mfine's hospital-first growth strategy

mfine hopes to crack the on-demand healthcare space by partnering with hospitals to facilitate one lakh virtual consultations within a year

mfine, an on-demand medical consultation app, is the brainchild of Prasad Kompalli and Ashutosh Lawania. It aims to make “trusted healthcare accessible at your fingertips.” The founders, between them, have more than two decades of experience working in a consumer-facing online business- Myntra. Albeit venturing into a completely different space from an e-commerce apparel site to healthcare, Kompalli says there is a common thread. “Our journey with Myntra was preparation for us to enhance user experience through technology,” he says.

The core team comprises the founders’ former colleagues, Myntra’s Ajit Narayanan and Arjun Chaudhary, and Dr. Jagadish Prasad, Director at Chaitanya Integrated Healthcare and Bengaluru-based Femiint Health. While Narayanan heads technology and Chaudhary oversees the company’s marketing efforts, Dr. Prasad brings with him expertise on the medical front.

Identfying A Differentiating Factor

While there are quiet a few apps which act as aggregators, connecting individual doctors with patients for consultations, (such as Lybrate, OyeHelp, Practo and iCliniq), mfine partners with leading healthcare institutions and hospitals to deliver the same service, and generates revenue by charging a commission for consultations on the platform. “We are the only company building a hospital-first model and this is our core differentiator,” adds Kompalli.  That being said, mfine also has a number of in-house doctors who work with patients, collecting back data through questions. “This strategy helps doctors have a more thorough view of the patient’s medical history,” he notes.

Talking about the company’s client acquisiton strategy, Kompalli indicates that its technology addresses a key pain point for hospitals, hence, approaching them is not a mammoth task. “Usually, the intersection between technology and healthcare is tough to crack. Either hospitals are left in the deep-end trying to figure out how to use technology or there has been matching of individuals without any quality assurance,” explains the entrepreneur. Thus, when mfine’s sales teams approach these hospitals, they (the hosptials) find the use of technology refreshing, as it helps expand their reach among patients and schedule follow-ups.

Currently, mfine works with 16 hospitals, some of them which include Cloudnine Hospitals, Astor CMI and BSSH. And, with operations currently concentrated in Bengaluru, the app has facilitated more than 22,000 consultations, 70 doctors, 25 hospitals now. Hoping to buck this, Mfine is confident that its positioning in the market is welcomed both by the patients and service-providers. In fact, according to Kompalli, the team is beginning to get inbounds from hospitals curious to know about the partnership and wanting to join the bandwagon. “On the patients’ side, I have a bullish theory that demand is very much there. Our data tells us that with each speciality that we enable, like paediatrics and gynaecology, people are touching upon it quickly,” he says.

Orthopaedics was never in our list but when data indicated that this is a good opportunity to build on, we went for it and today, we offer it as a speciality

The Investor Pitch

Thus far, mfine has raised two round of funding, totaliing US $5.7 million. It raised its first round in September 2017 from Stellaris Ventures and healthcare entrepreneurs, Mayur Abhaya and Rohit M.A and its second round in May 2018 from Prime Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors. Speaking of the early investors, Kompalli says, “We’re glad Abhaya and Ritesh Banglani (Partner at Stellaris) came on board early on. While Abhaya brings in his expertise from a women and childcare perspective, Banglani brings in a macro-economic view on the sector.” On Prime Ventures, the founder adds that the brainstorming sessions have been extremely insightful. “They bring with them a deep understanding of technology, product and innovation,” he says.

Prime Venture Partners, which typically partners with one-of-a-kind disruptive companies that attack big markets, has forayed into the healthcare sector with this investment. “The team is stellar. mfine is architectured in a way that it combines the best protocol and technology. This is definitely an opportunity to deliver better quality healthcare,” says Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner at the fund.

The Customer’s Viewpoint

mfine actively takes direct and indirect feedback from its users to upgrade its service according to client needs. “One such query that came up was whether we can directly upload the medical records for second opinions. We then looked into setting up a system to fine-tune our offering based on individual requirements,” explains Kompalli. Besides this, the team also constantly monitors data to see how it can create more value add for clients. For instance, going forward, it plans to introduce a feature (on the app) which offers a visual demonstration of the exercises suggest by a doctor. “Orthopaedics was never in our list but when data indicated that this is a good opportunity to build on, we went for it and today, we offer it as a speciality,” he admits. Default diet plans for specific ailments is another feature that the team has on the anvil.

On what drives them, Kompalli indicates that client feedback gives them confidence to keep going. He recounts incidents that sound “dramatic but not as a pattern”- a three day old developing an eye infection and being cured within a short span of time, much to the relief of its anxious new parents; an elderly woman who recovered from dengue after constant communication between doctors and family members, all the while staying at home, and so on.

The Journey Ahead

With a vision to deftly penetrate deeper into newer markets, mfine has clear-cut goals to scale its business in the coming years. First, it plans to expand to other cities in the coming months, and targets facilitating 1 lakh consultations in a year.Then, the team plans to launch additional services such as setting up laboratory testing facilities by Q4 2018. “For this, we will provide a list of options from partner networks that provide these facilities,” adds Kompalli. Further, from 2019, the team plans to integrate data collected from wearables or smart devices, which will be automatically updated on clients’ profiles.

Kompalli adds that his goal is to start with handling two to three per cent of their partner hospitals’ out-patient consultations, and in about six months, expand to a 10-15 per cent range. “The market is huge and the opportunities are wide. In future, holistic care centres such as multi-speciality hospitals are going to be the face of healthcare. So, we strongly believe in our hospital-first approach and will continue to expand this model in other cities,” he says, on a concluding note.

  • Started operations in 2017
  • Founded by former Myntra colleagues: Prasad Kompalli and Ashutosh Lawania
  • Raised $5.7 million across two rounds from Prime Venture Partners, Stellaris Ventures and healthcare entrepreneurs, Mayur Abhaya and Rohit M.A
  • Currently operates in Bengaluru, with plans to expand to Chennai and Delhi-NCR

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