Leonard Jackson, Founder at Ambipalm Health Private Limited
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Leonard Jackson: In 2016, I lost my younger brother through a motorbike accident in Kolkata and the primary reason being, he couldn't find an ambulance on time. This made me think about our Transport Medical System in India and like my brother, there are thousands who face the same challenge. In a country where ordering food, groceries, etc. are delivered in 15 minutes then why not have something for more critical life situations. This is when Doris, my wife along with my other business partner, Kameron Abraham decided to develop an App that works similar to a cab hailing service that would help patients during emergencies or planned hospital visits get transport when needed with a few clicks from an App available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store for free.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by AMBIPALM HEALTH PRIVATE LIMITED
1) Currently, we provide ambulance services which is a paid feature.
2) We also have a Blood Donation feature which is FREE OF COST for our users looking to find different kinds of blood type.
3) We have something else known as AmbiTales which are short graphic stories that give a lot of information about the current happenings like Covid, Nutrition, etc., this is also a free feature.
4) In about 2 months, we are launching our full blown Nutrition App called NutriPalm.
Our vision is to become a One Stop Solution for all medical needs. Therefore, we plan to launch Online Pharmacy, Lab Diagnostics, Online Doctor Consultation as well in the months to come.
Great Companies: What makes AMBIPALM HEALTH PRIVATE LIMITED different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
The biggest USP is what we've built in the App which is one of its kind called "Negotiations'. Based on our initial experience and study, we noticed that a country like India which is diversified when it comes to income and since a lot can't afford an ambulance even during an emergency, wants to negotiate the price.
The current players in the market make the most of these patients' situations and overcharge the customers. By introducing the Negotiations feature, we've given the "POWER BACK TO THE CUSTOMER" to get an ambulance that is pocket friendly. Pricing during a medical transport should be the least of the patient's worries during travel and we have been able to bridge that gap through our App and also through our call center support. As a strong tech company, we have made all our processes automated to avoid human error.
Another strong point that makes us different from others in India is that since one of our Founders is from the US, we follow US standard SLAs for all our operations. This has been recognised and appreciated by many of our customers that we even had one user review us on Google, mentioning that he didn't feel like he was in India while using our services. There are other factors that also make us different like Lowest Price Guaranteed, 'Patients before Profits' policy which enables us to cater to our patients more effectively and professionally.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Leonard Jackson: The ambulance industry is a disorganised industry. The initial setup met with major roadblocks like coordinations, setting proper SOPs, SLAs, etc. One of the major challenges we faced being an aggregator was ensuring quality management and putting set systems in place. Initially, we were small fish in a big pond but considering the tremendous growth we've had in the last one and a half year, the tides have changed and because of the quality and effectiveness of doing business we've been able to put in place, we've seen a major change in the way the business is being operated.
Launching a corporate company has its share of opposition with local ambulance providers as they feel we're here to steal their business but over the months, they've seen that we're here to work in tandem with them and they've seen that we've been able to generate more business for them.
Therefore, everybody has a piece of the pie to ensure India's medical transport system is world class. Another challenge that we face is that a lot of Venture Capitalist companies don't show interest in funding ambulance companies as the general mindset is that an ambulance is required during a 'negative' situation but in truth, an ambulance plays an initial critical role in helping patients get the help they need before getting to a hospital. So, even though it's not a comfortable topic to discuss when it comes for funding, it's an essential element of life saving during medical needs and I hope VCs are more open to this idea as they can help in streamlining and bring a major shift in the way the ambulance industry operates.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for AMBIPALM HEALTH PRIVATE LIMITED?
Leonard Jackson: As of latest research, there are currently little over 47,000+ private hospitals around India. Our goal is that in the next 5 years to capture 20% - 25% hospitals by becoming their Medical Transport Partner. This would ensure that we take care of all incoming and outgoing patients from the hospital with professionalism, courtesy and utmost care. We intend to be present in all parts of the country, including Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and towns. We are building a tech system that would enable a patient to get an ambulance within 10 minutes of the distress call. We don't proclaim false information with regards to quality, timing, etc. like other companies but deliver as promised based on our track record and customer reviews. AmbiPalm aims to become the de facto ambulance provider across the country and our neighbouring countries.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Leonard Jackson: There will be setbacks when you start off, difficulties like opposition, people who wouldn't believe in what you are doing, etc. However, when you have that self determination and strong belief that you will succeed with what you've ought to set out, you will by all means as long as you don't take shortcuts to achieve those goals. Have like minded people in your team who align with your vision and push everyday for success even if you don't see it in the immediate future. Treat your company as your baby and prioritise all that you do around it to bring success. Challenges will come along as you keep pushing forward but take them as speed bumps and keep pushing forward. Building a startup isn't easy but it is also not impossible as long as you believe in your product.