Ameera Shah, Managing Director and CEO of Metropolis Healthcare Limited, in an interview with Business Today talks about the exit of promoter G.S.K. Velu to private equity giant Carlyle Group and what are the company's future plans.
Q. Metropolis has seen major changes in ownership structure this year. How do you think this will impact the company?
Shah: Hugely. We have done two deals this year, one is me buying Warburg Pincus 's stake and second was G.S.K. Velu exiting to Carlyle (30 per cent). So a very clean shareholding structure has landed up out of this. Now as the promoters, we own majority and Carlyle Group as a private equity is there to support us, believe in us. This sets the tone for a new chapter for Metropolis, where there is no disparity on how things will move forward. We are going to see Metropolis 2.0 in a much more aggressive manner.
Q. G.S.K. Velu a founder of the company had been with Metropolis since its inception. So why did he move out?
Shah: That you will have to ask him. But he has been in this industry for 13 years now and was keen to start his fund, so I am assuming that's the motivation.
Q. Going forward, what are your plans for the company?
Shah: We are leaders in Western and South India, we are number three in North and going more aggressive in Northern India with a goal to gain more market share. We are also expanding heavily in Africa. North is our fastest growing market now. Because we were late movers in North India, there is a lot of expansion to be done. We will also continue to focus on the African market in which we were the first entrants.
Q. How do you plan to overtake Dr Lal PathLabs and SRL Diagnostics?
Shah: We don't, we are not in the number game. To me number 1, 2 or 3 means respect. Today in North India no doctor will reject our report but there is not an open recognition of the brand, so for me number 1 or 2 or 3 means that. For us profitability is important.
Q. Is it harder for a woman entrepreneur to establish herself than a professional?
Shah: I wouldn't know, because my journey has been of an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you have no brand, no path to follow and you have to get people to believe in you, not in your company.
And you don't have a network of men, which is the biggest support male counterparts have. They have an uncle who is willing to invest in their business, they have an uncle who is willing to give them the first order. But as a woman entrepreneur your uncle is never willing to be your first customer. In the entrepreneurial space for women there are no resources, no mentors, no advisors, no people to help you step by step, no funding.
Q. What can be done to encourage more women entrepreneurs in India?
Shah: They need four-five things. They need the chance to dream and that depends a lot on her family. Second is training and skills - the right education, the right experience. Third thing they need people who put money on the table and say I believe in you. Fourth thing that is required is mentoring, because there are very few people who you can call when you get in trouble. And last and very important thing you need is emotional support. There are going to be many negative pressures, so you need people who can support you and push you to excel.
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