Pluss, a hyperlocal delivery startup for medicines and healthcare products, has raised $1 million (Rs 6.65 crore) in pre-Series A funding from IDG Ventures India, Singapore's M&S Partners and US-based Powerhouse Ventures.
The Gurgaon-based startup, owned by Alpinismo Online Ventures Pvt Ltd, said in a statement it plans to use the money to upgrade its technology infrastructure, expand the technology team and venture into five more cities.
The startup began operations earlier this year. Pluss is an on-demand delivery app where users can upload an image of their prescription and then select and order medicines. It also delivers baby care, pet care, personal wellness and daily essential products. The firm aims to deliver the orders within an hour.
Pluss was founded by Atit Jain, Madhulika Pandey and Tarun Lawadia. Jain graduated from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He previously co-founded Gigstart, an online platform that connects artistes and those who want to hire them, along with Pandey. His earlier stints include senior roles at Applied Mobile Labs and JP Morgan.
Pandey worked with Applied Mobile Labs, Get My Brew and Bharti Airtel before launching Pluss. Lawadia is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and previously worked with tea cafÃ© chain Chaayos and Futures First Info. Services.
The startup claims that its app subscriber base has tripled in the past three months. It claims that the order volume has grown four times since September with peak traffic of 500 orders a day. By the end of this year, the company plans to add more product categories including medical tests and surgical equipment.
Online pharmacies Ranjith Menon, executive director at IDG Ventures India Advisors, said the company's mobile-based platform lends itself to an audit trail, making it optimally placed to meet compliance norms.
The drug retail market in the country is highly fragmented with standalone chemists dominating the show. Regulations also make it a tricky business, especially for prescription medicines that are to be sold only after the customer presents a doctor's prescription.
However, the online pharmacy business has gained significant interest from venture capital firms in recent times.
In October, Net-Meds Marketplace Pvt Ltd, which runs an online pharmacy venture under Netmeds.com, received investment commitment of $50 million (Rs 325 crore) from healthcare-focused global private equity firm OrbiMed, among others. In May, Bangalore-based mid-market investment banking firm MAPE Advisory Group invested in Netmeds.
In April, Gurgaon-based Bright Lifecare Pvt Ltd rebranded its online medicine store HealthKartPlus to 1MG and spun it off into a separate company 1MG Technologies Pvt Ltd. This company separately raised $6 million (Rs 32 crore) from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Kae Capital, Intel Capital, Omidyar Network and MakeMyTrip founder Deep Kalra.
Myra Medicines, mChemist, Healthgenie, 1mgAyush.com, Deemark Health and Healthadda are some other players in this market.