With US $4 million in funding from SAIF & India Quotient, Care24 wants to offer affordable home healthcare at scaleVipin Pathak, founder, Care24
Personal experiences are usually the genesis for many business ideas. It is also how Care24, the Mumbai-based home health care startup, was incorporated in 2014. Vipin Pathak’s parents stay in Patna while he resides in Mumbai. The struggle with their health issues unsettled his routine as he was not around to help them with doctor visits and so on. “Sitting so far away, one is unable to go to their loved ones’ aid all the time. It becomes important to have someone trained to offer medical help to aged people,” explains Pathak. The other joint co-founders of the company, Abhishek Tiwari and Garima Tripathi, also had similar experiences which brought the trio together under the banner, Care24.
Care24 ensures personal affordable healthcare assistance within the comforts of one’s home. It offers skilled and experienced nurses, attendants, caregivers, physiotherapists and wardboys. Its current home care offerings include post-discharge care, bedridden care, chronic pain care, physiotherapy, infant care, pre-natal and post-natal care, everyday medical nursing, long term care and assisted daily living.
The company does not conduct any branding activity, instead, it does guerilla marketing and gets customers mainly through word-of-mouth. It also does digital marketing where it identifies people who will be requiring services at that point of time. Importantly, Care24 invests its time on training and believes this is a key differentiator for the company and the industry.
After the initial launch, the company got a very good response from the market and made headway. Currently, the home healthcare segment is a US $3 billion industry with hardly any standardisation in the ecosystem. “There is a need for more people to come in, join hands and solve the problem,” opines Pathak. However, there are very few players offering the last mile delivery of healthcare and there are a lot of patients waiting for such care. With a team size of around 700 people on ground, Care24 aims to spread its presence pan-India by establishing a presence in each city, going one at a time.
Discovering market potential
Life expectancy has increased notably for the past decade in India. This underlines the need for home health care, especially, for adults and senior citizens. Changing lifestyles and round-the-clock work patterns has led to most homes engaging help to look after the family. However, the unreliability of the same is the story of every one’s life.
Care24 steps in, right there, to fill the void and offer personalised help right at the doorstep. The startup is not just involved in connecting the customers to the right caregivers, but also emphasizes on reliable, transparent and secure service. The core idea is to leverage technology to track the caregivers and enforce a stringent feedback system. This ensures back-to-back integrated best quality services to the customers.
The company has also started a new segment that caters to specific needs like pregnancy care, infant care and also gets into caring for serious ailments. In other words, it is vertically focused and treats for condition specific ailments.
Care24 charges the patients as per the service and takes a commission for its service. It takes 20 per cent as its charges while the rest goes to the caregiver. “We are focused towards caregiver upliftment,” states Pathak. The company is also taking more initiatives to ensure that their quality of life is enhanced by opening a bank account, creating insurance and so on. It also charts out a career path for them and that is what it considers as one of its biggest differentiators when compared to other players in the market.
Making steady progress
From just one transaction in the first month, Care24 started doing 10 to 12 transactions within a short spell of time. The company received US $ 4 million in Series-A funding ( from SAIF Partners with participation from seed investor India Quotient) in September last year when it was servicing 100 patients a day. “Currently, we are doing 500 transactions a day,” states the co-founder. The company aims to use these funds primarily to train, improve technology and invest in people and infrastructure.
Care24 is now present in Mumbai and in the next three months, it aims to expand to Pune and NCR. It will also be launching nursing and physiotherapy services in the next two months.
While the company is treading a linear growth path, the progress has not been without a challenge. As Pathak says, ““The skill level of the care giver is fragmented and no one has thoughts about offering training.” That’s where he feels standardisation of these services will make it closer to a product rather than people dependent services. This apart, the customer perception of the value these care givers offer is also of utmost importance. “They need to understand that it is a healthcare service and not house help that we are providing,” he states.
The company does not conduct any branding activity, instead, it does guerilla marketing and gets customers mainly through word-of-mouth. It also does digital marketing where it identifies people who will be requiring services at that point of time. Importantly, Care24 invests its time in training and believes this is a key differentiator for the company and the industry.
With the help of technology, it plans to enhance its current services and also offer condition specific treatments. “Technology is a strong focus through which we see scale happening,” says Pathak.
The company aims to serve every condition in India at every location and it plans to focus and grow in one city at a time, in the next six months. “In the next three years, we aim to build a strong team and bring in standardisation in this industry,” says Pathak.
Care24 aims to change the way healthcare is delivered in India, making it all the more available, affordable and accessible. With its current expertise and technology set up, it is set to be one of the best destinations to offer one-stop healthcare solutions for patients at home.
Founder: Vipin Pathak
Funds: US $4 million from SAIF and India Quotient
Usage of funds: Hiring, technology and infrastructure
Traction: The firm currently does 500 transactions a day