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Hemraj Parmar, Co-founder at DoctCo

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Hemraj Parmar: I come from a village and have handled multi super-specialty hospitals in smaller towns of India as a Group CEO of chains of hospitals. Patients must travel to bigger cities for all super-specialty Surgeries and high-end medical procedures. So, I have seen the prevailing healthcare gaps from the very close quarters. Besides, my partner Nimith has faced this problem in his own family.

This forced us both to rethink and redefine super-specialty care for Bharat.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by DoctCo?

Hemraj Parmar: In DoctCo, we’re trying to bridge the super-specialty gap in Tier 2/3 cities of India and provide high-quality and affordable healthcare within 15 minutes of walking distance. As part of this initiative, we open state of the art telemedicine clinics and connect patient with a super-specialist in top tier hospitals across the country for super-specialty consultations and thereafter provide seamless support & concierge services through our marquee DoctCo Sathi, who acts as a family member away from home.

Quality, affordability, and accessibility are three major pillars of the healthcare industry. We make good quality healthcare accessible through our super-specialty telemedicine centres. To improve affordability, we have launched two excellent products – reimbursement of bills and interest free EMI for needy patients seeking treatment in our partner hospitals. Finance is either very expensive or not available at all in smaller towns. To mitigate this challenge for our patients, an interest free EMI product acts as a lifesaver for emergent medical treatments while being in financial distress.

Great Companies: What makes DoctCo different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Hemraj Parmar: The most important differentiator is the quality and accessibility of our services. Besides, the DoctCo Sathi acts as a family member for the patient and makes their journey painless, while improving the overall patient experience. We have a large pool of super-specialist doctor’s pan India for tele-consultations and have partnered with some of the best hospital groups in the country for super-specialty surgeries and medical procedures. Our services are aligned with the NDHM ecosystem and are HIPAA compliant, thereby ensuring patient safety and confidentiality.

We make use of cutting-edge medical technology with a patient-centric approach. We have a comprehensive bouquet of services to make treatment affordable to our patients, so that they can get all services under one roof with proper guidance and handholding about the choice of a clinician and the healthcare facility as per his specific need. This has helped us ensure loyalty and increase our clientele overtime, while improving patient experience and outcomes.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Hemraj Parmar: The first challenge we faced was about the choice of the city and selection of our first partner hospital there. Building a comprehensive ecosystem of super-specialist doctors and partner hospitals has been another challenge that we successfully surmounted. Breaking the local stranglehold on patients from the existing doctors and healthcare facilities is never easy. DoctCo was viewed as a competitor by them. But slowly we overcame this with the consistency of our exceptional services. Finding the right clinical and operational talent in smaller cities is a difficult task. We had to hire locally and suitably train the team. This can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when you are trying to scale up operations.

Attrition is usually higher in start-ups.Start-ups are by nature risky. Lack of funding is one of the major reasons for many of them failing. We adopted a novel approach to generating enough revenue, while seeking external funding to continue growing unhindered. We have worked through the start-up funding winter and continued to grow without any substantial attrition or layoffs. This is a major achievement for us indeed while we are seeing many start-ups struggling.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for DoctCo?

Hemraj Parmar: We are a well-funded start-up with aggressive growth plans. We are currently scaling up operations from 15 cities to 30 cities and are therefore on an intensive recruitment drive. We wish to bring our bouquet of services to more than 750 districts over the next five years and impact millions of lives across India. Our bouquet of services is also likely to increase substantially.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Hemraj Parmar: Start-ups are a challenging proposition but anyone with strong business acumen can become an entrepreneur. Not everything needs to be known prior to taking the plunge, there is a lot you learn along the way if you are open to it. Failures are part of the game. Be prepared. You may have to pivot frequently to optimize business and scaling up of operations.

Resilience is the key. Without funding nothing works because initially the burn is very high. No investor is willing to invest if the model is not robust with a clear line to profitability. You should have a clear plan and visibility for the same, a good runway of at least 12-18 months is desirable. Networking is important for funding since there is immense learning from the founder fraternity and start-up ecosystem.



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