SastaSundar looks for pan-India expansion
Here's the tale of a 'healthy' entrepreneur
B. L. Mittal is the Founder and Executive Chairman of SastaSundar.com. He is building India’s leading digital network of healthcare, managing efficient pharma and wellness products’ supply chain. He is also connecting doctors, diagnostic services, healthcare clinics and health information services.
A firm believer of “Being Genuine” in his thoughts and action, Mittal started his career in 1992 with Birla Corporation Limited. After working for 8 years he founded Microsec Financial Services Limited. He provided phenomenal leadership by starting from three people to building a team of 800 people. Innovation is his theme for management of business, and he believes in having emotional connection with his team.
Mittal opened up in an elaborate tete e tete with Baishali Mukherjee where he delineates his journey in a lively narrative.
I came across two reports on healthcare in India. According to the FICCI report, 25 per cent of the drugs sold in India are forged. 74 per cent of the nutrition constituents widely available are replica. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated, 649 million people in India do not have regular access to essential medicines or affordable healthcare!
Being one of the biggest producers of drugs and having large pool of talented doctors, it is surprising that a major portion of the Indian population does not have access to affordable healthcare. Quite honestly, it was alarming. On my personal study, I found out that India is one of the largest producers of generic medicines and is blessed with an extremely talented pool of doctors.
The problem, I realised is big but the cause is simple, i.e., lack of connectivity. I perceived an easy solution for this which involved the leveraging of efficient digital connectivity. Therefore, to solve one of the biggest problems in India, we decided to take up this project.
We currently have three offices in Kolkata and aresetting up another office at New Delhi. More than 500 employees work in the company.
We tried to address an array of issues –
The lack of systematic health information and counselling,
Unorganised distribution system largely based on artificially created SKUs of branded generics,
Lack of connectivity between doctors, path labs, service providers, and producers with customers,
A system which works on assumptions and past experiences rather than on data and futuristic intelligence,
Lack of systematic tracking of the production, delivery and services creating a life risk model of fake drugs and services,
An environment which is relatively less focused on preventive care and wellness and defines healthcare as post disease care and pill management.
The main challenge that was faced by SastaSundar.com is to impart the idea and knowledge of healthy living. Due to multifaceted issues, there still is the challenge in propagating awareness of good health and quality living.
However, we have, to some extent, overcome the challenge of retaining loyal customers with a retention rate of 91 per cent. We are extremely happy to serve their reorders effectively. Our strategies have always been simple and transparent, for the sole benefit of our consumers. We have started a knowledge-based channel, Know Health, consisting of health articles and unique health tools. Spreading knowledge and health awareness through the digital channel is our primary focus.
Our team is super competent and efficient. They believe in strong coordination and execution. Our Core Value is “Being Child” and that has always worked for us under tough circumstances. We learn from our mistakes and continuously hone ourselves. Challenges have never startled us; rather it has motivated us to perform better every time.
We have close-knit proficient internal team with a great penchant for research. They come up with unique ideas and have developed health articles and tools with solid technological base.
Today’s digital technology has opened doors for enormous opportunities to organise and establish connectivity across the country. We, at SastaSundar.com have taken this as our mission to use knowledge and digital connectivity. My sole motivation is the idea of empowering a billion Indians with consistent healthcare in a convenient and affordable manner.
“SastaSundar” is an Indian phrase, which denotes consumers’ aspiration for high quality at low cost. The name “SastaSundar” is very close to our hearts. It establishes an emotional bond with our consumers. The purpose of SastaSundar.com is to use knowledge and digital connectivity to reduce cost.
We aim to add convenience making available high quality medicines, healthcare products and services to make life simple and happy. Our Core Value is “Being Genuine”. We maintain authenticity in all dealings with our shareholders, stakeholders and consumers. Owning a centralized inventory, we save up in ample amounts and always tend to pass on our savings to our consumers. We intend to provide them bet of services at reasonable rates.
We are an e-commerce chain and work in a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sector. Presently we have approximately 5 lac registered households with us. Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Rohto”) Japan has entered into a Capital and Business Alliance with SastaSundar Healthbuddy Limited inMay, 2017. Rohto has invested $5 million (Rs 32.4 crore) in SastaSundar Healthbuddy Limited and will make further investments as the business progresses.
SastaSundar.com is on a growth path and looking forward to a pan-India expansion. The immediate plan is to expand to Delhi, where we plan to start our operations by October 2017. Within the next five years, we see ourselves serving the entire nation with our sustainable model. Our Vision 2024 is making way for SastaSundar.com to launch and distribute Pharma and Wellness on a global scale. We intend to employ this socially impacting project of ours to change the life of millions with health and happiness.
Do you think startups like these have a bright future in a country like India?