Meena Ganesh

Meena Ganesh’s lat­est home med­i­cal care start-up is go­ing places.

Business Today - - CONTENTS - By GOUTAM DAS MEENA GANESH Co- founder & CEO, Portea Med­i­cal WHY SHE MAT­TERS Founded, led and co-pro­moted some of In­dia’s most dis­rup­tive start-ups

InMay this year, Meena Ganesh co-au­thored a book, ‘The Man­ual for In­dian Start-ups’, a guide to start­ing a busi­ness. Her short pro­file, pub­lished in the book, did a rea­son­able job of in­tro­duc­ing her: “Founded and led, co-pro­moted, some of In­dia’s most dis­rup­tive start-ups, in­clud­ing Portea Med­i­cal, Cus­tomerAs­set, Tu­tor Vista, BigBas­ket, Blue­stone, FreshMenu, AcadGild, Avagmah, among oth­ers.” What it did not say was that Meena, and her in­vestor hus­band K. Ganesh, are mas­ters of scal­ing up busi­nesses as well as suc­cess­fully ex­it­ing them. Meena Ganesh sold her first start-up, BPO com­pany Cus­tomerAs­set, to ICICI. She also co-pro­moted

Tu­torVista, which was ac­quired by global ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices com­pany Pear­son for $213 mil­lion in one of the largest deals in the In­dian ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. As the CEO of Portea Med­i­cal, her lat­est start-up, she has again scaled up an idea few thought could work – med­i­cal ser­vices at home, ev­ery­thing from phys­io­ther­apy and nurs­ing to el­der and new born care. The idea came around 2013 when Ganesh re­alised there was a “white­space” out­side of hos­pi­tal care.

“I had ex­pe­ri­enced this with my par­ents’ health. In the hos­pi­tal, they were well cared for, but once you brought them home, you had to run from pil­lar to post to get any­thing,” she says. “That made me think. Chronic dis­eases in In­dia are on a rise and that re­quires man­age­ment. So does post-op­er­a­tive care.” She be­gan by “rolling in” a small un­funded start-up, founded by two Amer­i­cans.

Portea, says Ganesh, has grown rev­enues nearly 150 per cent in the last one year. It is clock­ing 120,000 cus­tomer vis­its a month and em­ploys 5,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing phys­io­ther­a­pists, doc­tors, nurses and tech­ni­cians. The com­pany’s ser­vices are avail­able in 18 In­dian cities. It has raised nearly $47 mil­lion ven­ture cap­i­tal from two rounds.

Ganesh, over the last one year, has ac­quired three com­pa­nies and in­te­grated them into Portea, adding new ca­pa­bil­i­ties. For in­stance, in 2016, Portea ac­quired Health Mantra, which makes rent­ing ( and buy­ing) of med­i­cal equip­ment easy. “We re­alised pa­tients needed a lot of med­i­cal equip­ment. Rent­ing or buy­ing is chal­leng­ing as lo­cal phar­ma­cies don’t keep them and you have to go to spe­cialised sur­gi­cal shops. Why would you want to buy a five- func­tion fowler bed per­ma­nently? You want it for the time the per­son is sick,” Ganesh says. “Now, we can set up an ICU at home with all mon­i­tor­ing de­vices as well as pro­vide a nurse. We of­fer so­lu­tions to cus­tomers rather than just a part – that’s how our busi­ness has changed.” ~

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