1mg IS USING AI TO ACHIEVE SCALE
1mg offers a wide range of medicines, healthcare services such as lab tests, and doctor consultations.
Thanks to the deep penetration of the internet, it has come as a great leveller in bringing the urban and the rural on the same platform in terms of e-commerce, education, healthcare and consumer services.
1mg, an online pharmacy network headquartered in Gurugram, was launched in 2013 as Healthkartplus but later rebranded itself as 1mg.
The mindset of Indian consumer towards the internet and tech is changing majorly in smaller cities and semi urban towns. The Tier 2 cities have seen more rise in start-up and innovation hubs than to any other segment.
The technology has resolved the most significant problem in India by providing access to healthcare, but there is still a long bridge to cross over. As per reports by KPMG, the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), 75 percent of the country’ pharmacies, over 60 percent of hospitals and 80 percent of doctors are currently deployed in urban areas.
With rise in the income of the citizens, the health awareness and easy access to insurance and other financial programs offered by government or non-government sectors have also increased. The IBEF has estimated the Indian Health Market to touch the market of $372 Bn by 2022 and it is evident in the country as plenty of investment have come through this sector.
E-pharmacies ride on e-commerce wave
E pharmacies need not need different market channels and mediums from regular e commerce, grocery delivery and food delivery start-ups. They all share similar logistics, transport and supply chain infrastructure, so culmination of these sectors made the path of e-pharmacies easy to latch onto.
Mr. Gaurav Agarwal, the founder and CTO of 1mg, said that they knew the infrastructure was there, so they looked at it more from a product point of view and focussed more on understanding the needs of the customers by discovering their needs and answering their health-related queries.
1mg focussed purely on building the right product, selection, pricing mechanism, doing this also helped in building their separate identity from parent company Healthkart. The company made sure to form its individual identity by delivering the promised deliverables to the user on time.
As a result, more than 70 million unique patients from all across India have been using this platform for primarily the services. And, over 2.5 billion patients viewed the page for the healthcare content annually, which is an essential aspect of e-pharmacies.
The company reported the annual revenue of INR 39.8 Cr ($5.4 Mn) that is a leap of 223 percent from the last financial year. The company has extensive support of huge investors such as Sequoia Capital, HBM, Omidyar Network and Kae Capital that gives the momentum to expand its reach to cover all the regions of the market, for instance, it can make its service reach to the Tier 3 cities and villages.
The CEO of the company, Prashant Tandon, said the SERIES D would help the company get comprehensive coverage across India in terms of building strong supply chain, logistics, and infrastructure, which would help it establish the unit in other parts of India as well majorly in metro and Tier 1 cities.
To penetrate outside the existing market, the company is bringing more new products like digital doctor and AI powered health bots for which it is investing massively in building a data science team. To solve the issues like accessibility and availability of medicines, 1mg is reinventing its model to find the solutions.
Mr. Gaurav Agarwal, the chief technology officer, said although the size of the team is small, the company has over 12 projects live in the production systems that are run by AI and ML models. The reinvention would help in improving user conversions; with the help of AI streamline delivery and use of logistics would be efficient.
While the business is solely sales driven, it is not just about the numbers. The culture of the company is to provide accountability with empathy to get them face the new challenges. The outlook of the company is fundamentally towards understanding the mathematical models that would help gain the value it needs.
The company shares the strong value system in the organization and does not believe in hierarchy or functional group because it believes with ownership comes accountability, like it is infused in the employees to take the ownership of the company’s responsibility, the employee in the organization does not measure on how much hour they have spent in the office, but on how much they have delivered to the company.
The company in order to get feedback of their products or package design and more does not share any user data to any third party, instead it gives access to the user to conduct the surveys of them.