Based in Delhi, I track developments both in corporate and economy sectors. In a career spanning since 2003, I track developments pertaining to M&A, PE/VC, startups and healthcare. Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express. I am also a guest faculty at The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Dhenkenal) where I deliver part-time lectures to young aspiring journalists and teach them the practical side of reporting and editing. And when not working, I love to travel and spend time with my fawn Labrador.
The series A funding by venture capital firm Matrix Partners in Bengaluru-based startup Myra, that aims to transform the way people buy medicines, highlights risk capital investors’ growing interest in pharmaceutical/health care sector. Founded in 2015 by Faizan Aziz and Anirudh Coontoor, Myra uses cutting-edge technology to enable its customers to get access to medicines at an affordable price from the convenience of their homes.
Aimed at solving persistent issues of high prices and poor availability of medicines at chemist stores, Myra is redesigning the pharmaceutical supply chain to remove multiple layers of middlemen and bring in efficiencies to the medicine distribution business. The startup claims to deliver medicines to customers at their doorstep within an hour of the order.
Matrix, which infused an undisclosed amount in the startup in a seed round, has led the current round of investment with Times Internet. Other entrepreneurs and angels who have invested in Myra include Pranay Chulet, co-founder & CEO of Quikr, Prashant Malik, co-founder & CTO of LimeRoad, Vamsi Duvvuri, associate director of Vy Capital, and Pankaj Gupta, ex-director-product of Twitter, among others.
“Myra is a unique solution of technology and operations that makes buying medicines fast and efficient. Using a data-driven approach, we improve dispatch and delivery times while reducing wastage,” said Anirudh Coontoor, co-founder & CTO of Myra, in a press release issued by the company.
Health care continues to evince PE/VC interest
Even as private equity investments witnessed a downward spiral with investment values reducing by 30 percent year-on-year to $2.1 billion across 190 deals in the January-March period this year as per a Grant Thornton data, there is sustained interest in the health care/pharmaceutical sector which is driven by domestic demand. After all, people can’t stop falling ill and as and when they do, they will always need health care.
Saurabh Arora, co-founder of Lybrate, a mobile health care communication and delivery platform that connects doctors to patients, recently in an interview to Forbes India, had said: “Health care startups have huge potential in the market and can disrupt the way health care is delivered in India,”
According to a KPMG report, the Indian health care sector has grown manifold in recent years to become one of India’s largest sectors contributing to 6 percent of the country’s GDP. Even then, making quality health care accessible to a billion-plus population in a country that accounts for 21 percent of the world’s disease burden, where the doctor patient ratio is as bad as 1:1700, and out-of-pocket expenditure as high as 62 percent of the total health care spending, is definitely a tremendous task. In this respect, there is tremendous scope for startups to come and fill up the gap in the sector.
In the January-March period 2017, as many as seven private equity/venture capital deals were sealed in the pharmaceutical, health care and biotech sector worth $119 million, a Grant Thornton data shows. Although this is lower in terms of investment value when compared to interests in startups, which witnessed investment worth $428 million spread over 118 transactions in the first three months of this year, health care is one sector that will be steady in terms of fund inflow in the future.