Steep rise in costs pushes Practo deeper into the red

Digital healthcare platform Practo Technologies Pvt. Ltd reported a 29% rise in revenue for the financial year ended March 2017 but loss widened nearly three-fold as expenses surged, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies.

The Bangalore-based startup, which started as a doctor-finder, garnered net sales of Rs 202.3 crore in 2016-17 compared with Rs 156.6 crore the previous year. Net loss expanded to Rs 191.4 crore from Rs 64.6 crore, the filings show.

Total expenditure climbed 75% to Rs 402.7 crore, led by a two-fold rise in employee expenses to Rs 286 crore from Rs 138 crore.

Text messages and phone calls to Practo founder Shashank ND seeking comment went unanswered till the time of filing this article.

Founded in 2008, Practo has around 1,500-2,000 employees. It runs a doctor appointment site and offers an ad platform to clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres. The company has a presence in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil, apart from India. It claims to do more than 45 million appointments annually and says it has more than 1 lakh doctors on board.

For Practo, 2017 was a busy year. In January last year, Practo raised $55 million in its Series D round of funding led by existing Chinese investor Tencent.

The round saw participation from three new investors—Russian venture capital firm ru-Net, Japanese firm Recruit Holdings’ investment arm RSI Fund and US-based Thrive Capital. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Capital G (Google Capital), Altimeter Capital and Sofina also participated in that round.

Also last year, the company entered the health insurance aggregation segment. And in April last year, Practo had laid off close to 150 employees as part of what it called a regular appraisal process.

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