Ly­brate app makes health­care ac­ces­si­ble, set to ex­pand to tier 2 and 3 cities

Voice&Data - - CONTENT - CEO, Ly­brate —Sau­rabh Arora

Health­care start-up Ly­brate has re­cently re­ceived $10.2 mil­lion fund­ing from Tiger Global Man­age­ment, Ratan Tata, Chair­man Emer­i­tus of Tata Sons, and ex­ist­ing in­vestor Nexus Ven­ture Part­ners. The com­pany claims to be the only app to de­liver 1:1 pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions be­tween pa­tients and doc­tors and to have med­i­cally cu­rated health­care in­for­ma­tion. In a con­ver­sa­tion with Voice&Data, Sau­rabh Arora, CEO, Ly­brate and a For­mer Data Sci­en­tist at Face­book, talks about the Ly­brate app and how it is con­tribut­ing to the app ecosys­tem.

Voice&Data: What type of role is Ly­brate play­ing in the app ecosys­tem of the coun­try?

Sau­rabh Arora: Ly­brate is solv­ing In­dia’s fun­da­men­tal prob­lem of health­care de­liv­ery, which is the in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity of doc­tors that gets com­pounded be­cause of de­mand-sup­ply gap of health­care pro­fes­sion­als. By con­nect­ing the doc­tors and users through the app and making them com­mu­ni­cate seam­lessly, we are in­creas­ing the pres­ence of health­care ex­perts and fix­ing the is­sue of doc­tors’ crunch in the coun­try.

The dis­tinc­tive­ness of the app is that it makes users to get their health queries an­swered anony­mously us­ing the Ques­tion-An­swer plat­form, de­signed specif­i­cally for health­care. In ad­di­tion to ad­dress­ing the prob­lem of short­age of doc­tors, the app very ef­fec­tively deals with the ram­pant is­sue of self med­i­ca­tion, in which peo­ple in the coun­try in­dulge heav­ily due to the lack of time, in­er­tia to visit a doc­tor, busy sched­ules, wait­ing time at doc­tor’s clin­ics and care­less­ness.

A sur­vey by Ly­brate showed that 52 per­cent of In­di­ans in­volve in self med­i­ca­tion and ex­pose them­selves to se­vere health risks. By pro­vid­ing peo­ple the op­tion to seek opin­ion in a con­ve­nient man­ner, the app very well cuts the preva­lence of self med­i­ca­tion.

Us­ing the app, peo­ple can get their health queries an­swered from 80,000 doc­tors from mul­ti­ple spe­cial­ties across In­dia any­time, any­where. The app helps the users in three unique ways. It en­ables them to com­mu­ni­cate with doc­tors and have mul­ti­ple opin­ions for free; ini­ti­ate one-on-one di­a­logue with them on pay­ment of pro­fes­sional fee on­line and be able to share text, photo and voice mes­sage.

The Health Feed in the form of tips from doc­tors pro­vides key in­for­ma­tion to any idle user and en­cour­ages them to stay healthy and fit. Each health tip is cat­e­go­rized un­der one of the 400 top­ics and users can choose to re­ceive health tips based on their in­ter­est and pref­er­ence.

Ly­brate is striv­ing to make health­care avail­able to ev­ery cit­i­zen of the coun­try, hav­ing a pop­u­la­tion of 1.2 bil­lion. We do not want any­body in the coun­try to re­main de­void of the very ba­sic ne­ces­sity and we are hope­ful to achieve the goal with grow­ing in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion and us­age of smart­phones.

Voice&Data: What are your key achieve­ments since your es­tab­lish­ment in 2013?

Sau­rabh Arora: We thought of do­ing some­thing very un­con­ven­tional i.e. con­nect­ing pa­tients to doc­tors via mo­bile phones and make them com­mu­ni­cate, which is now a re­al­ity.

Two years back, it was an un­easy sight to wit­ness chemists di­rectly di­ag­nos­ing the health ail­ments of peo­ple and pre­scribe medicines, for which they were not even qual­i­fied.

The root cause, on study­ing the fac­tors, turned out to be in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity of doc­tors. This was the sit­u­a­tion in ur­ban ar­eas, so the con­di­tion in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities ap­peared to be much worse, where ac­ces­si­bil­ity to doc­tors it­self is a big chal­lenge. This prompted us to find a so­lu­tion and build a plat­form where pa­tients could seam­lessly com­mu­ni­cate with doc­tors any­where, any­time.

In the last two years, we have it­er­ated and im­proved upon the app to make it more user-friendly and this con­tin­ues be an on­go­ing process.

Dur­ing the course, we have re­ceived sup­port from prom­i­nent in­vestors such as Tiger Global and Nexus Ven­ture Part­ners, and chair­man emer­i­tus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata.

The re­sponse from users as well as doc­tors has also been in­cred­i­bly over­whelm­ing. Ever since the app’s launch in Jan­uary this year, it has seen more than half a mil­lion down­loads and over 100,000 pa­tients visit the plat­form ev­ery day.

Ly­brate has over 80,000 doc­tors as­so­ci­ated with it from mul­ti­ple spe-

cial­ties and from across In­dia. The net­work of doc­tors is ex­pand­ing rapidly. Th­ese fig­ures are very en­cour­ag­ing and shows that we tread­ing in the right di­rec­tion to achieve our mis­sion of making health­care ac­ces­si­ble to all in the coun­try.

Voice&Data: What type of in­no­va­tions can we see from Ly­brate in the near fu­ture?

Sau­rabh Arora: We will soon be launch­ing the video fea­ture for pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions, along with real-time voice con­ver­sa­tions that will fur­ther ease out the way com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween users and doc­tors are tak­ing place.

Voice&Data: What is the key dif­fer­en­tia­tor in this health­care app?

Sau­rabh Arora: Ly­brate app ef­fi­ciently bridges gap be­tween pa­tients and doc­tors by let­ting them com­mu­ni­cate eas­ily. For users, it pro­vides them ac­cess to doc­tors from across In­dia, elim­i­nat­ing the one-zone geography.

Ly­brate’s plat­form also ad­dresses is­sue of self med­i­ca­tion when a user is hes­i­tant to see a doc­tor due to time con­straint or high doc­tors’ fee. It re­duces the need for pa­tients to travel for mi­nor is­sues or fol­low on care, thereby solv­ing con­ges­tion of pa­tients in hos­pi­tals. For doc­tors, it mul­ti­plies their pres­ence to dif­fer­ent ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions.

Voice&Data: Please tell us some­thing about ex­pan­sion plans in terms of mar­ket­ing, sales, lo­cal­ized con­tent etc.?

Sau­rabh Arora: Presently, 60 per­cent of Ly­brate’s users are from met­ros and the rest from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. We are look­ing to ex­pand our foot­prints in the non-met­ros fur­ther.

Voice&Data: How does the com­pany plan to use the re­cent fund­ing it raised from Tiger Global, Ratan Tata and Nexus Ven­ture Part­ners?

Sau­rabh Arora: We will uti­lize the funds to de­velop prod­uct, re­cruit tal­ent, aug­ment tech­nol­ogy and scale oper­a­tions. As Ly­brate is a tech­nol­ogy-en­abled com­pany, we will be in­vest­ing a size­able sum on en­hanc­ing it fur­ther as also on hir­ing the right peo­ple who gel with the com­pany’s vi­sion and the mis­sion of making health­care ac­ces­si­ble to all in the coun­try.

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