The Next Unicorn in India May Be CDC-Backed Startup Medikabazaar

  • Medikabazaar plans to have an IPO in three years, CEO says
  • Digital platform supplies some of India’s biggest hospitals

Medikabazaar, an online platform selling medical supplies and equipment to some of India’s biggest hospital chains, aims to hit a $1 billion valuation within the next three to six months as it taps into an e-commerce funding boom in the country.

The parent company Boston Ivy Healthcare Solutions Pvt. expects to reach unicorn status by the end of its next round of series-D financing for about $150 to $200 million, according to Chief Executive Officer Vivek Tiwari. In three years the firm may publicly list in India or in the U.S. through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, he added. 

“We need to give some time to build the business,” 41-year-old Tiwari, who is also co-founder, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Mumbai. “But maybe in three to six months we will start our activity on fund raising.”

Tiwari’s startup is riding a surge in financing focused on Indian e-commerce and technology companies. Venture capital firms have stepped up investments and IPOs in the country are on track to reach record levels this year. Founded six years ago in a one-room office in India’s financial capital, Medikabazaar has since grown to a 650-employee digital marketplace and procurement system, attempting to simplify the country’s disorganized health-care supply network. 

“There’s a lot of fragmentation and the entire distribution chain is quite broken, you have so many intermediaries or players in between,” Tiwari said. “There’s huge supply chain inefficiency, which is essentially driving a lot of challenges in terms of medical care.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated India’s shift to online business, benefitting platforms such as Medikabazaar, which raised $75 million in September and drew in backers including the U.K. government-owned development fund CDC Group Plc.

That capital will fuel the company’s expansion from 30 Indian cities to 55 within nine months, as well as help it branch into the Middle East and North Africa, Tiwari said. To attract large global funds it will help if Medikabazaar can show it “replicated this model to some other geography,” he said.

The firm’s gross merchandise value is expected to reach $700 million by March from $400 million currently. The company also plans to double its staffing by the end of the financial year.

The article was published in the November 2021 on entrackr.com

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