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Drifting To The Top

From a single hospital in Bangalore, Cloudnine has expanded to 18 clinics and hospitals in five cities in five years

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Maternity and infant child care in India as a healthcare specialty sector remained undervalued and ignored until even recently, when in 2011 neonatologist Kishore Kumar, along with Rohit MA, Vidya Kumar, and M. Ramachandra, started maternity and child care chain Cloudnine. Lately, the demand for such specialty services has gone up significantly, and as a consequence, so has the attractiveness of the sector as an investment destination for private equity investors.

Couldnine first raised capital from Matrix Partners India in 2011. Followed by a second-round, led by Sequoia India and Matrix in 2013, and a third-round by India Value Fund Advisors in 2015.

“We started with an initial assessment of the market to achieve 1 per cent of the potential market size, but we now dominate the private healthcare space in mother and childcare. We service over 6 per cent of the market. On an urban population metric, we are now responsible for over 60 per cent of the market in the regions we operate,” says managing director Rohit.

For Cloudnine, metro and tier-1 cities remain a critical focus area. “We aim to be the first choice of pregnancy care management in each of the geographies that we operate in, both for pregnant couples as well as for clinicians and paramedical support staff,” says Rohit.

With the unique proposition of celebrating pregnancy, Cloudnine has welcomed over 36,000 babies into this world since its incorporation. The management believes that its foresight and ability to spend on the most advanced technology and medical equipment have helped it to stay miles ahead of competition. The hospital chain is constantly adopting new technology, which enables it to deliver greater clinical outcomes and reduces medical risks to a great extent.

The fact that India accounts for over 35 births per minute means an immense opportunity for Cloudnine to expand.

Currently, it has 18 hospitals and clinics across five cities namely, Gurgaon, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore. Aside from India, it sees ample scope in neighbouring developing countries too that lack quality maternity care. In fact, the company is reviewing the possibility to setup off shore services very soon.

“Legacy systems such as UK’s National Health Service and the US Healthcare system restrict our abilities to set up services privately. We are, however, pursuing the possibility of teaming up with international medical establishments of great repute to bring in their abilities and learnings on clinical protocol management, research setup and outcomes, and training and policy making to further strengthen a bilateral arrangement on such grounds,” says Rohit.

In the past three years, the company has made significant investments in projects, teams, technology and efficiency. Its key focus has been on driving asset utilisation and unit level economics to achieve and maintain profitability of over 20 per cent. With the rise in the number of operational units, the company’s revenue has grown steadily every year. The past three years have yielded Rs 130 crore, Rs 150 crore, and Rs 190 crore, with the current year’s achievement is nearing Rs 270 crore. 

“Last year, we doubled our capacity, but all the units became operational only in the last few months. The revenue and profitability impact of those as well as other units in the pipeline will only be visible in the years to follow,” says Rohit.

[email protected]; @ayushmanb