30 Under 30: How Dhaval Shah and Dharmil Sheth disrupted the drug store model

Published: Feb 17, 2017

Over a decade in financial journalism, I have specialized in covering news that matters to India Inc. and its stakeholders, including developments at India's largest corporations and and MNCs. The subject of my writing has been analysis of strategy, financial performance, M&A and fundraising activity, consumption behaviour and emerging trends in management and leadership. Industry verticals that I have written on include oil & gas, power, infra, metals & mining, auto, telecom, FMCG & retail, and start-ups. I also play the role of an editorial lead for proprietary events like the Forbes India Leadership Award and the Forbes India CEO Dialogues. An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, I have worked for publications such as Mint, The Financial Express and The Indian Express before this.

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Dhaval Shah and Dharmil Sheth | 28, 28

Founders, PharmEasy
Category: Healthcare

The brainchild of two 28-year-olds from Mumbai, PharmEasy has emerged as a leader in the online pharmacy space in less than two years since its launch: The online aggregator of pharmacies supplies medicines to customers at a flat 20 percent discount. It currently fulfils 80,000 orders a month, across seven cities, and has 1 lakh customers using its app-based service.

Expectedly, as they grew the business, Dharmil Sheth (pictured, right) and Dhaval Shah had to counter stiff resistance from brick-and-mortar drug retailers, whose business model they disrupted. But the duo successfully convinced regulators about the validity of the business.

The company has also attracted investments to the tune of $23 million from various investors. Says Vishal Gupta, managing director at Bessemer Venture Partners, the lead investor in PharmEasy: “Dharmil and Dhaval chased me persistently for six months before we invested in them. They have shown maturity beyond their age in handling the complexities of this business, and are also thrifty in the way they manage money.”

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Sheth, an engineer with an MBA degree, is convinced about the immense potential that technology has in the health care space. “Only technology can solve India’s health care challenges and our aim is to make health services accessible and affordable,” he says.

The game plan is much larger. PharmEasy has already extended its services to offering diagnostic services to patients and also on the cards is a tie-up with a hospital to provide access to doctor consultation.

“The health care business is like a circle and you can enter at any point,” says Shah, a doctor with an MBA degree. “We eventually want to be the go-to guys for all health care needs.”

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(This story appears in the 17 February, 2017 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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