India’s medical service Lybrate has raised $10.2 million from Tiger Global, Tata Sons’ President Emeritus Ratan Tata, and existing backer Nexus Ventures. The eighteen-month-old company is based in New Delhi, and is working to increase access to doctors and quality healthcare information for the country’s billion-plus population.
Lybrate makes its money by taking a cut from one-on-one dialogues between patients and doctors.Lybrate connects patients with doctors using a web-based platform, as well as iOS and Android apps. Users can pose questions to doctors, search for nearby doctors and surgeries, make and manage appointments, and save their patient records. There’s also a system for sending alerts to family members or loved ones in the event of an emergency. The company makes its money by taking a cut from one-on-one dialogues between patients and doctors. Typically, Lybrate’s so called “internet handling fee” ranges from 5 to 15 percent.
According to the startup’s CEO Saurabh Arora, who left the U.S. and his job as a data scientist Facebook and returned to India to start the business, there’s a huge demand for doctors in India. What’s more, in rural areas – large numbers used pharmacists to diagnose their illnesses rather than actual doctors. And even in metro areas, people put off going to clinics for a range of reasons, such as lack of time, hassle or traffic jams.
Beyond connecting doctors and patients, Lybrate is looking to increase access to healthcare information.
Lybrate boasts more than 80,000 doctors, and is visited by over 100,000 users each day.“The fundamental problem isn’t waiting in a doctor’s clinic, we’re a communication platform that multiples a doctor’s presence,” Arora said to TechCrunch. “We ask ourselves, ‘How do we let a person in Northern India get access to quality medical care and information?’ for example.”
In that sense, Lybrate’s mobile apps come with Facebook-like feeds that provide daily health tips and advice to users based on their own needs or situations.
The service boasts more than 80,000 doctors, and is visited by over 100,000 users each day. Its mobile apps have clocked over half a million downloads since their launch in January of this year. The new money will be used to further develop technology, scale the platform, and reach even more doctors and patients.