When elective surgery care provider Pristyn began its services in India in 2018, its ‘OYO-like’ business model ‘OYO-like’ business model The Ken Pristyn Care and the OYO-isation of surgery Read more  was the main point of focus. The startup brings in patients but the actual surgeries are done by its surgeons in partner hospitals. Pristyn has now come full circle, with other startups in the medical field now operating with a ‘Pristyn-like’ model—such as Crysta IVF, a one-year-old startup that offers fertility services like in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) among others. 

Crysta partners with established IVF clinics and re-brands them, generating patients—leads—for its partner clinics. And like Pristyn, it leans heavily on relentless and aggressive digital marketing to do so. The company even roped in a heavily pregnant Kareena Kapoor, a popular actor from the Hindi cinema industry, as a brand ambassador.

The startup’s founder Dheeraj Jain tells The Ken that the company has helped doctors grow their business by 6X in terms of patient volumes. “Annual revenue per clinic has increased from Rs 11.9 lakh (US$15,600) to Rs 68 lakh (US$90,000) this year,” he claims.

Currently, Crysta claims to have 30-plus partner clinics in 24 cities across India and claims to have treated over 730 patients. The company has roughly cashed in a revenue of Rs 12.41 crore (US$1.6 million) till date for the year ending March 2022. It also raised raised Hindu Businessline Crysta raises ₹10-crore funding Read more  Rs 10 crore (US$1.3 million) in a pre-Series A funding round in January 2020. 

But that’s as far as the comparisons to Pristyn go, however. Despite venture capital backing, the startup operates in a legally grey area. 

State health officials in Delhi confirmed to The Ken that Crysta has not been registered with the district and state authorities under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. The Act is a law that makes it binding for genetic counselling centres, clinics, labs, or any such entity that provides such services to them, points out a senior Health Ministry official directly involved with the implementation of the Act.  

“Crysta acts like a marketeer for the clinics it re-brands. By shirking responsibility, even as it takes care of the end-to-end services for the clinics and patients, it is operating in a grey area,” the official said. This official and others quoted in the story requested anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media. 

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.

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