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Doctor Insta aims to disrupt healthcare with on-demand video chat with physicians

Amit Munjal, co-founder and CEO and Parshant Jain,  co-founder and Chief Health Officer, Doctor Insta

Amit Munjal, co-founder and CEO and Parshant Jain, co-founder and Chief Health Officer, Doctor Insta

Seven hundred consultations a day and Rs 10 crore in the bag at the end of 2016. This is what Doctor Insta, a healthcare startup which offers app-based voice and video medical consultations, is aiming for in its very first year of operations. And that too with only 40 doctors on its panel.

While that may seem a little ambitious at first glance, Doctor Insta has a ‘magic pill’ for that.

“We intend to generate demand and match that demand with the number of doctors needed. We are not a marketplace and so the number of doctors we want to empanel is not that important for us,” says Amit Munjal, co-founder and CEO, Doctor Insta. “We need only 30-40 doctors working 8-9 hours a day.”

Doctor Insta Pvt Ltd, which runs the app and website, has 4,000 registered users and has received 300,000 unique visitors on the site till now. The healthcare startup currently charges a flat fee of Rs 400 from patients. The startup, which had a soft launch late in 2015 recently raised A funding of $500,000 (Rs 3.31 crore) from angel investor Rishi Parti and BrahmaX Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm.

The Prescription

While random patients will form part of its customer base, Doctor Insta is banking on its B2B2C model to scale up its business via tie-ups with employers.

“We have incorporated the PMPM (per member per month) approach wherein a company will pay a very small fee and in return the employees will get a deep discount on consultations,” says Munjal.

It has roped in 10 mid-sized companies including Info X, Venus Remedies and FinEdge India, he added. Doctor Insta is also in talks with some bigger companies and aims to have 100-200 clients on board in the next one year.

The clients pay a PMPM fee of Rs 10 and as a result, the consultation rate drops to Rs 200 per consultation for employees and their dependents.

A face-to-face 10-minute consultation with a doctor at a private hospital in a metro can cost anything up to Rs 1000 in comparison.

Doctor Insta also aims to launch its services in other developing countries such as the Philippines, Brunei, Nepal, Bangladesh and African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania this year. Currently, Doctor Insta’s customers comprise people across the country as well as non-resident Indians.

According to Munjal, online healthcare startups have an addressable market estimated at $25 billion out of the $126 billion Indian healthcare industry.

Reading the pulse

Doctor Insta has a panel of physicians, pediatricians, psychologists and nutritionists available round the clock. Anyone having a sudden health issue or searching for a second opinion can access doctors via the Doctor Insta app or the web portal. Patients can connect to a doctor instantly or schedule an appointment for a call/voice chat/video chat. The fees can be paid via online payment channels Paytm and PayUmoney.

“Rising mobile and internet penetration in India has made the market mature for telemedicine in the country,” says Munjal.

Doctor Insta had billed itself as the first video-medicine company at the time of its launch. It has modified its model since then to offer phone-only consultations apart from providing consultations via video chat. It also plans to launch a new version of its app to allow patients to get their follow-up questions addressed through chat as well.

Online health options

Doctor Insta will be competing with players such as Healthenablr India Pvt Ltd, iClinic Healthcare Pvt Ltd, Welcome Cure Pvt Ltd, eVaidya Pvt Ltd and mHealth Ventures India Pvt Ltd (which runs MeraDoctor). Like Doctor Insta, eVaidya, iClinic, MeraDoctor and Healthenablr offer video chats.

While telemedicine is not new per se; it’s just that Doctor Insta is focusing on face-to-face video chats as these are more personal and credible. The phone-only consultation is mainly to connect with people where internet connectivity is poor. However, while Doctor Insta promises instant video chats, the others are mostly by appointment.

eVaidya offers a yearly subscription plan of Rs 999 giving patients unlimited access to family doctor consultation and an annual subscription plan of Rs 2,499 giving patients unlimted access to specialty doctor consultations. The company also has short-term subscription plans. Again, Lybrate works as a marketplace to help patients consult doctors through video, voice and text. The fee for a video or voice consultation is between Rs 50-Rs 5,000 depending on the doctor’s specialisation, the disease and other parameters. Lybrate also offers free unlimited text consultations.

Doctor Insta, however, is not looking at subscription plans.

The germ of an idea

Three years back while holidaying in Hawaii, Munjal who was then working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch sprained his ankle. A friend connected him to a doctor through a video call using the US-based online healthcare consultation provider Doctor on Demand’s app for first aid. The doctor over the video chat directed him to twist his ankle in ways that brought him relief. Thus was born the idea forDoctor Insta.

Booster dose

The company’s second round of funding of up to $2 million (Rs 13.26 crore) is expected in the next six months. The company is looking to use the funds for sales and marketing, Munjal says. The funds will also be used to improve its product to enable communication in languages beyond English and Hindi, Munjal says.


Prior to starting Doctor Insta, Munjal, an MBA from Indiana University-Bloomington, spearheaded investments/ divestments at a division of CitiBank. He has also worked with Deloitte Consulting and Johnson Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation & Kauffman Foundation. Co-founder Prashant Jain, who has an MBBS degree from Marathwada University, is also an MBA (Pittsburg State University), and has 16 years of experience in various fields.

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