PharmEasy is the seventh unicorn of 2021 after Infra.Market, Five Star Finance, Meesho, Digit Insurance, Innovaccer, and Cred hit the milestone earlier this year. The healthtech sector witnessed its major consolidation last year when Reliance acquired digital pharmacy Netmeds in August.
The investment was led by Prosus Ventures, the venture arm of global consumer internet group Prosus based in South Africa that had earlier backed Byju’s, Swiggy, etc.
It’s been raining unicorns of late in India with the $1 billion or above valuation in 2021 and now India’s e-pharmacy segment has churned out its first unicorn startup – PharmEasy. API Holdings, the parent company of PharmEasy, has raised $350 million in its latest Series E round of funding at a valuation of $1.5 billion, a person aware of the matter told Financial Express Online. The investment was led by Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures), the venture investing arm of global consumer internet group Prosus based in South Africa that had earlier backed India’s Byju’s, Swiggy, etc. PharmEasy is the latest unicorn of 2021 after Infra.Market, Five Star Finance, Meesho, Digit Insurance, Innovaccer, and Cred hit the milestone this year. Earlier today, investment platform Groww had also turned unicorn with $83 million funding led by Tiger Global.
The new round is a combination of primary and secondary transactions with an additional $27 million executed and closing imminently, according to the company. The funding will be deployed towards market penetration to reach more than 1 lakh pharmacies in the coming 12 months. The capital will also be used to further built its platform “to provide an increased range of services to healthcare practitioners and patients, setting up a better healthcare ecosystem for all Indians.” The investment has come amid the sector’s call for notifying the e-pharmacy rules in India as soon as possible even as the digital platform has scaled significantly during the Covid period to deliver medicines and other healthcare essentials to customers.
PharmEasy declined to comment on more details around the latest investment.
The startup has access to over 60,000 brick & mortar pharmacies in India and 4,000 doctors on its platform currently. The pharmaceutical supply chain in India has around 1,000 pharmaceutical manufacturers, 55,000 distributors, sub-distributors, and 800,000 pharmacy stores. “This complex system makes it challenging for pharmacies and end consumers to get access to authentic medicines, in a timely manner and at the right price. API Holdings’ digital healthcare platforms provide a much-needed digital solution in the highly fragmented and fast-growing healthcare market in India,” the company said.
The healthtech sector witnessed its major consolidation last year when Reliance acquired digital pharmacy Netmeds in August. In September, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had approved the merger between API Holdings and rival Medlife. According to an earlier CCI filing, PharmEasy had acquired 100 per cent equity shares of Medlife while the latter’s promoters have got 19.95 per cent equity share capital in return in the merged business. PharmEasy directly competes with Reliance-backed Netmeds, 1mg, others. India’s online pharma market had a total addressable market value of around $360 million in 2019 while the total addressable chronic medicine market for online pharmacies was around $6 billion, as per Statista. This is likely to grow up to $10 billion by 2023