The leadership at the PolicyBazaar group is relieved. Several sources have confirmed that the group will soon sell a majority stake in DocPrime, the virtual doctor consultation platform it launched in late 2018. It isn’t that DocPrime is a lost cause. Or even truly struggling. It was just an odd duck for an entity that, as a senior executive with the group tells it, does not invest in something without a clear sense of when it will make money. “It’s just not in our DNA,” the executive says simply.

When DocPrime was announced, it was seen as a fine addition to the PolicyBazaar group. A worthy companion to its financial marketplace PaisaBazaar, and a complementary offering to PolicyBazaar, the country’s largest insurance aggregator. The plan, at the time, was for DocPrime to boost to boost The Ken wants to take insurance back to its roots Read more  PolicyBazaar’s sales.

It managed this by adding a whole new layer to popular health insurance products, which cover only hospitalisation expenses. Today, it is a teleconsultation provider with about 50 inhouse doctors. It boasts a network of over 30,000 clinics and about 4,000 diagnostic labs. It even launched an exclusive outpatient health insurance product with Apollo Munich Apollo Munich Apollo Munich It has since been rebranded to HDFC Ergo Health after HDFC Ergo acquired a majority stake in June 2019. , one of the few Indian standalone health insurers, in January 2020.

Despite this, the PolicyBazaar group would much rather ride shotgun than steer DocPrime.

The reason for ceding control is neither a lack of funds nor its business model, the senior executive clarifies. After all, DocPrime was announced announced The Ken PolicyBazaar group set to hand DocPrime reins to new investor Read more just after the group raised over $200 million from Japanese venture capital firm SoftBank in July 2018. It was just a different kind of business, he explains.

To put this in perspective, one need only look at DocPrime’s siblings. PolicyBazaar earned revenues right from its first year. PaisaBazaar took longer to earn money but demonstrated a clear path to revenues and profitability. DocPrime, like many youngest siblings, is comparatively spoiled. It had burned over a million dollars while earning just Rs 40 lakh ($53,831) in the year ending March 2019. Admittedly, it had been operational for over a year. Even so, there was no clear path to recovering its costs. 

There's always a question of capital allocation—if you have to spend this $2 million, can you put it to better use in PolicyBazaar or PaisaBazaar?


Ruhi Kandhari

Ruhi writes on the impact of healthcare policies, trends in the healthcare sector and developments on the implementation of Electronic Health Records in India. She has an M. Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

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