Eka Carea startup looking to digitize Indian patients’ medical records has raised $15 million in a new funding round as it seeks to hire more engineers and bring additional doctors to its platform, which has amassed more than 30 million registered users and 5,000 physicians.
Hummingbird Ventures led the Series A round of Eka Care, with entries from the likes of 3one4Capital, Mirae Assets, Verlinvest, Aditya Birla Ventures, Binny Bansal and Rohit MA.
Founded in December 2020 by Vikalp Sahni and Deepak Tuli, who previously co-founded the travel booking platform Goibibo, Eka Care enables consumers to manage their digital health records, which doctors can access using an internal digital clinic management tool.
“I don’t see a future where you’ll continue to keep much of your health data non-digital,” Sahni said in an interview with londonbusinessblog.com.
Today, its platform enables nearly half a million chronic patients to digitally store their health records.
“If you go to a doctor and you have a medical record, the doctor has to go through every page of that record, which is impossible for anyone to read and remember,” Tuli said. “But if it’s a chart, it’s easy to remember and see… That’s the fundamental difference for a doctor.”
Headquartered in Bengaluru, Eka Care started its journey as a record-keeping app for doctors and patients. Last year, it received approval from New Delhi’s Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) to allow users to create and use their Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) and integrate the platform into the Unique Health Interface (UHI) .
The government wants ABDM to provide a unified digital health infrastructure. At the same time, ABHA works as an individual account to help consumers easily share their health data with doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and health technology companies. UHI, on the other hand, provides an interoperable IT network that allows people to connect to different healthcare providers using their ABHA identity.
“The essence of UHI and ABDM is that public health record apps will be the health vault for patients,” Sahni said. “It’s definitely what we want for the users. So it was a natural integration for us.”
Sahni said that while using ABDM is optional for users, Eka Care recommends consumers create their health IDs as it allows them to share their health records with the open ecosystem.
Eka Care also integrated the government’s CoWIN last year, allowing users to find COVID vaccination centers and store their vaccine certificates on the platform.
Going along with the government’s plan to digitize healthcare data, Eka Care has been able to attract the latest investment.
“We believe timing is critical for any major venture investment market,” Akshay Mehra, India Lead, Hummingbird Ventures, told londonbusinessblog.com. “In this case, with the help of or through the government pushing ABDM, we thought the Eka team is well positioned to execute that strategy.”
Mehra also pointed to Sahni’s previous experience working with the government – where he was part of the team that worked behind India’s contact tracing app Aarogya Setu – as one of the reasons that convinced Hummingbird Ventures to make the investment decision. .
“Outside the competition, we don’t want to name players, of course, but their patient-first approach is the hardest to crack,” he said.
A number of companies have embraced the government’s digitization plan in recent quarters and have started offering solutions based on the UHI. These include players such as DRiefcase, Docon and Bajaj Finserv Health.
Without explicitly naming competitors, Sahni told londonbusinessblog.com that many players still view health as a transaction. “We will be at least 50x more in terms of our MAUs, DAUs and total number of users using our platform,” he said.
The executive also pointed out that Eka Care has both patients and physicians on its platform, providing a competitive advantage over similar healthcare offerings. “Somehow, our broader technology lead has allowed us to take advantage of the tailwind, which is the best in the market from CoWIN, ABDM,” said Sahni.
Eka Care claims to have become the largest repository of medical records in India, with over 30 million health records and 1.6 million ABHAs.
In addition to supporting the government ecosystem, the company offers a Gmail integration to store medical records directly from emails. It also allows users to upload medical documents via WhatsApp or by clicking on their photos. Eka Care’s mobile app also includes a heart rate monitor function that uses the smartphone’s camera to suggest the heart rate.
Keeping sensitive medical records on a digital platform often raises questions about the security and privacy of users. Eka Care claims that it ensures users’ safety by taking multiple measures.
“We have some really good people in our technical team. They did a good job. Many of these guys have also worked with me at Aarogya Setu and Goibibo,” said Sahni. “I have never seen more hacking attempts in my life than on Aarogya Setu during my period. And luckily all the lessons we have learned can now be put on Eka Care.”
The company also works with outside agencies and has an internal security and anonymization team to ensure the safety of user data, he said.
“There is an external agency that we have engaged. They do penetration tests on our systems every month,” says Sahni. “They test us as a hacker like white hat hackers externally and try to warn us early that we have done.”
Eka Care too claims that it never rents or sells users “information or data to anyone” and never uses or transfers its user data “for the display of advertisements, including retargeting, personalized or interest-based advertising.”
At the moment, Eka Care works with a subscription model to generate revenue. It sells subscriptions to doctors to allow them to connect with their patients and keep their records digitally on the platform.
“Our goal is for the doctor to finish typing in the electronic medical record (EMR) in less than 30 seconds. The rest of the time they just need to talk to the patient, understand more about him/her and give him more confidence,” Tuli said.
Eka Care plans to expand its revenue model and explore more opportunities to monetize its offerings. Some of the funding it has received in the new round is intended to be used specifically for money-making experiments.
“If consumers are not willing to pay, insurance companies may be willing to pay because they are buying insurance. So there are a lot of possibilities,” Sahni said.
Eka Care also plans to expand its workforce, which currently consists of approximately 100 people, by hiring more engineers and accelerating the process of physician onboarding. It has its sales force in 14 cities, including second-rate cities and subways, for doctors on board. However, there are plans to extend that reach to new cities.
With the new funding, Eka Care has raised a total of $19.8 million – including $4.8 million before the current round. The exact valuation of the company after the new financing has not yet been disclosed. However, Tuli said it would be closer to “three-digit million dollars.”
“In Vikalp and Deepak, we support an exceptional team that has experience and expertise in building and scaling digital platforms,” said Ashish Dave, CEO, Mirae Asset Venture Investments (India), in a statement.