on Monday that Medlife had acquired Matrix Partners-backed Myra Medicines, which had been in the market for 3-4 months. In March, Netmeds acquired KiViHealth, a clinic management platform providing cloud-based, AI-powered tools for doctor-patient interaction, for an undisclosed amount.
Last December, Delhi and Madras high courts banned online pharmacies, citing lack of regulatory oversight. While the Madras high court since stayed its order, the Delhi high court upheld the ban pending a final decision. Currently, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, has no provisions governing online pharmacies. All this, however, that has not dampened investor interest.