In early 2015, Naishadh’s father was diagnosed with tuberculosis arising from diabetes leading to compromised immunity. While researching on why this happened to his father, Naishadh realised that lack of regular medication and care management is leading many Indians to ill-health, poor quality of life and even early mortality from chronic illnesses.
India, for long, has had “the dubious distinction of being termed the ‘coronary heard disease and diabetes capital of the world’”. And, as exemplified by Naishadh’s father’s case, it cuts across income groups, education and awareness. For Type-2 diabetes (which is more than 80% of the total diabetic population), the condition is associated with lifestyle – it can be caused by poor diet and low activity, it can be managed with regular care and medication, and it deteriorates if the latter is not maintained. And so, as Naishadh realised, his father’s tuberculosis could have been prevented.
Naishadh discussed this problem with his friend and then colleague at Bain & Co., Aayush. Both of Aayush’s parents were also either diabetic or hypertensive, although younger. Around the same time, he spoke to Nandit, who was his friend from IIM Calcutta, and had been working with Unilever. Nandit had lost his grandmother to diabetes complications. Thus, between them, they had seen first hand different life stages of typical chronic patients.
Around August 2015, these three set out to work on a very clear objective – they wanted to build a service that gave chronic patients (1.) absolute convenience in achieving (2.) better outcomes and yet have (3.) best-in class savings, on every single aspect of their healthcare management.
Aayush spoke with several college friends he used to work with, and collaborated with a lot of them over the next few months. Among them, Ashish – his tech collaborator when he was coordinator for IIT Delhi’s cultural festival – took up serious interest. Ashish had been through the experience of running a start-up previously. He soon joined their team, and at the start of 2016, they launched Aermed – a chronic condition management service. Through one mobile application, patients can manage all aspects of chronic healthcare.
Within two months, the Aermed app has had over 1300 downloads in just Delhi, with a turnover of over Rs. 10,00,000 on medicines and lab testing services. What’s more important is that over 70% of their customers have endorsed their service with repeat transactions. The team also claims that they will break even by mid-April.
The team’s belief is that these results come from Aermed being a very personalized service that rides on a centralised sourcing and delivery operation rather than a hyperlocal model, where neither reliable service nor profitability is easy to achieve. All of Aermed’s operations are run through one centralized hub in South Delhi, and the team is positive that this can easily be replicated to more such hubs across city, as well as other cities, in the future.
The team is talking to multiple investors presently, and aims to raise funds to drive growth across geographies, therapy areas, app features and channels.