Tata Group patriarch and Chairman Emeritus, Ratan Tata recently picked up a 50% cent stake in ‘Generic Aadhar’, a unique pharmacy retail chain promoted by Mumbai’s 18-year old, Arjun Deshpande. Compared to other online pharmacies, Generic Aadhar sells medicines – mainly diabetes and hypertension drugs, with cancer drugs in the pipeline – at much cheaper rates than the market price.
Ratan Tata had heard out his proposal a few months ago and seemed interested in partnering and mentoring him in running the business. A formal announcement will be made soon. As per media sources, Ratan Tata had made the investment at a personal level and it was not linked to the Tata Group. Ratan Tata has earlier invested in many start-ups, including Ola, Paytm, Snapdeal, CureFit, Urban Ladder, Lenskart, etc.
Founded two years ago by Deshpande, Generic Aadhar currently of a whopping Rs. 6 crore annual revenue. Following a unique pharmacy-aggregator business model, it sources generic drugs directly from manufacturers and sells to retail pharmacies, eliminating the wholesaler’s margin by nearly 20%. Around 30 retailers, mainly standalone pharmacies who struggle with intense competition from established medical stores and online pharmacies, from Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Odisha are part of the chain and follow a profit-sharing model. Despande plans to expand business, to a thousand small franchisee medical stores, across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi within a year. Last year, Deshpande, also a student in a Mumbai college, was shortlisted for the Thiel Fellowship in Silicon Valley, a two-year programme for young people who want to build new businesses.