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2011-07-07

Preventive Healthcare

Believing in "Prevention is better than cure" theory, Amol Naikawadi, set up Indus Health Plus, an affordable, accessible and available health care centre. The Joint MD gives a lowdown of his start up story and what lies ahead.

Believing in "Prevention is better than cure" theory, Amol Naikawadi, set up Indus Health Plus, an affordable, accessible and available health care centre. The Joint MD gives a lowdown of his start up story and what lies ahead.

 

Seema Seth(SS): Tell me about yourself, what was your previous profession and how did you think of coming into this business?

Amol Naikawadi(AN): I was born in Wai, Maharashtra. I finished schooling from a military school in Satara and then took up Commerce from Pune. I became a Chartered Accountant in 1999.

 

‘Prevention is better than cure’, is something that is preached by one and all, but practiced by a select few. The same person, who would think nothing of spending thousands on a lavish business lunch, will think it a waste to go in for his annual BP check-up! We often forget that Health is the true Wealth, especially in today’s fast paced world. When a couple of our close family members were diagnosed with chronic ailments, we realised that we lost them because we were too late in detecting the diseases. This made us realise that though prevention is an urgent need, not much was being done in the area. Keeping this in mind, Indus Health Plus was established in the year 2000 by a team of like-minded professionals to make healthcare ‘Affordable, Accessible and Available’ healthcare to all. Indus Health Plus emphasises on preventive healthcare through its customised healthcare packages and substantial discounts on medical expenses through the loyalty cards. Already in its 11th year of operations, it has already reached out to more than 2.6 lakh people (and is rapidly growing) across the country.

 

SS: What role did your family play in terms of supporting you?

AN: I wouldn’t have been able to traverse a journey so challenging had not my family, especially my brother- in- law and a close group of friends stood in complete support. My wife and my brother, both play an integral role in the management of the rapidly expanding operations.  In fact, everyone at Indus Health Plus is a member of my family. It might sound clichéd, but at Indus, we are one big happy family working together to make the lives of all Indians more secure by securing their biggest asset- their health. In fact the initial capital (Rs. 50 lakhs) was contributed by family and friends to help kick start Indus Health Plus as India’s first company that dealt exclusively in Preventive Healthcare.

 

SS: What is your company’s full name and what is your product range?

AN: Our company name is ‘INDUS HEALTH PLUS.’ We are specialists in Preventive Healthcare. In fact we are the pioneers when it comes to the concept of preventive healthcare in India.

 

SS: How did you fund the business initially?

AN: Our business started in 2000, with only 4 employees and today we have more than 300 dedicated individuals working with us. Every year, the company’s growth has taken care of its finances. The initial capital (Rs. 50 lakhs) was contributed by family and friends, who were equally passionate about the cause, to start Indus Health Plus and India’s first company that dealt exclusively in Preventive Healthcare Services was born.

 

As demand for our services grew in Pune, people started pouring in at our centers from throughout Maharashtra. Thus, we decided to expand into other districts and then to other states. One of the reasons for our success is also the fact that our delivery partners see a tie-up with us as a win-win situation. Their infrastructure and services are used in an optimum fashion and they too benefit via enhanced profit margins. Indus is growing at an accelerated rate and we now have our presence in 32 centers across 14 cities Pan India. We are present in both the urban as well as rural landscape. Indus has set up offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Goa etc

 

SS: What challenges did you face in establishing your business?

AN: The major challenge for us even today is the sheer skepticism that the masses show towards the importance of preventive health check-ups. They believe that they are healthy on the outside, therefore healthy on the inside as well. However, this is simply not true. We seek to promote awareness about preventive healthcare and how significantly it can reduce any pain or suffering that might arise from ignoring minor health issues that might turn fatal in the future. For example, not many know that one can go on living “normally” with even as much as 80% damage to their liver! Or that a person who seems ‘fine’ on the outside might have more 60% blockage in the arteries leading to his heart. However, the body functions might collapse suddenly leading to fatalities. As many as 40% of all heart attack victims die before they can even reach the nearest medical facilities! This is a direct outcome of ignoring regular preventive health check-up.

 

SS: What is your team size and what challenges did you face in putting your team together, how was the experience of hiring the first employees?

AN: Our business started in 2000, with only 4 employees and today we have more than 300 dedicated individuals working with us. Our employees are not mere ‘workers’ here but family members. We carry forward the same ethos of family values and the togetherness with each new addition to the organisation.

 

Our packages come to you at highly discounted rates. They are made available to the client at almost one-third of the list price, compared to package rates being offered by other diagnostic centers. Also we conduct the most comprehensive tests, in the span of a day and deliver the report on the same day itself. Its hard work, making such an insurmountable task possible but at Indus we believe that we must service the client’s needs at all costs. We understand that consumers do not want to spend more than a day on heath check-ups and we aim to provide uncompromised quality at discounted rates and coupled with unmatched service.

 

SS: What is your marketing strategy?

AN: We use innovative marketing strategies, using varied channels. We employ traditional as well as new age media to primarily raise awareness about the urgent need for healthcare in India. It is not only about selling our packages, it is about servicing the people of India. It’s about saving lives. We want to raise awareness on the fact that many of today’s health complications, that often prove potentially fatal, such as heart attacks and cancer can be easily avoided and even cured if detected in the early stages.

 

SS: How are you planning to scale up your business?

AN: Currently available across 32 delivery partners in 14 cities, our concentration is in Maharashtra and Goa, with a recent entry into Delhi. We aim to reach 50 centers by March 2012 and 100 centers till March 2014. Indus aims to achieve pan-India presence by concentrating on multiple location availability of their services for their clientele. Many regional and national healthcare chains are in talks with us. If these associations do materialize, we will achieve the numbers much before the targeted date.

Currently we are present in 2 major metros- Delhi and Mumbai, and headquartered in a Tier I city with offices across 3 Tier II cities. We are looking at being in the top 10 cities while also concentrating at a mix of Tier-II and in some cases Tier-III cities as we aim to achieve pan-India presence and make Indus Health Plus, a name synonymous to preventive healthcare all over.  

A large part of this requirement will be supported by accruals and debt. However, at the right time, we will raise the capital through the private equity route.

 

SS: What is the price range?

AN: Our packages have been designed after much thorough research. We have preventive healthcare packages ranging from 3000 INR to 17000 INR. The tests include the best technology available and take into consideration all the functionalities of the body.

 

SS: What is your turnover like?

AN: Our annual turnover for 2010 was Rs. 75 crores and we are growing at the rate of 35% on an annual basis.

SS: Where do you see your products 5 years from now?

AN: Our target is to raise awareness about the importance of preventive healthcare amongst the middle classes, primarily. We are also tying up with corporate houses to take preventive healthcare to the young professionals who are at high risk from lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes, Stress related problems, Cardiac problems etc due to the fiercely competitive work environment today. The medical tourism industry is set to touch USD 2 billion by 2010 with an annual growth rate of 30 %. We have set up a base for international clients to easily access our quality deliverables, and at affordable rates.

 

20 dedicated health cities are expected to come up in the next 5 years. The booming hospital service industry is projected to grow at 9% during 2010 – 2015.

 

Strong demand for hospital services in tier-II and tier-III cities will also fuel growth of the sector. Indus Health Plus is the only company in India to have such an extensive network of preventive healthcare specialist delivery partners across most tier-II and tier-III cities across Maharashtra as well as pan India.

 

Sustainability is not the issue as we are sustaining growth rates at over 35% p.a.

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