Derek Newberry

Rising Ventures: Gram Mooligai Brings Healthcare to India’s Rural Poor

Three quarters of India’s population lives in rural areas. Individual households in these communities tend to spend about $50 per year on primary healthcare. This is hardly enough to pay for private coverage, yet many of these underserved consumers are not reached by government programs. While the annual expenditures households in the countryside make toward health services may not amount to much individually, they collectively represent the kind of impressive purchasing power we often refer to in discussion of BOP-oriented business models.

Gram Mooligai, a recent addition to the New Ventures portfolio, recognized that the gap between poor, rural dwellers and basic healthcare could be profitably filled by a company willing to meet the specific needs of these consumers. Gram Mooligai’s innovative solution is successful because it is tailored to this BOP market. The company relies on India’s wealth of biological diversity to sustainably harvest traditional herbal remedies that it sells under the Village Herbs label. The herbs form part of the Ayurvedic system of healing, one with a strong heritage in India and that has a great deal of influence in many rural areas. These medicines have been provided to over 30,000 households by a network of 300 women health practitioners with prior experience in non-profit work.The popularity of Gram Mooligai’s products speaks for itself – the company has grown rapidly in the past few years and is now beginning to adapt its model for the urban market in Bangalore. The full profile is worth checking out as an example of a company catering to the BOP by combining traditional practices specific to India with newer models of sales and distribution.