Jeevee is an e-commerce website and app that operates as an online pharmacy, retail and healthcare service. It provides over 1500 multi-brand health and wellness products, doctor consultations, blood donation services and prescription orders. As one of the few large Nepali start-ups with no foreign interests, the company hopes to encourage other successful Nepalese start-ups in the future.
Read our conversation with the CEO Mr. Aabhushan Jyoti Kansakar on the impact of technical revolution on healthcare experiences and how digital accessibility is the key to improving health equality and how Nepali start-ups in the technology space are the new future.
Tell me about your journey of starting your venture.
I initially started my entrepreneurial journey in 2015, working at a technology company in India and another 3 years in Nepal with lifestyle scooter brands Vespa and Aprilia and dealing with industrial and construction equipment brand SANY. Despite exceeding our targets in both businesses, I also had a strong desire to be involved in a business that generates a wider social impact. I had a vision to bring transformational change in the health care sector through digitalization in Nepal, which eventually materialized into Jeevee in 2019.
What is the inspiration behind the name of the brand?
Jeevee was inspired by life. If you look closely at our App, you’ll find that it resembles a mitochondria, which is the energy giving unit of the cell. That’s what Jeevee symbolizes – an innovation that will spark a revolution in health-tech in Nepal.
What stage is the company in?
Jeevee completed 2 years in November and we are already the largest health-tech startup in the country. We are also the second largest e-commerce business in the country which makes us the largest Nepali owned e-commerce in the country. However, e-commerce is a market with not even 1% of the retail market at this current stage, so there is really a long way to go especially regarding health technology or ‘health-tech’.
What is the main social problem that you are trying to solve with your service?
Initially, we operated as an online pharmacy since day one of the first lockdown and expanded our mission from there. I started Jeevee to ensure efficient and equal digital accessibility to healthcare resources and services for Nepali people. For example, digitalization enables accurate data charts of a patient’s medical history, which can make the diagnostic process simpler and provides healthcare providers the ability to design better treatment plans. It can also remove the barrier for people with disabilities or adequate knowledge of healthcare resources available to them through an online platform that can be easily accessed without leaving home.
Is there any specific reason for your inclination towards healthcare in Nepal?
The healthcare sector caters to provide treatment and ensure improved quality of life to all Nepali citizens. This can be optimized with technical innovation, such as digital or information technology to make healthcare services more inclusive, easier and accessible to a wider audience.
What challenges did you face while starting the company and how did you overcome these challenges?
I think the biggest challenge for every business is the acceptance itself, where I think we will be spending the most energy. Other challenges are regulatory and general fear of technology and data.
I don’t think I have really overcome these challenges. You can say we have just penetrated through one inch of a 10 feet concrete slab. But, we understand the challenges and we are ready to go at it until the concrete breaks, even if that takes another 10 years to do it.
Who are your target customers?
Traditionally it’s the digitally literate population. The e-commerce space is dominated by the younger generation who are more ‘tech-savvy’ however, we have also observed trends in increasing age groups moving towards digitalization.
How do you deal with competition?
I think competition is important not just for the customer but our own growth, especially in a new sector where one organization cannot fully educate or promote the entire industry. It’s always good to have competition, as long as it’s healthy!
What is your current staff strength and how many people did you start with?
We employ more than 100 people now at Jeevee and have provided employment to more than 100 through our logistics arms.
What are the key needs of your company?
We do have a very strong team with dedicated individuals but we are always on the lookout for like-minded and young people who can lead the way to a brighter Nepal. Mentorship is key to an organization’s success so we are currently working on fostering leaders who can pave the way towards a stronger and more dedicated workforce.
What is the future plan with your company?
We would like to expand beyond Kathmandu which we already have but want to see a 50:50 distribution. We are constantly innovating and improving our technology in the health-tech space so we would like to see these areas of focus to have at least a 10% market share in the entire health services industry. We are also focusing on growing our volume of sales with a target of delivering 10K daily orders in the next 2 years.
Do you measure the impact of your service? If not, what are your thoughts about impact measurement?
I have always said that healthcare is an industry where our measure of success is not just revenues or profits, but the impact we have created in society and in the industry itself. We measure that constantly and we know we haven’t done enough. Furthermore, we have a lot to do so we don’t brag about it as much either.
Do you consider yourself as a social entrepreneur?
I think it’s sometimes an overused word, I don’t think I am. There are few genuine social entrepreneurs but many use that only as a marketing or branding opportunity. Yes, we want to bring forward ideas and services that heavily benefit the society but calling ourselves social entrepreneurs would be taking it too far.
What type of personal growth have you experienced through your entrepreneurial journey?
I think my journey has been exciting, challenging and very fulfilling overall. I believe feeling inadequate by achieving a certain amount of success or through failure, are qualities that every entrepreneur experiences through their journey but ultimately drives growth. I have had to learn and unlearn the very thing that brought me success while re-learning new things to future success. I think the most important factor that has helped me is my willingness to reflect on myself and my actions and reconfigure or correct course quickly. I think I have changed a lot during this journey but my ambition hasn’t changed a bit or maybe grown.
You can explore Jeevee’s expansive range of products and services by visiting the website using the links below or download the app, available both on Google Play and the App Store.