Rearing to make its mark, B'luru's iCliniq heads West

Startups

Rearing to make its mark, B'luru's iCliniq heads West

Bengaluru-based online doctor consultation platform iCliniq is striving to further strengthen its strongest market, the US, where it is thriving as a second opinion platform.

Founder and CEO of iCliniq, Dhruv Suyamprakasam, said, “About 60-65% of our revenues come from the US and the UK. These are definitely our strongest markets, where second opinion services are in huge demand.”

In late 2012, iCliniq started off as a video consultation platform and owing to bandwidth issues launched text and voice consultations in 2013. It currently has over 1,110 doctors onboard with a majority of them based out of India. Over three years, the platform has served 95,000 patients, which includes 1,28,000 health issues.

“In the healthcare sector, expansion is slow and needs persuasion. While developing the platform, we had to take a lot of things into consideration. It had to be a perfect marriage of healthcare and technology. Any imbalance would cause the platform to collapse,” he said, adding, “For example, a user may use an app of this format only about four times in a year. Hence, it wouldn’t make sense for the user to download it. Next, video consultations require good connectivity, which continues to be a problem. Considering these things, we retained the platform in a website format and launched text and voice consultations,” said Suyamprakasam. 

Cashing in

With dermatology, gynaecology and internal medicine as the most demanded specialties on the platform, it finds paying users in 61 countries and is browsed in over 160 countries. In India, it charges Rs 99, Rs 399 and Rs 499, for text, voice and video consults, respectively. Following a different format in the US, it charges upwards of $5 for a query, depending upon the nature of the query. A flat rate of 29% is charged by iCliniq on every fee payment.

Claiming that word-of-mouth marketing has been the most effective marketing channel for the platform, it claims differentiation in quality and expertise of its doctors. “We follow a stringent procedure in qualifying doctors on the platform. They are tested with simulated queries before they interact with patients and they are given feedback on the quality of each of their responses. We have a dedicated moderating team of three doctors, which enables this,” he said.

On track

The bootstrapped startup is now looking to raise funds to the tune of $5 million in the next 3-6 months. “We are planning to raise funds and have received interest from some Mumbai-based investors. We plan to raise our Series A round, which we will use in expanding our international operation, especially in the US,” he said. The company claims to have tripled its 2014 revenues in 2015, and estimates a run rate of $250-300 million in the next 2-3 years, the CEO said.

“The market in India remains underestimated, but it is growing mainly because iCliniq serves as a first opinion platform here. The country offers an opportunity of $400 million and given that investments come in at the right time, we are pretty confident of tapping into it,” he added.

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