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Tiger Global, Nexus Venture & Ratan Tata Backed Lybrate Democratizing Healthcare in the Country

We are not actively looking to raise funds. However, if we come across a like-minded partner who believes in our mission and vision, we will open to exploring the opportunity.

Saurabh Arora, Founder & CEO, Lybrate
Tiger Global, Nexus Venture & Ratan Tata Backed Lybrate Democratizing Healthcare in the Country

Founded by former professionals from Facebook and Snapdeal in 2014, Lybrate is Indian medical app which allows users to discuss any health issue with doctors through text, video and voice chat while keeping their identity anonymous. More than 100,000 doctors and health experts from varied branches of medicine from across India are connected to millions of patients through the technology-driven platform. With such a strong network, Lybrate acts as the world's largest online Out Patient Department (OPD). The health app has been downloaded over 3 million times on unique devices since the company launched the platform in January 2015.

In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BWDisrupt, Saurabh Arora, Founder & CEO, Lybrate, shares his company’s business model and future plans.

Elaborate on Lybrate's Business model

There are multiple ways in which Lybrate serves its users, both doctors and patients. The focus is on communication and that remains the core of all our solutions. Users can use the platform either through the free mobile app available on Android and iOS, or web. Majority of the platform is free for users and doctors to use but there are a few ways in which Lybrate makes money:

Lybrate Consult - Lybrate Consult is the best, seamless and frictionless way to communicate with a doctor. It enables users to talk to a doctor via text, audio or video. Users can consult their choice of a doctor privately by paying a consultation fee online. On top of the doctor’s consultation fee, the user has to pay internet handling fee to Lybrate which makes up for the company’s revenue.

Lybrate Lab+ – In the diagnostic cycle, Lybrate Lab+ is the only service today that allows logical completion. From having lab test initiated during an online consult, to sample pick and automatic sharing of reports with the doctors, it allows for further consultation without breaking the loop of online consultation. The service is also available for users who only want to book tests. So the solution is both user and doctor initiated.

Lybrate Cube – It is a comprehensive practice management solution for doctors which goes beyond offering basic services such as management of appointments, electronic medical records and electronic prescriptions, among others. Lybrate Cube provides doctors essential tools that multiply their presence, helps them manage follow-up patients online and focus on patients who need their physical presence more.

How Lybrate is fixing India's healthcare problem from a patient health cycle perspective?

There are five stages that a patient may go through when there is any health issue:

1) Find a doctor: Doctor discovery
2) Consult a Doctor: Either online or in-person
3) Lab Tests: Get suggested lab tests done, if any
4) Medicines: Get suggested medicines, if any
5) Follow-up: Consult doctor again, if required

From the view of patient life cycle, people look to talk to a doctor when they experience initial changes in the body before any health problem begins to any show major symptoms. However, communicating with doctors is difficult either due to their non- availability, or because of time constraint people have or they do not want to spend hours in traffic and waiting queues at clinics to consult them which is mostly a 10-minute affair.

Because of the communication barriers, they compromise with their health. Lybrate solves this core problem of inaccessibility of doctors by multiplying their presence and enabling users to talk to them online. This fixes the fundamental problem of huge doctor crunch in the country.

Lybrate is focusing on the core of enabling communication between patients and doctors, that is in the second and fifth stage of the patient health cycle. The communication often involves doctors to suggest tests for proper diagnosis of their health issue. The platform also serves them in the stage three where they require lab tests, which is both doctor and user initiated. During this process of patient health cycle, Lybrate is also able to assist patients in stage one.

Lybrate is the easiest, frictionless and most convenient way to talk to a doctor online – for the first time to get quick opinions, multiple times to get detailed opinions from doctors, for small health concerns, for health problems involving super-specialty, or for general health and wellness, not just for oneself but also for loved ones.

How Lybrate is using machine learning and technologies to improve accessibility to quality healthcare in the country​?

Lybrate has best used technology to bridge the gap between patients and doctors by enabling them to talk to each other, thus democratizing healthcare in the country.

The huge data we have generated since we launched the platform in January 2015, made us introduce machine learning to suggest customized healthcare solutions to our users.

Machine learning facilitates learning of users' interest and preferences over time to create a customized Health Feed, consisting of health tips from doctors themselves and free answers by doctors to questions asked on the platform. This prevents users from getting bogged down by information not much of their interest.

Besides, when users ask queries on the platform, they do not know which doctor is best suited for them. Machine learning fixes this issue by deciphering users’ queries across more than 15 parameters in real time and help them get answers from relevant doctors.

In the times of information overload, customized solutions are important for patient engagement.

How Lybrate is making healthcare learning fun and engaging which otherwise is a boring subject?

Health is a very dull subject and people do not become serious about health until they are sick. It is this reason why people in India fair poorly on preventive mindset towards health. Making healthcare engaging is absolutely essential for people to take their health more seriously. Working on this insight, we innovated to make health engaging.

Lybrate empowers users to access ‘doctor-validated’, customized health information. Rather than getting bogged down by sea of unauthenticated content available otherwise, users find accurate and valid content on Lybrate in the form of Lybrate’s unique Health Feed, comprising of health tips from doctors themselves.

Basis users interactions over time, systems learn preferences of users and customize content for each one of them depending upon their interest of health topics. Such customizations are important for engagement, inculcate healthy habits and encourage preventive mindsets among Indians. The authenticated health content and customization are the key of user engagement on Lybrate platform.

Today, Lybrate is the biggest source of medically curated content with 5 million monthly interactions on the platform.

How Lybrate unlike other companies has grown its doctorbase without engaging in door to door acquisitions?

Our core is product and technology. We focus on building systems and processes that can scale using product and technology. When we started, almost all the marketplaces had built supply side of the market by going door to door. We did not have the skillset neither the inclination to adopt this labor-intensive model. So we innovated to introduce unique doctor-recommending-doctor (D2D) model. And for the first time ever, doctors are able to recommend other doctors, and this viral loop is part of our product itself.

This has been our number one source of getting doctors on-board. The whole verification process of doctors is also built in-house and is completely online. Till date, we don’t have a single field sales person on street to on-board doctors.

Future plans of Lybrate

We have been witnessing good traction in Tier 2 and 3 cities. We have identified that bridging the language gap will further drive adoption. Towards this year end, we will introduce language options on the platform so that becomes easier for patients to communicate with doctors, and benefit from Lybrate’s unique Health Feed.

Funding Plans

We are not actively looking to raise funds. However, if we come across a like-minded partner who believes in our mission and vision, we will open to exploring the opportunity.

Market size & opportunity and how much of the market has Lybrate captured?

Online healthcare in India is in a very nascent stage. The awareness about online platforms that serve different healthcare needs of people is limited yet to a certain section of the urban population. Growing adoption of smartphones and internet penetration, coupled with more awareness, will push the usage of the platforms. Because this is very early, the scope of market opportunity is immense and the future is certainly bright.

In online consultation particularly, Lybrate has more than 95% market share with more than 5 million interactions taking place on the platform a month.

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Saurabh Arora Lybrate India Startups Online Healthcare

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