1mg logo on phone screen stock image (Source: ShutterStock)
Digital health platform 1MG has inducted three new directors on its board, days after Tata Digital acquired a majority stake in it. They include CureFit founder and Tata Digital President Mukesh Bansal, BigBasket founder Hari Menon and Ankur Verma, who is a senior vice-president in the chairman's office of Tata Sons.
According to sources familiar with the development, Bansal will be the new chairman of the board. This is also his first significant appointment in a portfolio company after he joined Tata Digital as President to help lead their super app efforts.
Tata Digital announced last week that it is buying a majority stake in 1MG, the latest in a series of investments that Tata Group has made as part of a strategy to build a super app. The moves come weeks after it bought BigBasket and also announced an investment in CureFit.
According to regulatory filings sourced from Tofler, 1MG now has 7 directors, with the induction of Bansal, Menon and Verma. Its existing directors include co-founder and CEO Prashant Tandon, Matthew John Kinsella and Gaurav Agarwal. Vandana Mehrotra is listed as key management personnel.
The move to expand the board and rope in veterans from the e-commerce space will help 1MG as it prepares to compete in a fast-growing space that is seeing a lot of investment and consolidation. While API Holdings, which owns PharmEasy, recently bought Medlife and is also planning a public listing, Reliance bought a majority stake in Netmeds. 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.
Founded in 2015, 1MG is a player in the eHealth space and enables easy & affordable access to a wide range of products like medicines, health & wellness products, diagnostics services & teleconsultation to customers.
The company operates 3 diagnostics labs, has a supply chain covering over 20,000 pin codes across the country and through its subsidiaries is also engaged in the business of B2B distribution of medicines & other healthcare products.
Tata Digital had said that the investment in 1MG is in line with Tata Group’s vision of creating a digital ecosystem that addresses consumer needs across categories in a unified manner. e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics and teleconsultation are critical segments in this ecosystem and have been among the fastest growing segments in this space, as this sector enabled access to healthcare through the pandemic.
Tata Digital is also investing up to $75 million in health tech startup CureFit, subject to completion of diligence process and other approvals. CureFit Founder & CEO Mukesh Bansal, who had earlier founded Myntra, had joined Tata Digital in an executive role as President, Tata Digital and will also continue to lead CureFit.
Tata Group's ambitions for its super-app plan also got a boost with the competition regulator giving its nod for Tata Digital's acquisition of BigBasket, one of India's leading online grocery platforms.
Traditionally, Indian corporate houses have stayed away from investing or taking bold bets in valuation-driven, high loss making businesses. Startups have thus had to rely on foreign investors and funds for a majority of their funding. Investors say Tata's move may set the trend for Indian conglomerates to bet on new-age business models.
The Tata Group has huge ambitions for the e-commerce space, which is currently dominated by Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart, with Reliance Industries also expanding aggressively through JioMart.
It is building a super app under Tata Digital, with plans to add categories such as groceries, health, education, entertainment, electronics, fashion, travel, beauty and lifestyle. It also plans to leverage the strength of group companies such as Titan, Voltas, Trent, Tata Consumer Products, Tata Motors, Vistara, Tata AIG, Tata Capital and Taj Hotels, offering users an array of services in one app.