[This article is a part of our First Person series, in which people share their stories and thoughts about startups, lives and careers.]
Coming from a business family, I was always exposed to the challenging life of entrepreneurs’ right from my childhood days. My passion for the healthcare space was developed courtesy the roots of my family business of owning a pharmaceutical chain in my hometown Kolkata. As far as I can remember, I was always surrounded by people who were strong players into the pharmaceutical chain in India giving me ample insights into this exciting business. I witnessed firsthand, the various inefficiencies in the market be it the unorganized working relationships of super stockists and retailers, or be it the compromised quality of drugs in circulation in the Industry.
Charged up on bridging the gap in the highly fragmented healthcare space, I was hellbent on pursuing a career in this industry and put my ideas to implementation. After pursuing my B.Tech from IIT Varanasi, I joined Deloitte as a healthcare consultant which gave me the opportunity to work with several esteemed healthcare clients across US and Europe. Being exposed to the inner workings of the industry at a global scale helped me develop my professional skills and empowered me with invaluable knowledge and see how advanced these foreign counterparts were compared to the Indian ecosystem. Post working with Deloitte for a couple of years,I decided to pursue my MBA from Lancaster University, United Kingdom in order to hone my business and entrepreneurial skills. Later, I joined 10EQS Consulting, Germany to further hone my understanding with the big Pharma Manufacturers based out of Germany. With them I specialized in new territory discovery and operational setup for clients like Novartis, Pfizer etc.
Having gathered enough knowledge in the healthcare space I turned my eyes back to India to try my hand at working in a start up environment and gauge my ability to do something similar in the future. On my return, I joined one of the big startups, Quikr, as their South India head and led operations including business development for their southern markets. I later moved on to Grabhouse as their Chief Business Officer (CBO) where-I led the operations from scratch, finding new business avenues, expansion in new cities, revenue generation and setting BTL activities.
Working with these two start-ups really opened me to the fast paced environment that I was getting increasingly addicted to. I realized I was still missing something and the real accomplishments were not yet there.I was at the end of a forked road at this point, and I knew I had a tough decision to make in terms of my career path. On one end I had a stable and secure cocoon that I had carved out for myself and on the other end I had the desire to spread out my wings and take a plunge.I decided it’s the right time to test the waters and see if I had what it takes to start up my own venture.This was the time when I was in casual talks with my future co-founders Ritu Singh and Aditya Kandoi about starting something into healthcare. Having worked with both Ritu and Aditya in the past I knew I would not find better co-founders,who could bring value and expertise into the business and shared the same entrepreneurship fire that I had. Ritu came with a strong experience into Marketing and Aditya was the Technology and analytics expert, who had previously worked will all major Banks across the country.
Due to my family background in pharmaceutical industry, I was well-versed with the challenges being faced in the traditional business. We came up with the idea of building a network of branded stores, which could provide a seamless consumer experience through technology. This is when CareOnGo , India’s first 24×7 operational mobile co-branded pharmacy chain was born. Through the platform, we help the local pharmacy stores in procurement, management and sales, all being technology-driven. We not only help local pharmacies in their incremental sales by opening the online sales channel but also in B2B bulk procurement from wholesalers and manufacturers for better efficiencies in the chain. We also provide analytics platform ‘Pharmalytics’ which helps retailers in predictive inventory and real time stock management.
With our combined business acumen and experience, I believe we can definitely bring a positive change in this industry. As the famous quote goes “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”, me along with my co-founders are geared up for a long, challenging yet fulfilling journey of building a very strong company.
[ This article is written by Yogesh Agarwal, Co-Founder, CareOnGo, India’s first chain of co-branded pharmacy stores.]