Medical equipment industry in India is still in the developing stage. As per data, approximately 80% of the medical equipment used in India is imported. The selling and general distribution expenses in the medical equipment industry in India are very high. The industry suffers from huge information asymmetry, lack of transparency and trust between buyers and sellers. Hospitals, on the other hand, are constantly looking for affordable, reliable medical equipment and services. PrimedeQ, a Bangalore based startup is working to bring a positive difference in the medical equipment industry by making buying, selling and renting of medical equipment easily.
- Startup Name-PrimedeQ
- Founders-Shanthi Mathur & Achudhan Mani
- Sector-Healthcare/ Medical Equipment
- Parent Organization-PrimedeQ India Pvt. Ltd.
PrimedeQ is India’s first e-Marketplace for Medical Equipment, connecting Healthcare Providers, Medical Equipment Sellers & Service Providers all on one integrated platform. Hospitals can Buy, Sell or rent equipment, get medical equipment serviced and buy spares & accessories – New or Used.
PrimedeQ aims to provide access to multiple affordable, good quality medical equipment options to buyers. It aims to bring down selling costs considerably for sellers through its virtual platform.
We are a one-stop destination for all things related to medical equipment. Such a platform does not exist today in India. Our short-term vision is to create as large a network, with a comprehensive portfolio of products and services as possible in Southern India. In the long-term, we will be #1 expert-Marketplace for medical equipment in India.
Medical Equipment Industry Details
Medical equipment and devices market in India is about $5.2Bn growing at a CAGR of 15%. Including after- sales market the total market is estimated to exceed $6.5Bn. The industry is not only expected to grow beyond US$10-12Bn in the next 5 years. But more importantly, it is expected that there will be an increase in participation and market share for Indian Manufacturers.
Founders of PrimedeQ and Team
Shanthi Mathur and Achudhan Mani are the founders of PrimedeQ.
Shanthi Mathur is the CEO of PrimedeQ. She has two decades of experience as a management professional in the healthcare domain. She has worked with organizations like ICICI, Max Healthcare, Asian Heart Institute, IBM India, Vaatsalya Healthcare and others in Leadership positions, before becoming a consultant in the area of performance excellence and data analytics.
At PrimedeQ, Shanthi looks after the Sales, digital marketing, technology, finance, HR areas and also other areas if and when needed.
Achudhan Mani is the director of PrimedeQ. He is the MD of Avanttec Medical Systems, a serial entrepreneur with more than 33 years of experience in the medical equipment field. Achudhan and Shanthi met through common contacts. Achudhan was inspired by Shanthi’s idea and so he joined Shanthi in founding PrimedeQ.
As Achudhan puts it "There is not a corner of the TN state that I have not traveled to, for selling and servicing medical equipment and yet, in general, the conversion rate is hardly 2%. I am tired of chasing customers for business... for once I want the genuine ones to call us”. Achudhan strongly believes in the power of Social Media/Digital Marketing and that e-commerce technology is the future of the growing medical equipment market
The other core member of PrimedeQ team is Dr. Sakshi Khandelwal. She is the Chief Officer eMarketplace at PrimedeQ. Sakshi is a dentist and Master of Health Administration by qualifications. Before becoming a consultant in the performance management and data analytics areas, she worked in the hospital management area for more than 6 years.
Dr. Sakshi is in charge of all day-to-day operations in PrimedeQ, including customer care and vendor alliances.
PrimedeQ has a 10-member team largely consisting of eMarketplace operations, bio-medical servicing and field sales teams.
How was PrimedeQ Started
The problem PrimedeQ is solving one which the Indian healthcare sector has been facing for ages. Shanthi was working with a chain of hospitals in tier-2 and tier-3 towns in Karnataka in 2014. She noticed that there were many instances where equipment break-down and go un-serviced for weeks.
Hospitals in smaller towns prefer to buy used/refurbished equipment as they have budgetary constraints. However, they have very limited options when they want to buy used equipment. In most instances, they know just a few refurbishers or agents and have to pay much higher. Again, when hospitals want to sell equipment they get a bad deal because their access to potential buyers is extremely limited.
“What if selling and buying hospitals could easily find each other in a large network? Both would get a more profitable deal. What if the same network could help find a service provider when the machine is down?” Such questions kept coming to Shanthi’s mind as she wanted to do something to solve this grim issue that the hospitals are facing.
A few years ago, a colleague of mine called up about a hospital who wanted to sell all its equipment just two-years after starting, since they couldn’t get enough business. They had very few offers, hardly recovering 40% of the cost. I could not help them at that time but eventually heard that they sold the whole lot for less than 1/3rd the cost after holding on for another two-years and incurring more losses. I thought if Flipkart, Amazon, OLX, Cars24, etc. could do similar things using e-commerce technology; why not create a platform dedicated to medical equipment.
Shanti started discussing a few ideas with a couple of ex-colleagues and discovered that 20-30% of the medical equipment market is for used/ refurbished equipment. This was huge but largely unorganized. Often when hospitals are unable to run and wish to close-down, they don’t have access to many potential buyers. It is all word-of-mouth still in this e-commerce era. This is what triggered-off the idea of launching an e-commerce platform dedicated to medical equipment and providing hospitals with multiple options when it comes to buying or selling. At the same time, everyone was clear that no equipment business could be successful without proper after-sales support and servicing. Hence the idea of a complete e-marketplace including service-support was formed.
PrimedeQ - Name and Logo
PrimedeQ is a shortened form of Primary Marketplace for Medical Equipment.
We designed the last letter ‘q’ to look like an MRI machine. Funny thing is contrary to our expectations however people pronounce the name as Primede – Q
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What is PrimedeQ
PrimedeQ is an e-marketplace for medical equipment. It aggregates products and services and connects buyers to sellers in the most convenient and cost-effective manner at the same time offering unbiased information and expertise helping them make the right decision.
PrimedeQ deals in both new and used medical equipment. Besides PrimedeQ also has spares and accessories related to medical equipment. A user can rent medical equipment and also get repairing and maintenance services through PrimedeQ. The company plans to introduce an ‘Auction’ section on its website. PrimedeQ has teamed-up with Kennovation Software Services to develop the portal.
Some USPs of PrimedeQ are-
- Bridges information asymmetry/gap
- Aggregates and provides expertise
- Authenticates buyers/sellers
- Provides transparency in pricing/charges
- Provides an end-to-end total solution
More than 90% of the hospitals in the country are small-and-medium sized, doctor-promoter lead, looking for affordable equipment and reliable third-party servicing options. As more and more hospital capacities are coming up in smaller towns’ access to quality products and reliable services are getting even more difficult. What is more, the medical equipment after-market is highly fragmented and un-organized in India. Sellers and competent service providers operate in their niche within limited geographic areas and do not have a strong digital presence. The younger generation of doctors is increasingly turning to the internet to look for solutions.
PrimedeQ - Launching Startup
PrimedeQ launched its startup in Bangalore. The first 18-months of its geographic presence was limited to Karnataka and slowly expanded to entire Southern India. Partnerships with equipment and spares suppliers are the key to PrimedeQ’s growth strategy. The company is also continuing to grow its portfolio of equipment through newer partnerships.
As e-Marketplace, PrimedeQ has a virtual presence and it matters less where we are physically based out of. Due to our virtual presence, we are already getting inquiries and servicing customers, not only from all over the country but also from overseas.
PrimedeQ - Business Model and Revenue Model
PrimedeQ has a well-planned revenue model. It earns revenue from the following sources
- Equipment Sale
- Repair & Maintenance Services
- Spares & Accessories Sale
PrimedeQ offers all equipment required by a typical secondary care hospital such as OT, ICU/Critical Care, Emergency, OPD, IPD, Sterilization, Physiotherapy, etc., including products for home care. This includes anything from an ECG machine to MRI, NiBP cuff to CT Tube. Pricing ranges from a ₹1000/- for a spare part to a couple of Crores for a used MRI machine. It charges a commission for the sale of equipment and Spares.
PrimedeQ - Funding and Investors
Presently the founders have brought in Rs 10 million. PrimedeQ is planning to raise funds by the end of this financial year.
PrimedeQ - User Acquisition
PrimedeQ started with a Hybrid model (i.e online portal as well as on-field marketing). It initially spread the word 100% through on-field marketing team, participation in events and also Google Adwords. In the past 2-years, PrimedeQ’s digital presence has strengthened and from less than 10% of its leads coming from online channels, it is now more than 50%.
The company was able to acquire the first 100 customers in 15 months, with nearly 1/3rd being repeat customers. The two features of PrimedeQ which has acquired much popularity among the customers are-
Ability to sell used equipment directly to another hospital/doctor, with minimal intermediary charges and total transparency in the pricing.
One-stop-destination nature of its model – encourages customers to seek us for anything related to medical equipment, which they don’t know whom to reach out to.
From the beginning, we have stayed focused on the used/ refurbished equipment market which constitutes nearly 20-30% of the market and is arguably the low-hanging fruit. As an eMarketplace, a strong digital presence is critical and for a strong digital presence, good content is crucial. We are a one-stop destination for all things related to medical equipment. This means PrimedeQ is a go-to point for any medical equipment, service or spares. We are augmenting online content and features for equipment valuations, comparison and purchase decision support.
PrimedeQ - Startup Challenges
In B2B, customers expect credit, and the biggest challenge that PrimedeQ has faced has been in payment collections, delays, constant follow-ups, dis-honored cheques, etc. To solve the issue, PrimedeQ is avoiding credit business with first-time customers.
PrimedeQ is also fighting a perception bias. Many people feel that PrimedeQ is a premature concept and the industry is yet not ready for online purchase of medical equipment, which is not true. The younger generation of doctors are very IT-savvy and comfortable searching for equipment online and PrimedeQ is getting more than 100+ relevant inquiries/ month online alone. Close to 50% of its customers (specifically doctors) search for equipment online through smart-phones and many specifically requested for an App.
For those who believe that online shopping of medical equipment cannot gain popularity in India, Shanthi says that “The same logic was advanced for Flipkart, MakeMyTrip or Cars24. So, every idea sounds crazy until we do it. The customer behavior is changing fast and I strongly believe, time is ripe for leveraging latest technologies including AI, Blockchain and 3D-printing in this field and bring about disruptive transformation”
PrimedeQ - Competitors
There is no platform exactly like PrimedeQ, which is focused only on medical equipment and positioned as a one-stop destination. However, there are existing medical equipment companies with a minimal digital presence or e-commerce players who among other things also sell medical equipment. Some portals selling medical equipment that poses competition for PrimedeQ are Amazon, eBay, Medikabazaar, Colmed, Industrybuying, MedicoMart, IndiaMart OLX, Quikr, etc.
None of these players actively offer medical equipment servicing like PrimedeQ. Worldwide there are organizations like Dotmed, Medwow, etc, focused only on medical equipment who are doing well.
We get several inquiries from customers who have purchased oxygen concentrators from say Portea but need to now sell their used ones. They put it up either in OLX or PrimedeQ. Or say they have purchased a Bi-PAP machine, which is not working – they approach us for repair.
PrimedeQ - Advisors and Mentors
PrimedeQ is being mentored by KN Moorthy, ex-Regional Service Manager, GE Healthcare and Mr. Mukul Mathur, Vice President – IBM Systems Channels and Distribution, Asia Pacific.
PrimedeQ - Growth
PrimedeQ has received tremendous response from the hospitals. Currently, it has over 2500 registered customers (approx. 20% of South India market) and done business with 100+ customers in 38 different towns across the 5 Southern States. More than 30% are repeat customers, while 7-8% of the inquiries it receives are from overseas.
"There have been hospitals whom we met in our early days who did not do any business with us then but are now approaching us with confidence. Response from hospitals has been extremely positive. Many of them went on to say this is the need of the hour. But the strongest validation is that they pay. There are no discounts and freebies. We get market rates" Shanthi says.
PrimedeQ - Future Plans
PrimedeQ’s Plan for the next 2 years is to improve penetration in the regions it operates and augment its range of equipment & spares. It will also offer equipment valuation and purchase decision support online in the medium term.