Nitin Rao

Vaatsalya: BoP Healthcare in India

VaatsalyaIn 2004, Ashwin Naik had 2 interesting choices. An MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. And an opportunity to jump into healthcare for the rural and semi-urban population. Ashwin chose to follow his passion and co-founded Vaatsalya. As Ashwin put it, “it was an opportunity to learn at the ground level” – a field MBA if you will.

Vaatsalya is a healthcare services company located in India with a mission to provide affordable quality healthcare services to the rural and semi-urban population. Though 70% of the Indian population lives in the rural area only 15% of doctors practice in the rural areas and 20% of total hospital beds are located there. The Vaatsalya family of healthcare providers are dedicated to changing this inequality and at the same time create a viable, socially-responsible business from this opportunity.Vaatsalya, started in 2004 through savings and money from friends and family, will complete 3 years this December. Venture capital and strategic support from investors such as Aavishkaar helped Vaatsalya reorient its thinking, impact and positioning “from a social organisation to a social enterprise”.

Vaatsalya’s hospitals in areas such Gadag and Hubli in Karnataka make profits today. According to Naik, “We have found that there is a capacity to pay, provided you offer the right service”. They recently won the first place in the BiD Challenge (India) 2007.

Naik’s single biggest challenge is in attracting talented doctors, by empowering them and offering challenging assignments – which they might not have in larger hospital chains.

Vaatsalya is now looking to expand both through the greenfield route and through acquiring hospitals. They also partner with retail firms in order to leverage existing networks.

You can follow the Vaatsalya progress on their blog here.

Naik’s success brings us to interesting questions on what makes a successful development entrepreneur (more on this soon). Vaatsalya, today, is an excellent model for potential entrepreneurs keen to realize their vision for development with sound enterprise.