In rural India, there is only one dentist for every 2,50,000 people, according to a research on the industry conducted in 2013. And even for the few dentists that are available, they lack the right equipment, tools and technology to provide services to patients in tier 2, tier 3 towns and rural areas.
This is the gap Chandrashekar Alladi and Siva Prasad noticed when they ran an implant and dental products import business. The duo got together with Prasad’s friend Sunil Kumar and founded My Dentist Choice in Hyderabad in 2014. The main idea was to be able to use the emerging ecommerce platform to reach out to doctors across the country.
My Dentist Choice is B2B ecommerce platform that caters to all kinds of dental needs of doctors. And unlike a Flipkart or Amazon, MDC is not a marketplace. The company buys all of the products from manufacturers across the world and sells them in India.
It procures nearly 7000 products across 70 brands which include dental consumables, instruments and X-ray machines. It has global manufacturers like Ivoclar Vivadent, GC Japan, Acteon, Cavex from countries like Japan, China, North Korea and the US. It also has several Indian brands on the website.
MDC purchases products and equipment from these manufacturers and sells them at a gross margin of 15% and a net margin of 6-10%.
The website sees around 750 orders being placed every month with an average ticket size of Rs 4000. It has about three lakh dentists, 300 dental colleges and 100-150 dental clinics using the platform. It is currently seeing a monthly growth of 5% in terms of customer acquisition. MDC delivers to almost every city and tier 2, tier 3 town in the country. The idea is to be able to cater to every doctor who has any form of dental need.
It counts big names like Apollo White, Dentys and Partha Dental among its clients in India.
Additionally, MDC also started training facilities on its website last year. This was started with the aim of bringing the best of technology to India and for equipping all Indian dentists with the latest technology. “Every time there is a new technology, or an advance product launched, we facilitate instructors who are experts from various countries to train senior doctors in India. These doctors then train other doctors across the country,” says Prasad.
Founding team of My Dentist Choice
With four courses conducted so far, it charges doctors for the courses and earns a margin of 20-25% through this vertical.
Prasad and his team want to make MDC an end-to-end dental solutions platform. With that intention, it recently also added a job search platform. “It is like a Monster for dental jobs. Doctors, clinics and hospitals looking for dentists can post on this platform and those fresh out of college or looking for jobs can connect with potential employers and send their resumes,” says Prasad.
The trio invested around Rs 60 lakhs into the business and raised Rs 1.1 crore rupees in angel funding from a US-based angel investor.
Now going forward, MDC is aggressively marketing its business digitally to reach out to as many doctors as possible. Currently, it is reaching out to nearly one lakh doctors on a daily basis through platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter to bring them onto MDC’s platform.
In terms of physical marketing, it is only present in Chennai and Mumbai apart from Hyderabad. It wants to expand its branding and marketing to at least 10-15 more cities to not only acquire customers but also bring vendors on board.
It is looking at an aggressive marketing plan for the metros, which will include door-to-door sales and advertising campaigns.
And to fund its aggressive expansion and marketing plan, it is looking to raise funds to the tune of at least $1-2 million. It is also looking to deploy these funds into setting up offices in newer cities and revving up its IT infrastructure. Additionally, it wants to purchase equipment and products sold on its website in bulk with the help of funding, to be able to increase its gross margins from 15% to at least 35%. Purchasing in bulk will allow MDC to buy at cheaper prices, hence improving its margins.
This, Prasad says, will help the 20-member team break even in the next six months.
Additionally, it will be expanding the number of brands on its platform and in the next one year wants to launch its own brand on consumable products called Lysko.
The aim is to reach a revenue of $20 million to $30 million by 2020.
This article has been produced with inputs from T Hub as a part of a partner program.