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A Promoter First

Meena Ganesh has many business interests but being promoter is the one she cares about most

Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical  Photograph by Reuben Singh Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical Photograph by Reuben Singh

Meena Ganesh wears many hats. She is the CEO and Managing Director of Portea Medical, a company that provides non-hospital healthcare services. At least, that's the most visible of her roles. However, she also holds a number of board positions - at Pfizer, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care, ManipalCigna Health Insurance, and at the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta.

She is also a promoter, a role that cements her position as one of the most powerful women in business today. She has co-promoted well known start-ups such as Big Basket (a unicorn now), Bluestone, HomeLane, and FreshMenu, among others.

Although Meena is a serial investor, she would rather be called a promoter. "The reason why we say we are not investors but promoters is that we have come up with the idea. In some cases, I am also the operating person. In all other cases, we have got a team of people who are co-promoters or co-founders," she says.

Portea, meanwhile, has scaled to 4,000 employees and is present in 16 cities. The firm, which started in 2013, is re-defining home healthcare with services such as chronic disease management, post-operative care, and elderly care. The company, Meena says, is growing at over 50 per cent a year.

She is now busy convincing insurers to design insurance products for outside of hospital care - a challenge she wants to crack. While most insurers agree in theory, they are reluctant to draft a product just yet.

"A patient's needs don't end with the hospital. In many cases, if you do the outside of hospital care better, the hospital spend is much lesser. Post-operative care, if managed well, reduces re-admission rates significantly. If you manage chronic diseases well, the need for surgery and hospitalisation goes down," Meena says.