Medikabazaar aims to build the largest medtech and disposables supplies platform and have been progressing steadily since its launch in April 2015. Vivek Tiwari, Director and CEO, Boston Ivy Healthcare Solutions, in an interaction with Express Healthcare reveals more
Tell us about your start-up. What challenges did you face while setting up of Medikabazaar and how did you overcome them?
Medikabazaar, a tech-enabled pioneering concept, is aimed to address a large segment of medical procurement and supplies. Medikabazaar empowers medical institution to deal with complex problem of procurement and regular purchases including supply chain and logistics planning. Medikabazaar is a complete ecosystem of medical supplies addressing the major challenges in awareness, availability, ambiguity and affordability.
Medical procurement and supplies include a complete range of products from medical gloves, cotton to high-end medical devices and equipment etc. We are changing the landscape for ‘procurement and supplies’ space in medical institutions and aim to build the largest medtech and disposables supplies platform. Our journey started a year ago in April 2015, where we commercialised our operations, and have been progressing steadily since then. The founder is Vivek Tiwari an alumni of IIM Calcutta.
Medikabazaar is both B2B (for hospital supplies) and B2C (for home healthcare medical devices and aids). The websites are www.medikabazaar.biz (B2B); www.medikabazaar.com (B2C)
Our business portal is pioneering in the segment and caters to the procurement and supply chain efficiency needs of medical institutions.
In order to sustain higher growth and operational excellence, medical institutions need to achieve higher efficiency for remarkable outcomes. In order to achieve better healthcare delivery model; optimising the cost and efficiency of medical procurement is of paramount importance.
The challenges were manifold, since it is primarily a B2B concept. The initial challenge came in with the fact that there is no established B2B supply platform in India. Most of business to business solution enterprises are just for information and advertisement purpose. We had to organise a massive campaign in medical institutions through direct contacts, digital medium etc to inform them on this concept, the concept was well accepted due to the acceptance of problems from users in the identified area.
What made you come up with the idea to set up Medikabazaar?
The business model was conceived out of my past experience in managing a chain of multi-location tertiary care clinics. I worked as the Chief Operating Officer primarily looking after clinics roll out and operations. A digital procurement platform for medical supplies was non-existent and it was a humongous task to engage multiple vendors and ask for price quotes, negotiation for purchases etc and there always existed a bigger challenge in getting the right price from a reliable vendor and there was no vendor who was covering an array of medical supplies. I envisioned that the need to set up an innovative medical supplies platform was of paramount importance as healthcare facilities were being set up in tier II and III cities. The supplies were always a problem due to non-availability of last mile vendors/ reliable suppliers in tier II and III cities. As a result of this, hospitals and medical institutions ended up falling prey to the unorganised and inefficient procurement system in the medical fraternity. These identified problems resulted into an idea which could solve all these complex operational issues.
How did you build your core team (co-founders and initial employees)?
The operations started with a team of five members including the founder. Keeping the initial phase of business in mind, smaller operational verticals in the area of finance, sales and business development were formed.
The Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer, Ketan Malkan (an established accounting professional with more than 30 years experience) played a vital role in drawing up the financial and accounting roadmap for the venture.
Three key employees were appointed for the development in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Kolkata and a product specialist was appointed in Mumbai.
IT was initially outsourced to a vendor but later we started building internal IT development and administration capability with the hiring of few IT engineers.
With all the initial teething problems, we realised that at the beginning of the venture, it is important to have a team of known, reliable and experienced people.
Some of the team members were taken on personal references to avoid any trials etc.
Give us a background of your team members and advisors.
- Vivek Tiwari (MBA, IIM Calcutta), Founder and Chief Executive Officer – Worked with two healthcare service start-ups in tertiary care earlier. Notable achievements being forming and managing a JV with Japanese Leading equipment manufacturer (Nipro India Corporation) and German leading equipment manufacturer (Fresenius Medical Care) and setting up 13+ tertiary care renal dialysis centres and also learning the economics and challenges of setting up a tertiary healthcare unit. Successfully worked on value engineering the initial setup cost and reducing it to less than 50 per cent of the total cost with equipment lease and hospital revenue sharing model. I was also offered and signed up an investment term sheet in my last venture. Strategic tie up with LOK Corporation, a global regulatory and marketing organisation for medical devices and equipment. Actively engaged with various medical devices congresses and conferences globally as a delegate speaker. Tiwari is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta.
- Dr Rupam Tiwari (B.Sc IT, B.A Litt, MBA, Ph. D, Red is a certified engineer) Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer – An astute learner and keen observer of IT-related development and changes. Rupam has completed her doctorate studies in the field of management with a complete hands on knowledge and experience in managing complex IT domain. She graduated in IT with distinction and also completed her masters in Systems & Operations Management before pursuing and completing her doctoral studies.
- Ketan Malkan (B.Com), Co-founder – An entrepreneur, a visionary who has more than 30 years of work experience in managing diverse business areas including healthcare, gems and jewellery, trading and manufacturing etc. Belonging to a moderate Gujarati family, Malkanis a self-made businessman with astute management skills and participative management capabilities. His core competence include managing accounting and finance vertical of business. Prior to this venture, he has set up and managed a medical devices distribution company with a five fold business growth in four years
- Daniel Cloutier, Advisory Member, CEO – Lok Corporation: Daniel Cloutier is a veteran in medical devices sector, having represented CASMED (US medical devices co) as their International Sales Director. He has been instrumental in setting up LOK Corporation, a global medical devices market access and regulatory body. Daniel is actively engaged with more than 50 global medical devices companies for their regulatory compliance, clinical trial and market access.
- Adi Ickowicz, Founder & CEO, MedicSense Limited, Israel – With more than twenty years of experience, Adi specialises in developing company-tailored clinical and regulatory strategies, meet technical and regulatory demands for medical products, Ickowicz’s previous experience includes managing clinical and regulatory affairs departments in both well-established and start-up companies.
One thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model?
Medikabazaar provides a comprehensive solution to procurement problem, this includes the following;
- Product identification
- Instant quotations for approvals
- Instant buying options
- Requirement catalogue build-up
- Historical Statements
- Loan or short term/ long-term finances (instant approvals and sanction) – we are working on this
- Price alerts
- Request a call back option
- Refurbished and old medical equipment – Medika recycle
In a nutshell, we are a complete ecosystem of medical supplies.
How do you procure funds?
Currently, we are self funded and a bootstrapped enterprise and were profitable in the first year of our operation.
Give us a brief on the working of your products?
We work as a B2B and B2C marketplaces for medical supplies, the core product creates a bridge between medical manufacturers and medical institutions, hospitals, medical professionals as well as individual customers. Medikabazaar remains the interface of this arrangement, manufacturers or suppliers keep on getting the orders but customers’ info is well protected and Medikabazaar remains as the selling interface.
What are your future plans?
Since we already tested our business model, we are looking to raise $5 million for scalability and future growth.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Medikabazaar is the complete ecosystem of medical supplies, starting from sourcing and procurement to awareness and availability. Last mile delivery options to arranging finance for purchases (with the help of credit rating agencies and financial institutions) options for the smaller institutions linked within our portal to facilitate B2B trading. It works on pin code-based GIS system so that order delivery can happen in shortest possible time. We are tied up with many manufacturers exclusively with many innovative medical technology companies looking at launching their products through our portal. In the shortest possible time, we are engaged with many leading medical institutions in tier-I, tier-II and tier-III cities. We also have Medikastar reward points for managing subscription-based reward programme for regular buyers.
What are the barriers to entry and Intellectual property in the business?
We have been able to identify key barriers to entry in our business model; primarily these are registration with hospitals, exclusivity in supplies as well as exclusive contracts with sellers. We are working on getting some more barriers to ensure a stronger foothold of Medikabazaar in the business.