Online pharmacy marketplace 1mg has raised $15 million in a Series C round led by HBM Healthcare Investments, with participation from other existing investors Maverick, Sequoia India, Omidyar & Kae Capital. Note that this is HBM’s second investment into 1mg. The company did not mention where the fresh funds would be used for. However, HBM’s CEO Dr Andreas  Wicki said that it decided to lead the current round for “pre-empting any need for the company to seek external capital and keeping the focus on continued growth.” 1mg competitor Practo raised $55 million for an international expansion in January this year.

While raising funding from HBM last year, 1mg’s co-founder Prashant Tandon told MediaNama HBM could potentially connect it with healthcare companies anywhere in India or abroad. Currently, the company delivers medicines, prescription drugs, medical devices, personal care items, among others in metro cities and state capitals. It claims to have 20 million monthly visits to its platform and 9 million app downloads. It also provides online diagnostic service which allows users to schedule a lab technician visit for collecting blood samples. Results will be sent to the user via post and email.

Other competitors in this space include Practo, Bookmeds, mChemist, Medidart, Medlife, Medstar, Netmeds, Pharmeasy, Zigy.com (PM Health & Life Care), SaveOnMedicals, Savemymeds among others.

Previous Funding

  • May 2016: 1mg had raised an undisclosed amount of additional funding (to its Series B funding) from HBM Healthcare for geographic expansion, upgrading technology, and for hiring fresh talent.
  • April 2016: the company raised $15 million in Series B from Maverick Capital Ventures and existing investors Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network to expand its online pharmacy and diagnostics, and launch digital health products like smart prescriptions and personalised health feeds.
  • April 2015: Before rebranding from its earlier name HealthKart Plus, had raised $6 million from Deep Kalra, founder of MakeMyTrip, Sequoia Capital, Omidyar Network, Intel Capital and Kae Capital to expand operations into new cities.

Acquisitions

The company has made two acquisitions since its inception in 2012.

  • December 2016: 1mg acquired MediAngels, a business which allows patients to consult with doctors across 93 super specialities such as cardiology, cancers, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and paediatric sub specialities via an online portal.
  • July 2016: The company had acquired Medd.in, a platform which allows users to book diagnostic imaging tests; this acquisition had signalled competitors that the company has plans to expand beyond its e-pharmacy mandate.  This acquisition allowed 1mg to build a core team for its diagnostics segment, along with the appointment of Ankur Gigras, who joins from Abbott Nutrition.

Govt to regulate online pharmacies

Note that the new fundraising comes at a time when the Indian government is looking at regulating online drug companies like 1mg. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in March proposed an electronic/online platform for regulating the sale of medicines in India, and had initiated a public consultation. This came after offline pharmacy owners and retailers had called for a nationwide bandh to protest the regularizing sale of medicines through Internet in November last year. They had alleged that online pharmacies are doing business illegally and are in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.

Nikhil adds: Next year is a big year for Health-tech in India. There’s a National Health Information Network planned, essentially marking the beginning of the Electronic Health Records industry in India.