In what will go down as a historic week for the Indian startup ecosystem, a third company has become a unicorn in as many days, underscoring the continued funding interest from global investors.
API Holdings, which is the parent company of online pharmacy PharmEasy, raised $350 million in a round led by Prosus Ventures and TPG Growth. The company did not disclose the valuation but sources said it was closed at $1.5 billion, making it the seventh unicorn to emerge from India this year.
“I am particularly proud that we have been able to not only provide consumers with much faster and easier access to the healthcare products and services they need but that we have been able to do so by empowering and digitizing 60,000 small pharmacy stores that provide such an essential service to the Indian public,” said Siddharth Shah, API Holdings Co-Founder and CEO.
Social commerce startup Meesho and fintech platform CRED became unicorns—a privately funded firm with valuation of over a billion dollars—this week, the others who made the list this year include Digit Insurance, Innovaccer, Infra.market and Five Star Business Finance.
PharmEasy said it will use new funds to deepen market engagement to over 100,000 pharmacies and over 20 million patients annually across the company's platforms.
The startup said the round is a combination of primary and secondary funding totaling $323 million, with an additional $27 million executed and closing imminently, from Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) and TPG Growth.
Existing investors including Temasek, CDPQ, LGT Lightrock, Eight Roads & Think Investments also participated in the Series E round.
API Holdings’s platforms connect over 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 4,000 doctors in 16,000 pin codes across India. The platforms also provide SaaS solutions for pharmacies to use in procurement combined with delivery and logistics support, and credit solutions to buy over 200,000 medicines from more than 3,000 pharmaceutical manufacturers.
“We are always looking for big areas of consumer spend that are ripe for disruption, and outpatient healthcare in India fits perfectly within that remit. API Holdings has built a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of key players in the healthcare ecosystem in India and their platforms have the potential to become so much more over time," Ashutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments, Prosus Ventures, said.
The fast-growing online pharmacy space has seen a lot of investment and consolidation in the last year. While API Holdings received CCI approval to merge with Medlife in September last year, Reliance bought a majority stake in Netmeds.
The Tata Group is in talks to pick a majority stake in online pharmacy 1mg, even as it awaits CCI approval for its acquisition of BigBasket. Amazon, too, forayed into the online pharmacy space in Bengaluru last August, allowing customers to order prescription-based medication in addition to over-the-counter medicines.Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd, which owns Jio, is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust that controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.