On 4 May, smack in the middle of India’s devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections, Giggle needed emergency blood transfusion. The dog, a two-year-old Lhasa Apso, had tick fever. It was the middle of the night and Giggle’s only option turned out to be an emergency hospital called Crown Vet, located in the upmarket area of Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar.

Founded in 2016 by Pratapsinh Gaekwad, a member of the former royal family of Baroda, Crown Vet is a chain of first-point-of-care 24×7 veterinary hospitals. The Lajpat Nagar facility—launched in January this year—is its fifth; the chain has two facilities each in Mumbai and Pune. 

24×7 emergency veterinarian hospitals are few and far between in India, mostly due to the amount of money involved in setting them up. Emergency vet hospitals need to have a wide array of medical equipment, from X-ray and ultrasound machines to oxygen cylinders and anaesthesia equipment. They also need space—X-ray machines need a separate room to account for the radiation, not to mention operating theatres for surgeries, isolation rooms for highly infectious pets, boarding and lodging facilities for overnight monitoring of sick animals, and more. 

Crown Vet’s Lajpat Nagar facility, for instance, is a sprawling 2,200 sq ft and cost, according to Gaekwad, between Rs 1.5 – Rs 2 crore ($220,000 – $260,000) to set up. And this is not accounting for everyday overheads. 

All of which is beyond the pale for most single-doctor, family-run vet clinics that have been in the business for decades. And with the pandemic shuttering most of these small clinics for an extended period of time, Crown Vet is seeing an opportunity to execute some of its ambitious plans.

The company is in high-growth mode. According to official estimates provided by Crown Vet, over the past five years, it has invested Rs 15 to 20 crore (nearly $2 million) in the business. Once earning around Rs 6-8 lakh ($8,000 – $11,000) per month, the company now claims to clock monthly revenues of close to Rs 1 crore ($130,000) across all five of its facilities.

According to Gaekwad, revenue grew 32% for the year ended March 2021; the company saw Rs 7.4 crore ($1 million) in revenue that year, from Rs 5.6 crore ($750,000) for the year ended March 2020. And now it wants to build 50 such 24×7 emergency hospitals in the next five to six years. 

The plan is audacious, but ground reality will prove to be Crown Vet’s damper. For one, India has an acute shortage of veterinary doctors and other allied professionals. There are only about 50 veterinary colleges in India, out of which a grand total of 2,500 students graduate each year. Even Max Vets, a chain of veterinary hospitals with 19 centres (15 of which are co-branded) across the country, is struggling to attract talent. 

AUTHOR

Maitri Porecha

Maitri writes about everything health for The Ken. For close to 10 years now, she has navigated hospital corridors in her search for a good story. In a past life, when she was not a journalist, she used to teach French at her neighbourhood school. Also an avid fan of forensics, she is always up for decoding mysteries in her free time.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?

MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500

Subscribe
MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20

Subscribe

Questions?

What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at support@the-ken.com detailing the error or queries.