Having settled two years of legal battles that followed his scandalous affair with a subordinate, which hit his once meteoric career, Phaneesh Murthy, former CEO of IGATE and board member of Infosys, has now come up with his own venture PM Health & Life Care — an online marketplace for health products and services.
Murthy’s career in IGATE and Infosys abruptly ended following sex scandals. Fresh from settling disputes with IGATE, Murthy is now focussing on building what he calls “India’s first health exchange”, which will eventually bring consumers, clinics, hospitals, diagnostic centres and doctors together on one platform.
The former Infy executive sees opportunity in India’s e-commerce boom and believes that the domestic pharmaceutical market, estimated to reach $56 billion by 2020 from the current $15 billion, is ripe for online retail play. Though the company is incorporated as PM Health & Life Care (PMHLC) — PM stands for Phaneesh Murthy — its initial venture, the online market place for pharmaceutical products, which will be launched during July–September, will have a different brand name.
Murthy has put in most of the seed (initial) fund of $3.2 million (Rs 20 crore) through his family fund PM Venture into the new company. The company will shortly raise $5-7 million more (Rs 31-43.5 crore) from strategic investors.
As executive chairman of PMHLC, Murthy will spend 10 days at its headquarters in Bangalore but will continue to live in the US. Among four other co-founders, two are his former colleagues Hemant Kumar Bharadwaj and Anil Bajpai, who were senior vice-presidents at IGATE. The other co-founders are chief financial officer (CFO) Harshit Singhal and chief operating officer (COO) Umesh Naidu.
While he did not give any revenue projections, Murthy said the company is targetting a million transactions in the first one-and-a-half years. “The whole health exchange will take about eight years,” he said.
The company does not want to raise more funds at the initial stage by diluting co-founders’ stakes. “A lot of our growth will depend on the success of our online marketplace,” Murthy said.
Besides this new venture, Murthy who was ousted from IGATE in May 2013, has an independent consulting practice that he does for some of the Fortune 500 companies. He has made a few investments and sits on the board of a clutch of technology startups in the US and India, including Global Edge, e-Touch and Opus.