"India's Healthcare Needs More Than Just Sympathy, A Technology Shot"
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India’s health care is in a shambles. The substandard health services of the world’s third-largest economy have not only forced a negligent government to become aware of the growing needs, but also prompted several start-ups to pitch in to bring some change.
Dr Kishore Kumar, a professor of neonatal care at one of the leading universities in Australia for 12 years, was consumed by the idea of bringing in a compelling change in the health sector that forced him to leave his job and come to India. To his astonishment, he found no improvement in the standards from what they were 18 years ago, when he left the country to study abroad.
From A Professor To An Entrepreneur
Dr. Kumar’s aim is to provide quality maternity care with the help of high-end technology. During his stay in Australia, Dr Kumar never heard of maternity deaths. But, the situation is grave in India, he said. This has prompted Dr Kumar and his wife to open a chain of high-class maternal care hospitals with state of the art technology. He has claimed to provide healthcare with a level of sophistication, which no other player in the industry can match. The NRI couple opened their first maternity and infant care hospital named ‘Cloudnine’ in Jayanagar near Banglore in 2006.
In a chat with the Entrepreneur India, Dr. Kumar said, “What worried me the most was why would a woman die during childbirth in India at a time when such incidents are unheard of in other European countries? We wanted to reduce the mortality rate and help every baby survive.”
The company, till date, has raised over Rs 550 crore from three giant investors — Matrix Partners, Sequoia and India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) — in three rounds of funding.
Since its inception in 2006, Cloudnine has expanded very fast and currently the chain is consisted of 12 hospitals across five cities — Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Gurgaon. Cloudnine handled over 750 births a month on an average at the time it started with the average expenditure hovering between Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000. M Ramachandra, a real estate professional in Bengaluru, and Rohit M A, an entrepreneur and a computer science graduate who had worked with Intel and SAP partnered Dr Kumar in course of his entrepreneurial journey.
The chain has partnered with 70 hospitals across the country, recently.
‘Healthcare Sector Is Not Like Flipkart’
When asked how he aims to better his business, Dr Kumar stressed, “Healthcare sector is not like Flipkart or any other e-commerce model.”
“The sector in India comprises richest of rich and poorest of poor. In this, the country is a mixture of Europe and Africa. Private facilities make up 80% of the sector here,” he added.
The Mckinsey report revealed that only 50 per cent medical needs of the country were getting fulfilled, he added. Divulging their plans for the next five years, Dr Kumar’s wife Vidya said, “We aim to open 10-15 hospitals in the next few years to explore more segments in healthcare.”
Investment In Neonatal Care And Other Treatments
The company has invested in Transmural Biotech, a Spanish company, for early screening of premature lungs. The hospital will invest in genetic profiling and other technologies for women’s wellness. It will also invest in app-based services. Cloudnine offers a course called ‘Management in Baby Affairs’, reportedly a first of its kind in India.
(Interview by Aashika Jain)