Would a school project ever make millions? Well, this one did. From idea to success, the story of Siddharth Shah, Co-Founder & CEO of API Holdings and Phameasy. Who is disrupting the healthcare and media Industries by driving innovative technology and whose revenue is Skyrocketing. Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and data analytics, Shah has created a platform that streamlines the healthcare experience, making it more accessible, affordable, and efficient for patients. 

Through his flagship platform, PharmEasy created in 2014 with his other IIM alums; Shah has revolutionised how Indians access prescription medicines. With the convenience of home delivery, users can now order their medications online and have them delivered right to their doorstep. This has been particularly beneficial for elderly and disabled patients who may have difficulty travelling to a physical pharmacy. 

Siddharth Shah came from an affluent background, but unlike many wealthy youngsters who work for global financial firms to gain experience before joining their family businesses, Siddharth did not pursue this path. His parents, who supported him in becoming a three-time national go-karting champion during his school days, gave him the freedom to choose his own career path. While his initial aspiration was to become a race-car driver, he studied computer engineering in college and later secured admission to IIM-Ahmedabad at the age of 21. As part of the management program, all students were required to develop a business plan, submit it for grading, and participate in campus placements.

“My professor Anil Gupta told me, ‘Instead of a project plan, why don’t you float a company and show how to run it?’ I registered a company, DialHealth, a concept for India’s first online pharmacy. That is how the story began,” says Shah. After a two-month mandatory internship with Goldman Sachs, he opted out of the placement process and decided to start his own business. “My mindset was never fit for a job. I thought if I got a fat job, my mind might get used to its pleasures and comforts. I did not want that to happen,” he says. 

The aim was to provide a one-stop-shop for healthcare products and services; that’s where API Holdings was born, which is the parent company of PharmEasy. Its journey was not an easy one. In the initial years, the company faced many challenges, including regulatory hurdles and competition from established players in the market. However, Siddharth Shah’s leadership skills and determination helped the company overcome these challenges and establish itself as a leading player in the digital healthcare sector. 

Under Siddharth Shah’s leadership, API Holdings has grown significantly. Today, the company has a presence in more than 100 cities across India and serves more than 50 lakh customers. The company has also raised significant funding from top investors, including Temasek, TPG, and Prosus Ventures. Apart from PharmEasy, API Holdings also operates other businesses in the healthcare sector, including diagnostics, teleconsultation, and e-consultation. The company aims to provide its customers a complete healthcare ecosystem that is convenient, affordable, and accessible. API Holdings has formed strategic partnerships with several companies to expand its offerings in the healthcare sector. 

In August 2021, the company announced a partnership with Tata Digital, the digital arm of Tata Sons, to build a super app that will offer a range of services, including healthcare, education, and financial services. Then in July, API Holdings went public with an IPO that was oversubscribed by more than 83 times. The IPO raised INR 4,000 crores ($540 million) for the company and was one of the biggest IPOs in India’s digital healthcare sector. As a natural progression Pharmeasy with the objective of making healthcare accessible in India. When clothes, phones, furniture, and even food pivoted from offline to online, it was ironic that consumers would have to rely on the local chemist for their medicines, a rather basic need. 

It was a common practice for people to visit multiple pharmacies in search of prescribed medicines that were out of stock. PharmEasy identified this as an opportunity and started offering affordable online medicine sales to a ready customer base as smartphones became widespread and broadband rates plummeted. However, the company had to quickly address two significant obstacles – building trust and gaining wider acceptance. In just one year, the platform successfully garnered the trust of over 105 million Indians and doubled its efforts to attract new users, retain existing ones, and increase app downloads. According to Mr. Shah, platforms such as Facebook played a crucial role in achieving scale and rapid performance. PharmEasy now caters to over 18,000 zip codes across India, including rural areas.

PharmEasy became India’s largest e-pharmacy after the acquisition of its rival, Medlife, which has been the first Indian e-pharmacy start-up to enter the unicorn club. The Thyrocare deal, backed by many leading private equity entities, has doubled its valuation to over Rs 30,000 crore ($4 billion); according to sources, Siddharth Shah’s net worth was estimated to be around $500 million. 

This estimation is based on his ownership stake in API Holdings, which is the parent company of PharmEasy. As the company has raised significant funding from top investors and went public with an oversubscribed IPO in July 2021, it has resulted in a significant increase in the valuation of the company and potentially increased the net worth of its co-founders, including Siddharth Shah. 

Siddharth Shah’s IIM journey significantly shaped his career and provided him with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in the business world. His experience at McKinsey and Baring Private Equity Partners and his role at Piramal Healthcare prepared him to take on the challenges of entrepreneurship and build a successful healthcare technology company.

Not only that, but he is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs in India. He has shown that it is possible to build a successful start-up from scratch with the right skills, determination, and vision. His leadership skills and business acumen have helped API Holdings become a leading player in the digital healthcare sector in India. Siddharth Shah’s journey is a testament to the fact that anyone can achieve their dream with hard work and perseverance. 

Source: businesstoday.in/magazine/corporate/story/champ-in-the-making-301993-2021-07-22

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