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This Pune healthcare startup is bridging supply chain gaps between pharma distributors and chemists

In November 2016, Talha Shaikh and Ashok Yadav saw the Indian healthcare supply chain was fragmented and riddled with loopholes at every step of the network. The duo decided to help close this gap with their startup Biddano

Starting as a business-to-consumer (B2C) pharmacy aggregator platform, Biddano helped customers get prescription drugs—that need to be consumed immediately (acute markets)—from nearby pharmacies within 45 minutes.

In a conversation with YourStory, Talha Shaikh, Co-founder and CEO, Biddano, says, “Customers could upload their prescriptions, given to the nearby pharmacies based on their geolocation. We had smart algorithms running the backend, helping the pharmacies to receive and pack the order and deliver it to customers, similar to the Swiggy model.” 

The Pune-headquartered startup had onboarded over 700 pharmacies on a single technology platform and ran operations for six to seven months. Soon, it started receiving over 3,000 prescriptions, but the pharmacies ran out of stocks for most products. 

“We were tracking two major KPIs back then. First is the delivery turnaround time, which should be less than 45 minutes under any circumstances. Second is the fill rate—if a prescription has five medicines, how many of these can the pharmacy fulfil,” Talha explains.

Talha Shaikh, CEO and Co-founder, Biddano

Pivoting from B2C to B2B

Tracking inventory for pharmacies becomes a manual process since many don’t have an inventory management system. When they receive an order, pharmacies check their stocks, accept the order, and will deliver three out of five products. 

He adds, “For the remaining two products, they will place an order with either a sub-distributor or stockist. Again, for various reasons on the business-to-business (B2B) supply chain side, the stockist, distributor, or sub-distributor would take 24 hours to deliver the medicines to pharmacies. Hence, it was not what we had promised to the customer side, and it was tarnishing Biddano’s overall brand value.”

Realising these inefficiencies, the co-founders decided to rework Biddano’s entire business model and pivot from B2C to B2B. 

“We had done our research and realised no company at a pan-India level focused on the B2B pharma sector. Moreover, no healthcare logistics company focused on organising the B2B healthcare supply chain for the country,” Talha says.

In mid-2018, Biddano started onboarding stockists and distributors in Pune. 

At present, Biddano has tie-ups with 200,000 pharmacies, over 100 top pharma stockists, 30 top fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and over-the-top-counter (OTC) companies, and more than 500 pharma brands across India. 

While Talha looks after business expansion, team building, and PR, Ashok (CSO) looks after strategic partnerships and investor relations.

It has a team of over 100 people in its corporate office. The startup has satellite offices in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

YS Design team

Connecting stockists with pharmacies

Biddano aims to solve these inefficiencies through its two coveted products.

Bkart, Biddano’s first product, is its B2B healthcare logistics infrastructure that helps super stockists, stockists, or distributors reach out to as many pharmacies as possible to deliver products to pharmacies in less than three hours. 

“This technology platform helps stockists to deliver orders to pharmacies rather than going to the middle-men such as sub-distributors,” adds Talha.

This way, stockists could give better discounts to pharmacies, which they can pass to end-consumers, and expand their geographical reach. Biddano has 1,200 delivery executives on the ground who make these deliveries. 

Launched in January 2022, Biddano’s second product Shortbuk helps pharmacies and hospital labs procure FMCG or OTC products on time from local distributors and brands.

Speaking about Shortbuk’s launch, Talha says, “We already have the healthcare logistics infrastructure, where we deliver medicines to pharmacies every single day and every three hours. So, we tried integrating the FMCG or OTC vertical with our pharma vertical and deliver products in three hours or every single day to pharmacies, along with credit since it will be a strong value proposition.”

Biddano is the distribution channel partner for many FMCG companies, including Dabur India, Himalaya Wellness Company, Hindustan Unilever Limited, etc., to cater to its network of chemists. 

Within four months of its launch, Biddano has expanded its Shortbuk’s service to four major cities, including Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Nashik.

Business model and revenue

Biddano’s healthcare logistics service-based model forms its major revenue stream, where it charges super stockists a variable commission ranging from 1 to 2 percent on every order they deliver through Biddano’s platform.

For its FMCG marketplace platform, it has a standard cost-revenue model, where Biddano buys products at certain costs from brands, adds its margin to that, and sells them to retailers or pharmacists.

The startup claims to have generated a revenue of Rs 5.59 crore in FY22.

Biddano has raised $3 million led by Gokul Rajaram, a board member at Pinterest and Product Manager at Doordash, a Silicon Valley-based company. New investors JPIN Venture Catalysts UK and Ramakant Sharma (Founder, Livspace), and existing investors Venture Catalysts and AngelList also participated in the round.

It is planning to raise a Series A round later this year to strengthen its leadership teams across all verticals and launch a new platform. 

Competing with Bengaluru-based Saveo, Biddano is present in 20 cities and plans to expand to 25 cities across India by the end of 2022. 

Biddano will also launch financial services for every stakeholder in the healthcare value chain. It also plans to make finance accessible to small retailers with no credit history.

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