- To grow Philippines and Indonesia, two biggest markets after India
- Aims to serve 2bil consumers, with SEA a cornerstone of this vision
BANGALORE-headquartered healthcare startup Practo Technologies is looking to grow its base in South-East Asia, where it already operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
“Our vision is to serve digital healthcare to two billion consumers, and to achieve this, we have to go global and grow the market outside India,” founder and chief executive officer Shashank ND (pic above) told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
India, where it launched in 2008, remains the biggest market for the startup – it operates in 35 cities there, and aims to reach 100 cities by the end of the year.
Given its proximity and huge market potential, the South-East Asian region is a natural choice to expand its business.
“We decide on our markets based on a combination of size, opportunity to make an impact, ease of entry, growth and/ or existing Internet and mobile device penetration,” said Shashank.
“At the same time, we also look at challenges consumers face in terms of healthcare access and ‘information asymmetry’ – that is, consumers not having adequate information about which healthcare practitioner to visit,” he added.
Its modus operandi for entering a market is with its free doctor search directory platform Practo Search, and then the business-to-business Practo Ray solution for doctors and clinics.
The cloud-based Practo Ray enables doctors and clinics to manage patients digitally, and is available in two plans, costing US$15 or US$30 per month.
Additional features such as pediatric and dental electronic medical records (EMRs) are available for an additional US$7.50 per month each.
Practo entered the Philippines with these two products last September year, just a few weeks before it entered Indonesia.
It already has 11,000 doctors on its Practo Search directory in the Philippines.
“The Philippines is our second biggest market after India,” said assistant vice president of marketing Varun Dubey.
“We have grown our user base in Philippines by four times, and appointments booked on the platform by 25 times, since October last year,” he said via email.
Practo currently has 50 staff in its Philippines office and is going to expand that to 150.
“Meanwhile, Indonesia is relatively new yet growing incredibly fast. We foresee that it will be our third biggest market soon,” said Varun.
Currently, it only offers Practo Search in Indonesia, and has managed to get 6,500 doctors on its platform, which is about 75% of the clinics in the Jakarta area.
Varun claimed that the search volume in Indonesia has grown by over 20 times since October last year.
“We have around 20-plus staff in Jakarta to support our operations in Indonesia,” said Shashank.
“However, as we deepen our reach in Indonesia we will continue to strengthen our local team to cover more of the country,” he added, also saying it will launch Practo Ray in Indonesia “very soon.”
In Singapore, its first overseas market, Practo has listed more than 6,000 doctors, which it claimed is about 80% of the country’s clinics and doctors. The number of appointments booked on its platform has grown 3.5 times in the last two quarters, it added.
It also claimed that around one million people have used Practo in Singapore since the service launched there in 2013.
The company also launched in Malaysia last October, and Practo Search has listed 500 doctors in the Kuala Lumpur area.
It is committed to expanding to more cities, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines, its two biggest markets after India.
Practo was founded in 2008, and so far has raised three rounds of funding worth a total of US$124 million. Its latest Series C funding round was led by Tencent in August 2015, at a whopping US$90 million.
Shashank claimed that Practo is the largest healthcare appointment platform in the world, with over 40 million appointments in a year.
Indian business research platform Tofler reported that Practo posted US$4.5 million revenue in 2015, a 13-fold surge from the year before when it recorded US$347,000 in revenue.
Practo recently expanded to Sao Paulo, Brazil, marking its entry into Latin America, with 5,500 doctors already listed on its search directory.
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