In recounting entrepreneurial stories, it is easy to get caught in the romantic narrative of the “million dollar” idea. Just the Idea is not enough! We tend to forget that in the long haul it would take an enormous amount of effort to transform that idea into reality. The idea, when being implemented is often followed by a combination of hard work, passion, determination and willingness to take those risks and make decisions outside your comfort zone. There is one such story about Medibox.
It all started around 2009 in Bangalore, when Bhavik started working for a pharma company after quitting his banking job. He worked on various projects and in different roles. On one of his business trips in 2012, when he was meeting hospital clients in and around Vijayawada, Guntur and a few other remote cities & towns, he encountered the harsh ground realities of the healthcare system, where there was a dearth of requisite medicines for patients and their families and a lack of awareness on the availability & affordability of those medicines. There were scenes of patients dying on the hospital floors and of people who yearned to live for a few more precious last moments and spend those moments with their loved ones, but couldn’t do so because of the inaccessibility of certain medicines and healthcare products at that moment.
In some cases medicines that were required by the patients were not available at the hospitals & medical outlets; in some other cases the cost of the medicines were prohibitive & beyond the reach of patients. Further in certain cases, the quality and efficacy of the medicines were in question! Many of the patients were dying because they didn’t have access to accurate information and even the pharmacists weren’t sure about the availability or authenticity of those medicines. While examining these cases, Bhavik encountered similar problems at dealers/distributors and stockists on his subsequent business trips in various parts of India. Since Bhavik had worked with contract manufacturers, hospitals, and distributors across India for a period of 3-4 years, he had established a network where he knew that such requisite medicines and healthcare products were available in specific pockets or areas in different parts of India.
These incidents had a profound impact on Bhavik. He thought that all that was required here was somebody who could connect the buyers and sellers on a common platform so that any patient who reaches out to a particular pharmacy or a hospital gets the right information on the products at any given time and where factors of affordability or availability of suppliers is not a disadvantage or a cause for concern to business entities.
This thought was the genesis of Medibox as a start-up idea, where the expectation was to serve the society, save lives and run a scalable business in the healthcare domain. He knew that such a complex problem needs a scalable and simple platform solution. In order to accomplish this, he realised the need to hone his skills. He quit his job, applied at couple of Ivy League institutes. He was chosen for a leadership and general management program at MIT Sloan, Boston where he specialized in supply chain management in pharma. He had a very clear goal right from the beginning of the program, which was – ‘To launch a B2B technology startup in India that envisions a society where no human is deprived of medicines because of accessibility or availability.’
His learning and research from various case studies, his interactions with industry veterans and a thesis on pharma supply chain, etc. shoed that over 5 Billion Dollars worth of unsold medicines, nearing expiry were burnt every year. Around 400 Million people in developing countries don’t get essential medicines on time and in India alone, because of spiraling costs of healthcare, over 10 million people are forced below the poverty line every year. The fact that there weren’t any real-time collaborative and connected platforms to address the issues of availability of medicines and healthcare products, added more pain and anguish to the traders and patients both.
Bhavik decided to solve this problem by building a B2B platform that would connect the buyers & sellers, create an efficient healthcare supply chain eco-system and ensure that the medicines reach the people who needed them the most. He required a team to help him build the concept and drive his vision. So he brought together a group of highly experienced like-minded individuals and promoters who shared his vision. Together they are building the world’s first collaborative B2B digital supply chain platform specific to pharma and healthcare products, known as Medibox.
Medibox is a B2B location-based, on-demand SaaS (software as a service) platform on cloud that enables real-time visibility and accurate information on Pharma, medical devices and allied products for healthcare business through collaborative intelligence. Buyers and Sellers of pharmaceutical and healthcare products use Medibox to discover each other, buy and sell authentic products and obtain insights to grow their respective network and “Make Medicines Available”.
Since its commercial inception in August 2016, Medibox has grown by leaps & bounds. Medibox is well on its way to fulfil its vision where no human is deprived of medicines because of accessibility or availability and positively impacting the lives of millions.