Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

How PharmEasy disrupted the brick and mortar industry through differentiated offerings

PharmEasy has scaled its operations at a rapid pace in a short time. By relying on platforms such as Meta it has expanded its reach across India

Published: Aug 5, 2022 01:44:09 PM IST
Updated: Aug 5, 2022 02:32:16 PM IST

How PharmEasy disrupted the brick and mortar industry through differentiated offeringsPharmEasy’s main challenges included rapid expansion and spreading the word among millions of Indians to inspire trust and get sign-ups. Meta Technologies assisted the outfit in casting a wide web and increasing its reach in quick time while being a solid partner throughout the unicorn’s journey.

“What started as a college project is today one of India’s largest digital healthcare ecosystems”, says Siddharth Shah, the Chief Executive Officer of API Holdings, which owns the PharmEasy platform, among India’s leading healthcare aggregators and a one-stop destination for medicines, lab tests and healthcare products.

Pharmeasy was born in 2014 with the objective of making healthcare accessible in India. When clothes, phones, furniture and even food pivoted from offline to online, it was ironic that consumers would have to rely on the local chemist for their medicines, a rather basic need. It was common for people to go from one outlet to another if the prescribed drugs were out of stock.

PharmEasy spotted an opportunity. With smartphones becoming ubiquitous and broadband rates ever-falling, it began selling medicines online at affordable rates to a ready customer base. However, it had to ramp up its operations quickly by overcoming two key barriers: instilling trust and improving adoption. “We knew that it was only a matter of time before the category would get cluttered and others would follow our lead,” says Mr. Shah.

It wasn’t easy. Not only did PharmEasy have to serve every habitable pin code, but it also had to spread the word such that every diversified target group would discover its services. “We had to build a brand and get people to believe in us, and I think that is where Meta Technologies came into the picture”, adds Mr. Shah.

“Platforms like Facebook played a crucial role in driving scale and performance at a razor-fast speed for us,” reckons Mr. Shah. Soon, PharmEasy was serving over 18,000 zip codes across the length and breadth of the country, including the boondocks.

“In fact, we reached over 105 million Indians in just one year. We have almost doubled our inputs on the platform driving new user growth, user retention and app downloads. Once you become a unicorn, it might seem like an overnight success. We have come a long way since we started, and Meta has been our constant partner along the journey. It’s helped us engage with customers, help them discover us and till today continues to be a crucial link between us, our customers and our platform”, says Mr. Shah while signing off.

About API Holdings:

API Group is one of India’s largest digital healthcare platforms (based on GMV of products and services sold for the year ended March 31, 2021) according to the RedSeer Report which operates an integrated, end-to-end business solving the healthcare needs of consumers through technology and fulfilment capabilities.

*Note: The PharmEasy Platform has been licensed to Axelia, which operates the PharmEasy marketplace. API Holdings holds a 19.99% stake in Aarman, which is the holding company of Axelia.


“API Holdings Limited is proposing, subject to receipt of requisite approvals, market conditions and other considerations, to make an initial public offer of its equity shares and has filed a draft red herring prospectus (“DRHP”) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”). The DRHP is available on the website of the SEBI at as well as on the websites of the book running lead managers, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Limited, Morgan Stanley India Company Private Limited, BofA Securities India Limited, Citigroup Global Markets India Private Limited and JM Financial Limited at,,,, and respectively, and the websites of the stock exchange(s) at and, respectively. Any potential investor should note that investment in equity shares involves a high degree of risk and for details relating to such risk, see "Risk Factors" of the RHP, when available. Potential investors should not rely on the DRHP for any investment decision.”

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