‘A 15-year joyride!’ Asian Age
Updated : Oct 16, 2016, 10:44 pm IST
“So, how does it feel to be featured in the Forbes Asia’s Power businesswomen list ” we ask Ameera Shah, the 36-year-old entrepreneur, who 15 years ago, set on a venture that combined her knowledge in
“So, how does it feel to be featured in the Forbes Asia’s Power businesswomen list ” we ask Ameera Shah, the 36-year-old entrepreneur, who 15 years ago, set on a venture that combined her knowledge in management with her father’s medical skills.
“Great, of course!” replies the young visionary, who used to work with Goldman Sachs in New York, and has given speeches at several prestigious stages, including the Harvard Business School.
Chennai was one of the first places where her chain of diagnostic pathology labs expanded to, while keeping in mind her father’s vision to expand across India.
In 2000, Ameera partnered with the Lister Group in Tamil Nadu which had only one centre in Chennai. The centre used to be a walk-in one that used to be closed in the afternoon for a few hours post lunch.
“If some patient wanted to walk in for tests during or after lunch time, it would have been inconvenient for them. We partnered with Lister, standardised the tests, and changed the timings to be more convenient for patients,” says Ameera.
“We moved from a doctor-patient relationship to a doctor-customer relationship.”
From the one branch in Chennai, Metropolis then expanded across Tamil Nadu and has 20 partnerships across India.
The Journey “I have always been interested in taking the road less travelled. It has never been my personality to fit into something that is already structured. When I came back from the US, I found that my dad had built a very good quality lab in South Mumbai’s Kemp’s Corner and his vision was to have a pan-India chain. He had a lot of ideas but didn’t know how to execute it,” she tells us.
Ameera’s father, Sushil Shah, a reputed pathologist, did not want to succumb to MNC pressure, and the daughter then aimed at building her own Indian force.
“We combined his medical experience and my business knowledge. So, that is how this venture started,” she adds.
“The past 15 years, we have spread from one lab to 130 labs globally and from 40 employees to 3,000 employees — and the journey has been a real joyride,” says Ameera.
The dream “I realised very early that like my father, a reputed and successful pathologist there were many other pathologists in other cities. Metropolis is about bringing all Indian pathologists under one brand, giving them a chance to grow and to earn financial benefits too,” Ameera says.
At the time when she started off, there was no brand, no standardisation, no commonality in pricing. She recalls how the accessibility to healthcare was in a worse condition than it is today.
“We transformed the industry in many ways. We changed a fragmented and unorganised industry to create a chain,” the 37-year-old entrepreneur proudly recalls.
Today, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. is present across Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East with a market valuation of Rs 600 crore.
“Clearly, the choice was to move into countries that still have no proper access to healthcare. In India, cost of healthcare is low when compared to the US. Usage is very little. But access is very low. In rural areas, people have to travel around 50 km or more to access a PHC. The government should move from being a provider of healthcare to a payer of healthcare,” she says.