First-gen entrepreneurs are making healthcare accessible across ‘Bharat’
In 2014, long before the era of virtual medical consultations, Shreyans Mehta found himself looking for a way to set up an online diagnosis without having to visit a hospital. Mehta’s father, a doctor himself, had suffered from a slipped disc and couldn’t attend to patients. It was no easy feat, but eventually, Mehta managed to leverage technology for the patients to get consultations. The incident left him thinking. And it was then that the seed for Aayu was sown.
Mehta, along with his co-founders Nikhil Baheti and Saida Dhanavath, spent the next three years travelling to the rural interiors of the country – mapping 800 villages across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to find a solution to bridge the gap in health-tech across urban and rural India(Bharat). Their years of research showed that people in India’s villages often spent over Rs 1,000 just on commuting to reach a doctor, and over 92 percent of rural India struggled to get life-saving drugs. It wasn’t just a lack of medical facilities – India has one pharmacy for every 1,800 people – rather there was also an absence of health records with people.
In 2017, MedCords was founded and the trio launched Aayu with the mission to bring top-tier healthcare to smaller cities, towns and villages. From creating a health ID of the patients to maintain medical records and connecting with 5,000+ specialised doctors online to setting up a network of local retail chemist stores, Aayu soon became a one-stop answer to healthcare woes in the country.
But these entrepreneurs decided to go beyond discounts, and chose to focus on uplifting the whole economy with holistic steps. In order to break digital literacy barriers and serve even those who were not tech savvy or didn’t have access to smartphones, the startup empowered pharmacists to use their Aayu Chemist app to help people access holistic healthcare services.
Nikhil Baheti, the Co-Founder of Aayu, stated that providing a SAAS platform to the chemists has helped them modernise & serve customers not only offline but also online. With this platform, chemists can get their own website, posters to promote their store online, a ledger to keep track of their transactions, a place to add and keep a secure database of customers, and become an e-clinic. These chemists can provide accessible, easy, and quick medical care to customers. Aayu is the go-to platform for modern healthcare services in the nook and corner of Bharat.
Determined to bridge the gap Mehta first saw years ago, the Manipal Institute of Technology alumnus says, “Our motto is to add value to the existing ecosystem with technology and enable the chemist stores to become the torch bearers for delivering healthcare for Bharat.”
Saida Dhanavath, the Co-Founder of Aayu, says, People trust and can connect with their local retail chemists for online healthcare. With the help of technology, we have given a digital platform to chemists to serve their consumers. It reduces the need to travel for medical reasons, making healthcare available directly to consumers’ doorsteps.