Netmeds, the healthcare e-commerce portal known as ‘India ki Pharmacy, has acquired Delhi-based hyper-local delivery app for health and medical needs, named Pluss.
Of the deal, which involved an undisclosed amount of Netmeds stock, Netmeds CEO Pradeep Dadha said, “This acquisition makes a lot of sense for us, since it allows us to scale quicker, and shorten the delivery interval and improve efficiencies in Tier 1 Metros. This has become even more incumbent upon us, as demonetization and the move to a cashless economy combined with a robust digital mobile consumerism fuel our growth. Most importantly, we further strengthen the Netmeds talent pool with people who bring on board a rich understanding of the space and technology. They have exhibited their mettle over the past year, and have contributed in giving Pluss good traction and an impressive customer base. We look forward to working with them, integrating their innovative thinking and the goodwill they bring into our brand.
Pluss CEO and co-founder Atit Jain agreed with that sentiment. “We were being courted by a couple of big players but when it was time to pick a team, we decided to go with the undisputed leader. We felt Netmed’s unmatched legacy in the pharma space, and the strides made in brand building, made them the clear choice for us,” he said. Co-Founder Madhulika Pandey concurred and added “When we all met with the Netmeds team, the partners, Tarun Lawadia, Puneet Kaura, Atit and I all agreed it was a perfect fit and the best way to build on everything that we’ve achieved so far.”
One of the stakeholders in Pluss is the global investment fund IDG Ventures Indian Advisors. It’s Executive Director, Ranjith Menon also had high praise for the merger, stating, “It is still very early days for ePharmacy in India and there are not many who are viewing it from a long term perspective. The opportunity to build a trusted digital health platform is very large, and the vision put forward by Pradeep and his team is what makes this partnership exciting.”
Dadha, when asked whether the deal signaled a new appetite for acquisition and a strategy to consolidate within the e-pharmacy space, said: “Whatever is the most practical and efficient way to achieve growth, capitalize on market opportunity and improve the customer experience, that’s the path we’ll take. We intend to be fully prepared for the next wave of business that demonetization and the move to a cashless economy combined with robust digital mobile consumerism fuel is sure to bring.”
As per future plans, Pluss operations, staff and facilities in Delhi will continue to exist but under the Netmeds banner. As part of talent augmentation strategy within the acquiring brand, certain key Pluss senior leaders will relocate to Chennai and work out of the Netmeds HQ. The acquisition will bring Netmeds’ head count to a total of about 450, and double its penetration in the region.