Over the past decade, a digital revolution has swept India’s healthcare space. From buying drugs to consultations to diagnostics at your doorstep, and even health insurance, healthcare has surely and steadily moved online. But even as these bastions were breached, one segment of the medical world remained stubbornly impervious to the change that has swept all around it—medical devices. Until Medikabazaar.
Started by Mumbai-based Boston Ivy Healthcare Solutions in 2015, it is an e-commerce platform solely for medical devices —a space estimated to reach $50 billion in India by 2025. But dragging the space kicking and screaming into the digital age is easier on paper than in practice.
Even Amazon—arguably the master of e-commerce worldwide—has had a go at it. According to medical device manufacturer associations in India’s capital, New Delhi, representatives of the company reached out two years ago. Their efforts, however, made little headway.
While The Ken was unable to get a response from Amazon, a cursory search of the platform shows that it doesn’t stock high-end medical devices. Instead, it offers relatively cheaper products such as ECG machines, with the vast majority of medical devices on offer being low-cost disposables such as surgical gloves, syringes, and the like.
Medikabazaar, on the other hand, spans the whole spectrum. Listed on its platform is everything from high-end medical devices like MRI machines, which can cost about Rs 10 crore ($1.4 million), to simple disposables such as surgical gloves, which cost as little as Rs 20 ($0.28). While many of the low-end devices are for purchase—Medikabazaar even has plans for its own private labels—the high-end ones are listed on the platform by sellers, with the platform earning revenue for providing leads.
Medikabazaar has made some headway in its mission since. It recorded a loss of Rs 5.08 crore ($717,408) on revenue of Rs 58 crore ($8.1 million) in the year ending March 2019. Its gross merchandise value (GMV) in the same period was $17 million, with Boston Ivy co-founder and CEO Vivek Tiwari expecting GMV to touch $100 million—an over 5X rise—in the year ending March 2020.
For a market pegged at between $10-15 billion, if Tiwari’s targets are met, Medikabazaar would have captured up to 1% of the entire Indian medical devices market. No mean feat given that all e-pharma players combined have only managed to corner about 2% of the domestic Indian pharma market.
Getting to this goal, though, will not be easy.