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Meet Thyrocare: From Library, Lab, And Living Room To A $32 Billion Beacon of Health

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Meet Thyrocare: From Library, Lab, And Living Room To A $32 Billion Beacon of Health

Ever ignore that nagging cough, shrug off fatigue, or write off body aches as “just life?” We all do. But what if these whispers from your body are warnings? Could a simple check-up prevent a future health crisis?

What if you could focus on your health rather than worry about the burden of expenses? One man made it all possible. He dared to believe that prevention shouldn’t be a privilege—healthcare should be accessible and affordable. 

Curious to meet the man who transformed the way millions approach their health? Read on…

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The Road to University

Born into a family of landless farmers in a remote village near Coimbatore, Arokiaswamy Velumani’s childhood was marked by a sheer lack of resources. Yet, a thirst for knowledge propelled him forward. 

Scholarships saw him excel in school, but college meant leaving home. A peculiar custom – only graduate boys could hope to marry a beautiful, fair girl – fueled his determination to land a coveted spot at Anna University, Chennai, to study Chemistry. This foundation in science would become the bedrock of his future.

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But A Library Opens Doors

After graduating with a degree in Chemistry in 1978, his first job at a mere salary of ₹150 as a shift chemist at a small pharmaceutical company in Coimbatore ended abruptly in 1981 when the company shut down.

Facing an uncertain future, Velumani spent his days immersed in the world of books at the Central Library in Coimbatore. It was there, amidst the dusty shelves, that fate intervened.

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Unexpected Opportunity

One Wednesday, Velumani saw a newspaper advertisement for a scientific assistant position at Mumbai’s prestigious Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). It seemed like a golden opportunity to secure a safe and secure government job.

He secured the interview, but a medical assessment revealed color blindness, a seemingly impossible hurdle.

However, Velumani persisted, and after three trips to Mumbai in three months, including a crucial second opinion, he finally landed the coveted job at BARC.

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The Birth Of A Passion

Although assigned to the department of thyroid testing, Velumani found the routine work monotonous.

However, his inquisitive mind saw beyond the daily tasks. So, he spent his free hours reading scientific literature and exploring the mysteries of the thyroid gland, endocrinology, and other related fields. 

Fueled by a growing fascination, he enrolled for a master’s degree while working at BARC, eventually completing his doctorate in thyroid biochemistry. Little did he know, the seeds of his life’s calling were being sown.

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Is Born

By 1995, after 14 years at BARC, Velumani felt an undeniable pull to forge his path. With his wife’s stable income from the State Bank of India providing a safety net, he took a bold leap of faith. 

He pooled his provident fund savings, a modest ₹1 lakh, and, along with his wife, set up a small testing facility in Byculla, Mumbai, focused explicitly on detecting thyroid disorders.

This strategic location near the Tata Memorial Hospital, a prominent cancer institute, provided a steady stream of potential patients.

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A Mission

Velumani’s vision was as clear as his scientific knowledge. He knew the high cost of diagnostics was a barrier to preventive healthcare, especially for those with limited resources. So, affordability was the cornerstone of his business model.  

Thyrocare offered thyroid profile tests at a fraction of the market rate, which attracted skepticism. But Velumani was confident. He knew that keeping costs low and achieving high volume would ensure sustainability.

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Powering Faster TAT

Velumani embraced innovation, pioneering a nationwide franchise model for sample collection, thus ensuring a wider reach.

Recognizing the limitations of a single processing lab, Velumani strategically established additional labs across India, ensuring faster turnaround times and improved efficiency. 

The 1,122-outlet network extends across India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Middle East. Today, Thyrocare boasts a network of 15 processing labs nationwide.

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Local Labs to National Network

Slowly but surely, Thyrocare started gaining traction. Patients flocked to their clinics, drawn by the low prices and reliable results. Doctors, impressed by the accuracy and efficiency, began recommending their services.

The network flourished, with over 3,000 collection centers and 100 million tests processed annually. Their services expanded beyond thyroid tests, encompassing various diagnostic tests for different health conditions.

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Investors Fuel Thyrocare’s Growth

Over two decades after its launch, Thyrocare’s success story soared in 2016. Its IPO garnered a massive 73x subscription, a testament to Velumani’s vision of affordable healthcare.

Before this, in 2011, Thyrocare attracted investors like CX Partners, further fueling its growth.

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Shaping A Healthier Nation

Velumani’s vision extends beyond profit margins. Through initiatives like “Aarogya Jeevan,” Thyrocare aims to spread awareness about the importance of preventive healthcare in underprivileged communities.

They offer free consultations and subsidized tests, bridging the gap between healthcare access and affordability.

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PharmEasy – A New Era

2021 marked a new chapter for Thyrocare when PharmEasy acquired it. This strategic move offered exciting possibilities. Thyrocare, primarily a B2B player, gained direct consumer access through PharmEasy’s platform.

It allowed for the creation of comprehensive wellness packages, solidifying PharmEasy’s position as a holistic healthcare provider.

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Healthcare Landscape

This acquisition mirrored a more significant trend in Indian health. E-pharmacy and B2B health tech are the dominant segments, accounting for 70% of the market, valued at a staggering $7 billion (IAMAI & Praxis report).

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this shift towards tech-enabled healthcare solutions.

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A Brighter, Healthier India

Built on affordability and innovation, Thyrocare’s story is far from over. Now backed by PharmEasy’s reach, the company is poised for even greater growth.

As the Indian health tech sector continues to evolve, Thyrocare isn’t just keeping pace – it’s leading the charge towards accessible and preventive healthcare for millions.

This commitment embodies A. Velumani’s legacy, ensuring that millions of Indians have the power to take control of their health and build a brighter, healthier future.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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