Ram N. Kumar, Abhishek Gupta and Shrey Jain. A graduate in Computer Science from Sikkim Manipal University, Kumar used to run a digitech firm called Marketech before launching NirogStreet (registered as Hi Nirog Healthtech). Gupta, Founder of Brahm Ayurved (NirogStreet acqui-hired it), and Jain, an investment analyst at a start-up studio called Technology 9 Labs, joined as Co-founders in 2018.
2) The Trigger
Kumar experienced the power of ayurveda when he contracted Hepatitis C and recovered fully, thanks to ayurvedic treatment. At the time, he was wondering why ayurveda had not been included in mainstream medical care. He understood from his doctor that patients do not trust ayurvedic doctors and the medicines they recommend. "As I had benefited immensely from ayurveda, I decided to bridge this trust gap."
3) How It Works
NirogStreet is a digital platform where ayurvedic doctors can connect to share their knowledge and discuss treatment methods in real time (registration is free). Besides helping them with customer management, the company also runs a supply chain of ayurvedic medicines and sells those on its e-commerce site, thus providing easy access to traditional drugs. Legally, ayurveda doctors are eligible to own pharmacies, but they can sell medicines only to their patients. Due to limited opportunities, they cannot buy drugs in bulk from big, multibrand manufacturers and procure small amounts from sub-standard local suppliers. "We sell the doctors quality medicines as per their requirement," says Kumar. For this purpose, NirogStreet has tied up with 20 manufacturers such as Ayurchem, Kerala Ayurveda, Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Innoveda, Shree Dhootapapeshwar and Arya Vaidyashala Kottakal. The start-up currently operates in north and western India and has three warehouses in New Delhi, Varanasi and Kolhapur.
The company also certifies ayurvedic clinics for adhering to quality standards. Doctors running these clinics must hold a bachelor's degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery and should be practising for at least three years. "We have developed a patient charter that they need to sign. It involves issuing digital receipts, maintaining online records of prescriptions and selling quality medicines," says Kumar. Its digital platform also helps patients search for doctors in their locality.
4) The Way Ahead
The start-up had as few as 15 doctors on the platform in May 2017 and the number rose to 100 by January 2018. As of now, only 200 clinics on the platform are NirogStreet-certified. Kumar aims to have 3,00,000 doctors on its platform in the next two years. He is also looking to raise $1.5 million by December 2019.