Today, stumbling blocks in healthcare delivery are inaccessibility and unaffordability, not crunch of doctors. Finding the solution in technology, they are tapping its potential to make healthcare incredibly accessible. Lybrate love to solve intricate problems, face new challenges and beat them up in no time.
They’re investing in the future and value openness, transparency, knowledge & agree to disagree to not just create a user-friendly healthcare platform, but also an environment – employees love.
JEET SHARMA INTERACT WITH SAURABH ARORA, FOUNDER & CEO- LYBRATE
How did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?
I was working with Facebook in the US and on a yearly visit to India when on one fine day I happened to be at a pharmacy. To my surprise, I saw people coming to the pharmacist without a prescription and let him advice medicine/s for their health problem/s, eventually making him don the role of a doctor without the requisite expertise in the field. This ignorant behavior of people made me dig deeper into the reasons for ignoring to visit doctors and expose themselves to severe health risks.
I noticed distinct reasons for the same in metros and non-metros. While people in metros had time constraints due to hassles of busy schedules, those in non-metros faced genuine issues because of non-availability of quality doctors and specialists. What added to the woes was the huge doctor shortage in the country, which turned out to be the core problem of healthcare delivery in the country. At Facebook, I connected SMEs and large advertisers to their customers using Facebook Ads and thought to create a platform that could connect users with any doctor in India much in the same way, allowing both the entities to communicate with each other and ultimately solve the real problem that plagued the Indian healthcare system. This finally led me to incept Lybrate in 2014.
What is your Product or Service / Offerings to Customer?
Lybrate is India’s largest online doctor consultation platform that seamlessly enables users and doctors to communicate. Using Lybrate app, people can communicate with over 90,000 doctors via text chat, voice call or video chat from multiple specialties from across India from anytime, anywhere.
The platform allows users to have unlimited text opinions from multiple doctors for free. However, if they want to consult a doctor privately, it lets them do so on payment of doctor’s fees online.
Lybrate’s Health Feed consisting of health tips from doctors is unique. It encourages users to stay healthy and fit. Each health tip is categorized under one of the 400 topics and users can choose to receive health tips based on their interest and preference. With Health Feed, Lybrate is encouraging the preventive side of medicine, pushing people to give their health the prime importance.
What were the challenges before you while setting up this startup?
The initial challenge was to create awareness among doctors and get them on board. So we built a product that had a workflow that made doctors to talk about Lybrate with their peers. It helped us get a lot of traction initially.
Another challenge was to find passionate people who truly believed in Lybrate’s mission and vision. Finding those first set of people was a grueling task. However, once those folks were in, the task of finding like-minded people became easier. Last April, the employee count at Lybrate was 30 and today we are over 150.
So, every challenge presents itself with the opportunity to find new solutions. So we see challenges that we face as something that make us better and finer.
What are the challenges for startup companies setting up shop in India?
Awareness among users is a big challenge. While things have improved in metros and big towns, things are yet to catch the same pace in Tier 2 and 3 cities. There were issues at the policy level on the front of government sometime back. But the government has recently introduced measures that are favorable for start-ups in the country. One or the other challenge always remains. However, it is for the start-ups to make the most even in such situations.
How is your business model different from the existing ones?
In order to understand how we’re different, it’s important to see things from a patient’s perspective. Getting an appointment to meet the doctor is not the starting point in healthcare delivery. The very first step is to be able to communicate with the doctor, explain the problem and get an expert advice. However, communication with the doctor is a huge problem in India, given the skewed doctor-patient ratio in the country that stands at 1:1700. This coupled with the fact that 70% of the hospital visits by patients are not required calls for a unique platform that Lybrate has created to solve ‘doctors’ inaccessibility’, the core problem of India’s healthcare system.
Lybrate’s platform approach of allowing each and every doctor to freely participate and its focus on communication between patients and doctors is the key to that. The Lybrate platform multiplies doctors’ presence, breaks geographical barriers, allows healthcare experts to see more patients, thereby increasing the reach and access of doctors to end users.
This unique platform approach has also allowed us to be a) the largest source of medically validated answers to general health queries, and b) the largest source of curated health information in the form of health tips. This platform approach to fix the fundamental problem that plagues the Indian healthcare makes Lybrate stand out in the crowd.
Who are your clients? How do you look at expanding?
We have both B2B and B2C solutions. In the B2B space, we have those doctors and clinics as our clients who use our practice management software to manage their work. They also use our online consultation platform which is free for them. On the other hand, in the B2C space, users (patients) who use the platform to consult the doctors privately are charged an internet handling fee.
We have users from 80 cities now and we plan to spread the base to more Tier 2 and 3 cities. Also, we currently have more than 90,000 doctors from multiple specialties on our platform. We aim to have 500,000 doctors on Lybrate in the next 3 years.
The best and worst memories while setting up..
There are no worst memories. All memories good. I believe that it is not about the destination, but about the journey. It is good to look back and feel great about the journey.
Your Marketing Plans so that world know you..
The best marketing plan is when your users talk about you. The strategy that has worked best for us has been ‘word of mouth’ wherein users have experienced the product and passed on a ‘good’ word about it to others. We also do digital campaigns to reach our target audience. Our Ask the Specialist platform is most sought after by users wherein they get access to well-known doctors. We have started exploring offline mediums as well. Our radio ads have generated a lot of excitement.
This interview was conducted by Jeet Sharma , you can reach out to him on firstname.lastname@example.org