India's Practo takes its healthcare platform international

The Bangalore-based start-up has a near-monopoly at home. Helped by Chinese investment, it's expanding to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond.

Practo is an Indian integrated healthcare platform that covers medical appointments, consultations, health records and insurance.

Founded in 2008, the Bangalore-based healthcare company began as a simple matchmaking site for patients and nearby doctors or clinics.

As the number of doctors rose, it started to allow patients to choose doctors based on their experience as well as reviews by other patients.

Practo now runs a platform that allows doctors and clinics to advertise to relevant customers. It also helps them manage appointments and order medicines. More recently, it started managing online consultation between doctors and patients.

It also runs a question-and-answer platform that allows patients to seek medical advice. Practo’s huge client database and health records ensure its monopoly in the local market holds.

It claims to have a 90% share of the Indian market, while also operating in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil and the Middle East.

Shashank ND, Practo's CEO

In late 2015, the company started to expand into the enterprise market through acquisitions, buying healthcare intelligence provider Enlightiks for $14 million and hospital management firm Instahealth for $12 million.

Enlightiks provides advanced analytics to help healthcare companies improve efficiency, while Instahealth helps clinics and hospitals with out-patient and in-patient management, as well as automating their clinical and operational processes.

Practo is one of the few Indian companies to have attracted Chinese investment. Tencent, operator of China’s leading social messaging app WeChat, has invested in both the company’s series C and D rounds of funding, totalling $145 million.

As of January, it was valued at some $650 million. Other investors include Google, Sequoia Capital and Recruit Holdings.

Practo is one of 10 hot startups FinanceAsia will profile as part of a new series running the rule over exciting companies that are changing the game across Asia. We'll publish more such profiles in the days to come.

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