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A Case Study on Mobile Medics Healthcare

A Case Study on Mobile Medics Healthcare


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Published by abhilashravishankar
A case study on Mobile Medics Healthcare, one of the most exciting BITSian startups to come out in recent times. Written by the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), BITS Pilani, India. [www.celbits.org]
A case study on Mobile Medics Healthcare, one of the most exciting BITSian startups to come out in recent times. Written by the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), BITS Pilani, India. [www.celbits.org]

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Published by: abhilashravishankar on Oct 03, 2008
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A Case Study on Mobile Medics Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.

The role of Business Plans in a start-up

Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership , BITS Pilani

Amruth B.R .Keerthikiran.K, Prathish Jose, A.V.S Karteek, Saurav Neel Patyal, Rachit Chandra

Introduction : Business plans have always been looked upon as the starting board for a successful business, there have been issues with teams spending a lot of time and effort to develop a business plan in the early stages of a startup. But with all the diverse opinions around a business plan, they remain an essential component of a startup and provide direction and assist teams in identifying the potential of their idea and business. But is developing a Business Plan worth the effort that goes in to it? Does it cripple the team’s flexibility while making decisions? What is the role of B-plans in getting funding, building a team and launching an enterprise? Sriram and his team were one such group of undergraduates from BITS Pilani, India who faced these questions on their way to founding their rural healthcare company – Mobile Medics Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. Mobile Medics plans It is essentially a private healthcare system that can complement the existing government infrastructure. A van equipped with testing equipment and drug supplies will carry a doctor and nurse and reach the village. They plan to charge each patient Rs.50 ($1.25) as consultation fees.The system is modeled as “treatment at doorstep”, saving the villager from the long and cumbersome journey to the major hospitals.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

During a visit to his grandparents’ village, Sriram was struck by the villagers’ dire need of basic medical amenities. The penetration of healthcare facilities was minimal to say the least. He wanted to do something, but he himself being a management student knew charity was not the way out to improve the situation. To improve the situation, he knew a sustainable business was needed. This is what started a long journey called Mobile Medics. Back then at BITS Pilani, Business plans, Start-ups were still farfetched ambitions. But, for him, the problem was too close to the heart to give up on. Here, he started to convert this problem to a business opportunity. He researched. He got information from all the sources he could think of. He talked to his professors; read all the books he could lay his hands on. BITS Pilani itself being situated in rural India helped his cause. All the information told him there was an underserved market waiting to be explored. He was trying to turn a social problem into a business venture. CONQUEST: Conquest, the national level Business Plan competition of BITS Pilani, being organized around the corner and he decided to make an executive summary out of his idea. Back then very few people knew how to write an executive summary. So, he had to take the refuge of the internet. Although, it helped him to write the summary he lacked the insight to support the assumptions made in the b-plan with credible information. This was because of the generic advice he got from the Net. To fulfill the Conquest requirement of having a minimum of three people on the team, Sriram randomly picked his team amongst his friends.

Sriram consulted the President of Center of Entrepreneurial Leadership see exhibit 5 who identified the potential of the idea and suggested that in order to make the business successful, he would need the support of the right team. After the conversation, Sriram realized the need to have a well-balanced team to handle all aspects of the business. Sriram knew knowing the importance the human resources his team would require and approached Kavikrut (Kavi), who had the network to put this team into place. The team consisting of Srikanth PNV,Amit Mirchandani, Rajashekhar MV was finally in place

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Mobile Medics was one of the six teams shortlisted for Conquest finals. Mobile Medics were assigned Anupendra Sharma as a mentor. They were exposed to less romantic but still essential facets of the business. In particular they came to understand the importance of numbers. They learnt how to read and write financial statements with ease. They also managed to fine tune their business idea and make a pitch which would over time win business plan competitions around the world. He added maturity to the financial aspect of the business model. He provided them with the rigor of thought required to consider all foreseeable effects of their business environment on their model. The team also imbibed confidence from the fact that some one so high up in the industry believed in their idea. This needed them to go back to the villages. The team conducted extensive research on ground to statistical credibility and the financial teeth to the plan. At Conquest, they were pitted against teams from IIMs, ISB and habits.in. This gave them the motivation to put in that extra effort to compete against quality teams. They being the only under-graduate team, they made up for their lack of experience with the hard work. They went into the Conquest finals with solid preparation behind them. They were very protective about their idea. Today, in hindsight Kavi says “Be open with your idea. No one can flick it, not by listening to a 30 minutes presentation or by reading a Business plan marked confidential. The best way to protect your idea is to work on it”. Conquest finals proved to be an immense learning experience for the team in terms of them learning both, how to handle the numbers as well as how to tackle ground realities while starting up. The judges added to their learning, recollects Kavi, by grilling them on their plan and providing insightful comments. The team also felt a need to be better synchronized. Starting as the underdogs, Mobile Medics proved their mettle. Eventually, it was Mobile Medics who won! They had transformed an idea into a B-plan which had won them a coveted title. Other than the prize money, the team took back a new found confidence, a richer network and lots of well learnt lessons. AFTER CONQUEST: Conquest was the watershed moment for the Mobile Medics’ B-Plan. The whole process right from the writing of the executive summary to the winning finale crystallized their idea with a potential to a business plan that went on to win competitions around the world. Truly, competitions around the world! The next step which the team took was to put in their bplan into Outrageous competition. The orginal team of CONQUEST couldn’t make it to the

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

competition due to visa clearance. So the team was headed by Anupendra, who was now very much part of the team. Since they also needed a student doing MBA in order to participate in the competition, Anupendra brought in Jordan Tongalson, who was doing his MBA at Columbia. Though the inclusion of a team member whom the team was not familiar with, brought in initial moments of apprehension, the team put themselves together to put up their plan for the competition. Jordan helped the team in scaling the idea and consolidating their financials by adding new assumptions which increased its clarity. This association with Jordan strengthened and he went on to become the CFO of the company. Following their success at Columbia, Sriram decided to put their entry into other B-Plan competitions. This took them to IIMB. The team was represented by Kavi, Sriram and Srikanth. This was their first experience outside BITS. They won the second place .this convinced them that conquest was not a stroke of luck. They started believing in their plan and presentation. So the fairy tale of few undergraduates from BITS Pilani continued. They now moved to bigger competitions with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. They submitted their B-plan to Global Social Venture Competition, New York and Asia Moot Competition , Bangkok simultaneously. Kavi, Srikanth and Sriram took the entry to Bangkok while Anupendra was representing mobile medics at GSVC. He was joined by Rustom Masalawala. His work with social ventures around the world added a lot of value and credibility to the team. Mobile Medics continued their winning streak. They won the best presentation award at The Moot. They hit the jackpot at GSVC. They earned their starting capital of USD 25,000. Getting funded by Goldman Sachs Foundation was what made the decision of starting up easier. The business plan went through quite a few major changes and innumerable refinements during the course of these competitions.

THE PLUNGE While at Mumbai, doing an internship Kavi had to take the call: to startup or not. The usually quick decision maker, Kavi took two weeks to decide. To decide Kavi tried putting a value to Mobile Medics X years down the line. Having won competitions as big as GSVC, he was high on confidence and believed that this plan had to work.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Once done with the crucial decision of taking the plunge, the team got in touch with the Business Incubator (TBI) at BITS Pilani. BITS Pilani readily agreed to allot a TBI slot to Mobile Medics and offered infrastructure and support. This made the process of starting-up all the more easier. Due to the nature of their business which involved extensive travel, Mobile Medics bought their first van . When the team came back to Pilani, they started with surveying and setting up office space. But things were not as rosy on the ground. Mobile Medics had undergone a lot of change till now. The team was always open to improvements in the B-plan even if meant reworking the entire plan. Initially, the B-plan was based on Re 1 per day per customer for holistic health care. Even after emerging as the ‘Most Outstanding Social Venture’ , once they went around and surveyed villages, they realized that a pre-paid version depends on trust and reputation which can only be built over a long period of time. This required the team to make a major modification in their revenue model where in they moved over to a post-paid approach.

A significant portion of Mobile Medics’ revenue model consisted of sales of generic drugs. Their initial plan of selling the drugs right from the van encountered a legal setback as it was not possible to get a license for selling drugs on the move. The solution to this problem was the cause of another major delay in the roll out plan. Kavi realizes that this was probably the biggest blunder Mobile Medics had committed. Ironically, none of the Business Plan competitions ever questioned them about the legal issues associated with selling drugs. Fortunately, a solution was found out and Mobile Medics moved closer to the actual roll-out. They had considered a rotation policy for the doctors where a pool of doctors from various clinics would work for Mobile Medics a day per week. Although , initial surveys of doctors in the vicinity drew a favorable response, the plan had to be scrapped because dependability of the services of the doctors was crucial during the initial phases of the operation. Though, hiring of qualified doctors was just a paragraph in their B-plan, Mobile Medics faced their biggest challenge in recruiting their first doctor. This delay set their launch back by more than three months.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Three years and numerous victories later, Mobile Medics launched their operations on the 28th of February 2007, befittingly during the Entrepreneurship Week.They plan to start their initial operations with Pilani being the hub and a van delivering healthcare to the villages in a radius of 3 kilometers. They started off with a permanent doctor and a nurse. “In the nascent stages, we plan to work out of a hub village with a few smaller villages in the vicinity to service”, says Kavikrut, COO of Mobile Medics and currently based in Pilani. He is assisted by the Mobile Medics team(see Exhibit 2).


The bridge between theory and practice could never get bigger. While the original B-Plan is impressive on paper, actually implementing it is a Herculean task. Currently the implementation phase is in its nascent stages. The actual pilot has started in February 2007 for about 4 months after which the venture will run on full steam. How they survive through the red tape, lackadaisical attitude of people, infrastructure breakdowns et al will be their greatest challenge.

“CONFIDENCE, CREDIBILTY, CONTACTS and CASH are the four C’s that the business plan gave us in launching our company” acknowledges Kavi. Without a B-plan Sriram might not have given his idea a concrete form. The amount of research and market analysis that went into the development of the B-plan helped them better evaluate the potential of their idea and understand nuances of implementation. This understanding was further strengthened during the interactions at various competitions. And with their victories at both the national and international levels, their beliefs were reinforced in the idea. It also kept them motivated during the hard times and not lose their drive. Not every great idea makes it into a great business. It is in this context that Kavi recollects how their success with the B-Plan helped them be taken seriously when they approached people for support. “No doctor would have agreed to give up his practice and go around villages with us were it not for the confidence our victories inspired in them. Our business plan gave us credibility which has been vital in our efforts to start up” says Kavi.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Another key element which B-plan competitions introduce into the team is the kind of professional network which they get to develop during the course of the competition. One of the prime reasons for the failure of startups immediately after graduation is that most of the people in the network of the founders will themselves be students and faculty who do not have an experience or stronghold in actual business arena. B-plan competitions serve as a huge value add to a startup in filling up this void. And of course, all B-plan competitions have prize money in addition to the assistance they provide for getting funding. This also added to the initial resource base which they gained during their B-plan stage and making it easy for them to kick-start their project. But all these experience they had gained during these B-plan competitions also established a set mindset in the team towards their business environment and the problems they might face. Overcoming these shortcomings and unlearning some of the elements which they gained while they were developing their B-plan was crucial in them preparing themselves for the real challenges. “You don’t get to listen to issues revolving around the psychology of a common man or the bureaucratic hassles in a B-plan competition. It is essential that teams working on their B-plan realize that their business model is to help them assess all factors which will influence their business than giving them a rulebook about how to go about building their company. This was one of the experiences which we hoped to give during Conquest” says Amruth, the then Joint Coordinator of Conquest. The initial struggle by the Mobile Medics team during incubation also revolved around understanding the psyche of their customer base which no B-plan competition could have prepared them for. Mentors, B-plan competitions and advisors can give an insight into the business world only at a conceptual level. But the details can be explored only when you get your hands dirty. And that’s what the Mobile Medics team learnt the hard way.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Exhibit 1
Winner: Conquest 2005 - The Business Challenge BITS Pilani, March 2005, Pilani, India “This is where it all started”

Runner Up: Bzzwings Business Plan Competition IIM Bangalore, Oct 2005, Bangalore, India “The journey continues”

Best Presentation Award Asia Moot Competition, April 2006, Bangkok, Thailand “We are on a roll guys!”

Winner: Eugene Lang Outrageous Business Plan Competition Columbia Business School, April 2005, New York “Even they think we are outrageous!”

Winner: Most Outstanding Social Venture of 2006

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Global Social Venture Competition, March 2006, New York “We mean business”

Exhibit 2
Sriram Gutta, Chief Marketing Officer Mr. Gutta is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Mobile Medics. He first came up with the idea of Mobile Medics, and pulled together a team on campus to write the business plan. While at BITS, he held several leadership positions including President of the Management Association, and Member of the BITS Hockey team. His interests lie in marketing. He is completing his Masters in Management Studies from BITS Pilani, while working full-time at Mobile Medics.

Kavikrut, COO Mr. Kavikrut is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Mobile Medics, being responsible for leading the operation at Pilani. He is a graduate of the MSc Tech. in Finance program from BITS Pilani. In 2006, Mr. Kavikrut was named one of 30 BITSians under the age of 30 for outstanding leadership. He worked in OTC Derivatives Management at GlobeOp Financial Services, the world’s leading automated, state-of-the-art Middle and Back-Office support services for Hedge Funds and Fund Managers. Mr. Kavikrut was the Coordinator for 100-member Department of Photography, Student Editor of BITScan Magazine and a Member of the BITS Swimming Team.

Srikanth PNV, Financial Controller Mr. Srikanth is the Controller of Mobile Medics, and a member of the team that won the first business plan competition in Pilani. His expertise lies in finance and investments. He recently worked with YES Bank, Mumbai, in the Life Sciences Corporate Banking Division. He also been actively involved with the Economics & Finance Association at BITS Pilani, spearheading many activities including publishing of their annual magazine 'Money Matters'. He is completing a

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Dual Degree with an M Sc Tech in General Studies and an M Sc Tech in Finance from BITS Pilani, while working full-time at Mobile Medics.

Anupendra Sharma , Chairman Anupendra Sharma is Co-Founder and Chairman of Mobile Medics. He is also an Investment Partner at Siemens Venture Capital, focused on investments in medical technologies and software. Prior to joining SVC, he was a Director of Mergers & Acquisitions at Siemens, focused on transactions in the Medical Sector. Mr. Sharma worked at JPMorgan and Salomon Smith Barney in Investment Banking prior to joining Siemens. Prior to investment banking, Anupendra was part of the core team that set-up Ford Motor's operations in China and India. Mr. Sharma co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at BITS Pilani, named one of the top 5 centers of entrepreneurship in India, and has mentored start-ups in the US and India. He holds an MBA from Cornell University, MS in Accounting & Finance from Manchester Business School, and Masters in Economics and Bachelor of Instrumentation Engineering from BITS Pilani. Rustom Masalawala, CEO Mr. Masalawala is Co-Founder of Mobile Medics. He is also the former Portfolio Manager of the Acumen Fund, a not-for-profit organization focused on investing models in the developing world. He currently consults to several not-for-profits and social ventures around the world, and has worked with companies in India, Africa and Latin America. Prior to joining the Acumen Fund, he worked for leading corporations including Unisys, AT&T, NEC, Panasonic and NetPilgrim. Mr. Masalawala received his MS in Computer Science from the State University of New York, as well as his BS in Physics/Mathematics and a Diploma in Business Administration from Xavier's College in India.

Jordan Tongalson, CFO Mr. Tongalson is Co-Founder & CFO of Mobile Medics. He is also an Associate at The Blackstone Group in New York. Prior to joining Blackstone, Mr. Tongalson worked in the Mergers and Acquisitions group of Siemens Corporation where he completed M&A transactions representing an aggregate value of over $5 billion. Before joining Siemens he was an analyst in the investment banking division of JP Morgan H&Q. Mr. Tongalson has over 5 years of experience in Mergers & Acquisitions and Investment Banking and he holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Chemistry from Hamilton College.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Dr. Girish Dang, CMO Dr. Dang is the former Chief Medical Officer for Ranbaxy’s Mobile Medical Unit, which was created fifteen years ago as a charitable venture and remains in existence today. He holds the record of personally treating more than 500 patients in a single day in two villages in North India. Dr. Dang is now a registered nurse and works in Boston. He holds an RN qualification from Massachusetts and an MBBS from India.

Dr. Sharib Khan, CIO Dr. Khan is the Chief Information Officer for Mobile Medics and an expert in Healthcare informatics. He is responsible for formulating and implementing the healthcare information strategy for Mobile Medics which includes electronic patient data capture and analysis for health outcomes, disease surveillance, epidemiologic profiling and enabling better clinical decision making. He is currently a research officer at Columbia University. He has consulted to the Department of Health, New York City and New York State on several health information technology initiatives and also advised healthcare software vendors. Dr. Khan completed his Masters in Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University in the City of New York. Dr. Khan holds an MBBS from the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS),Delhi.

Student Team Members Amit Mirchandani and Rajashekhar MV have been part of the Mobile Medics Team since its initial stages. They along with Sriram, Kavikrut and Srikanth have been responsible for the victories at the Business Plan Competitions in India. Both of them were instrumental in conducting the Test Runs during April 2006 at various villages near Pilani. Mr. Amit is completing a Dual Degree with an M Sc Hons in Economics and a BE Hons in Computer Science from BITS Pilani. He is currently interning with Microsoft Research Centre, Hyderabad, India.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Mr. Rajashekhar is completing a Dual Degree with an M Sc Hons in Economics and a BE Hons in Mechanical from BITS Pilani. He is currently interning with I2 Technologies, Bangalore, India.

Exhibit 3

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Exhibit 4

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

Exhibit 5
The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at BITS Pilani, was set up for that very purpose, to create entrepreneurial leaders and have a significant impact on the global entrepreneurial community.

The Center is also one of:

The Centers for Excellence at BITS Pilani The top 5 centres of Entrepreneurship among Indian Universities The founders of the National Entrepreneurship Network

The various immensely popular events held by the Center, such as Conquest, Epsilon,I4RI and Prayag have managed to create maximum impact on the student and entrepreneurial community in India.

©Étude de cas, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani.

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