Online healthcare is one of the fastest-emerging sectors in the digital space. The sector has witnessed a series of investments over the past few years, and has gained significant tractions with consumers who are looking for healthcare solutions online.
In an interaction with Business Today, Satkam Divya, co-founder of KlinicApp, talks about what prompted him to start his venture and his focus on profitability. Edited excerpts:
Tell us a bit about your background.
I'm a computer science engineer and did my MBA from IIM Lucknow and graduated in 2004, and since then worked with companies like ICICI Bank and PolicyBazaar, and started my first company in 2007 called RupeeTalk.com. It was an online personal finance venture to compare credit cards, loans and insurance products. Back in 2007, we had tied up with all the banks. I ran that company for three years-from 2007 to 2010-and moved to a Noida-based company (NetAmbit). I was there with that company for about three years. In PolicyBazaar, I was a director heading their mobile business and digital marketing for close to two years. Then I started KlinicApp in Nov 2015.
Where did you get the idea?
It wasn't a straight and easy decision because I had spent about 11 years into personal finance space. A couple of people were seriously ill in my family-my sister and my father-in-law-both had the same kidney ailment. I helped both of them undergo kidney transplant. They were regularly advised blood tests and the experience wasn't good at all. I noticed that when I used to get the tests done at the hospital, the charges were more than double of what a diagnostic brand used to provide at home. As a customer, we were completely clueless about the pricing of the tests. The second issue was that the technician weren't always following the basic service norms like hand sanitisation. Also, their services weren't available round the clock. The reports were not correct and trustworthy, and it was difficult to find all the historical reports at one place.
Technology was very minimally used in the entire process. I went on to the researching mode, and spent a lot of time-more than a year-to understand how the industry functions.
I decided to launch a diagnostic service, which is digitally driven. I was able to offer substantially lower prices and standardised services available on-demand through app or website. I began working on building the core team. I started getting in touch with people I had worked with, and added four more co-founders. The founding team has people from IIM, BITS Pilani, and NIT.
What has been the contribution of each of the co-founder? Does each of you have different expertise and domain knowledge?
All of us had more than 10 years of experience in our individual fields. We never had to outsource any of the activities or tasks. Everything has been done in-house. From technology standpoint, we have got our end-to-end fully functional website and apps having all the required features-from discovery to payment gateway. Along with it, we have also got a backend system in place like logistics app, allocation system, partner integration et al. On the marketing and operations side, we have huge cost efficiency. We have largely run our company profitably so far.
How does the platform works?
We are an e-diagnostic company. We have got our own phlebotomist/technician team who comes and does the blood collection. We have outsourced our lab tests to NABL-certified labs. We do not have any physical presence-through franchisee or otherwise. We simply pass on that cost of about 30-40 per cent to customers.
Do you employ phlebotomists?
Phlebotomists are neither employed by us nor by the third party. We have got them as freelancers. They don't get salary from us. We pay them on per-patient-served basis. We drive them through incentives and customer ratings and feedback.
How many pin codes do cover at the moment?
We are serving in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Delhi. The idea is to get deeper in each of these markets before expanding further.
How do you provide services at a low cost?
Normally what happens is that most of the labs operate through franchisee or trade and hence 30-40 per cent of their revenue goes as a cost (paid as commissions). We do not operate through intermediaries; we are simply 30-40 per cent cheaper anyway. I simply pass it on to my customers.
This whole online healthcare space is getting crowded. There are other apps also who are doing the same thing.
We look at the competition in two separate buckets-one is the entire diagnostic industry and the other is tech aggregator. Most of the bigger players in diagnostic industry source their business physically-through franchisees, hospitals, clinic. We have just online presence, and we do blood sample collection from home only. In the next 10 years, we believe that the market will move online-like we see in other services industry.
What about the other diagnostics apps?
There are definitely a lot of aggregators. But their focus is either medicine or doctor consultation barring one or two of them. They do lab tests more as an attachment, hence value creation for the labs ecosystem is low. Be it pricing or standardisation of services, we are building a standardised healthcare service at affordable pricing unlike aggregators who have simply listed the services available.
There are a lot of other areas beyond blood testing in the diagnostic market; do you plan to tap in those areas as well?
There's radiology and imaging. Right now, we are focused on at-home services. X-Rays have also started happening at home, and we are working on getting it.
What is the next thing on your mind?
In the next 12-18 months, we would like to focus more on the logistics and technology. We are also working on AI-based predictive analytics; also, looking to expand our base of chronic patients.
How much of your total base is chronic patients? Are they big in numbers?
In India, there are 72 million diabetics and 42 million people have thyroid issues. Heart related diseases affect 200 million people and 180 million people are suffering from arthritis. We are targeting customers who are chronic patients as they have recurring need for doing the tests. We also have loyalty coupons for them, which they keep earning on every transaction, and they can use these coupons for future bookings.
Are you also looking at the corporate market?
We have not yet tried the B2B route. The pre-employment check-ups, annual health check-ups and some of insurance companies provide pre-policy check-ups too; we are looking to start it soon.