China’s Tencent Holdings, an investor in Uber Technologies Inc., has led a $90 million funding round at Practo Technologies. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and Google Capital also participated in the latest round.
Practo wants to be for healthcare what LinkedIn Corp. is to networking for professionals and Facebook Inc. is to social networking, CEO Shashank N.D. told reporters Thursday in Bangalore, where he announced the funding.
Practo does not currently have any plans to enter China, but saw the opportunity to benefit from Tencent’s experience in scaling up Internet-based businesses, Shashank said. Partnerships with Uber -- hypothetically, a Uber cab could pick up samples or drop off medicines or test results -- were another area the Indian doctor-search company could explore and some pilots are on, he said.
The latest round of funding brings the total amount of money Practo has raised to about $125 million. In addition to Milner, who’s invested in his personal capacity, other new investors include Belgium-based investment firm Sofina and Brad Gerstner’s Altimeter Capital Management. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners have also put in money, Shashank said.
On the back of the country’s smartphone revolution, new Indian startups are rising, from e-commerce to healthcare to ridesharing, to digitize various services. Many, with funding from global investors such as SoftBank Corp., are successfully replicating and localizing business models that first originated in Silicon Valley.
A few are also beginning to build businesses that don’t have any global role models. Practo has built a search engine to look up doctors, which can be easily accessed on a smartphone app or a web browser, but in the backend the company also offers doctors and hospitals an Internet-based software to manage clinical data as well as payments.
The company has signed on about 8,000 hospitals and 200,000 doctors in India, Singapore and Philippines, and sees some 10 million searches a month, Shashank said. He expects Practo to start operating in another “half a dozen” countries soon.