Startup Focusing on Care for the Elderly Grows at 20% per Month
Taking care of the elderly is serious business for Dr Manreet Kahlon, 49, and Swadeep Srivastava, 45, whose company offers caretakers to elderly people for monthly, quarterly and half-yearly subscription plans.
The duo launched IVH Senior Care in January 2017 to cater to a growing number of senior citizens living alone in the country. The breakdown of joint family system and children migrating to other Indian cities or abroad for their education or jobs has literally left many aging parents helpless.
Enter IVH Senior Care to fill in the gap. The company deploys ex-defence personnel as ‘care managers’ to meet the needs of the elderly. “Our care mangers become a part of the family,” says Manreet, co-founder and a dentist by training. “They take them to hospitals for monthly check-ups, drive them to a temple, or accompany them for shopping.”
The company’s core team of 40 members and 80 care managers currently look after 1200 families in 15 cities across the country. They are doing business to the tune of about Rs 6 crore annually, and aim to close at Rs 8 crore this financial year as the business is growing at 20 per cent per month.
The subscription fee is Rs 800 for one month, Rs 3000 for 3 months and 5400 for 6 months. One visit is free each month, and subsequent visits are charged extra. The care manager visits a client 4-5 times in a month on an average for different purposes.
Their model is similar to the family support system of Indian armed forces in providing concierge service to the elderly people. The care managers are ex-defence personnel who had served in the air force, navy or the army. Most of them are in their forties and fifties.
“I became acquainted with the family care system in the navy where some sailors are stationed at the base to help the families of those in the sea,” says Manreet, whose husband Prashant Kahlon is a captain in the Indian navy.
The caretaker soldiers would take the sick children and elderly people to hospitals, and assist them in many ways. “In 2008, I started thinking about implementing a similar system for civilians, as my own mother needed somebody to take care of her while I and my sister were staying away from her,” she shares.
“In 2013, I replicated it as a pilot project in the civil domain where a few retired jawans were actively involved. Our care managers are trained in taking care of the aged, they lead a disciplined life and we can always be sure of their integrity,”
She incorporated Virtual Medicare & Concierge Private Limited in 2016, and launched IVH Senior Care the next year along with Swadeep.
Swadeep hails from a middle class family in Gorakhpur, where both his parents were school teachers. He came to Delhi and joined Apollo Hospitals in 1995 as the Chief PRO. Five years later, he started his own venture - Via Media Communication Pvt Ltd. “Via Media was the first hospital communication company, which enabled patients to know about the best treatment available for them for any disease. I sold it to Ebix in 2014 for USD 4 millions.”
His background in the healthcare system as well as Manreet’s background in the navy helped them to put together a solid business plan IVH Senior Care involving the services of ex-defence personnel.
Launched with an investment of Rs 3.5 crore, the company is now looking at raising seed funding of USD 8 million. Swadeep and Manreet are both shareholders and directors in the company and have offered ESOPs to 10 core members of their team. Their office is located in the heart of Noida in a 4500 sqft leased space
With more subscribers joining them each month, they are confident about their growth. The increasing population of senior citizens in the country also augurs well for them. According to an estimate, there are 104 million elderly persons (60 years and above) in the country and this population is expected to touch 324 million by 2050.
Their clients are happy too. One elderly woman (65), a retired school teacher, living with her husband (70), a retired army man, says their daughter subscribed them to IVH Senior Care. “Our care manager, Anil, takes care of us like our own son. He is an integral part of all the celebrations at home, be it our anniversary or birthdays. He is always there when we have to visit the hospitals and the best part is he is always on time.”
The company updates the children regularly on their parents’ well being and is now developing an app to connect the elders, managers, and family members on a real time basis. There are also plans to tie up with some state governments in the North East to work with the elderly people.
On the personal front, Manreet can’t miss her golf session every morning. “I wake up at 5 am to ensure I keep my date with golf,” she says. Swadeep is into yoga and not just practices it but also recommends it to everybody for their well being.
When people with positive attitude come together the workspace is nothing less than a great party, as it is at IVH Senior Care where they find some excuse to celebrate every Friday over lunch.
This Article is Part of the 'Super Startups' Series
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