Cell phones have grown rapidly in India. Nearly a decade ago, cell phones were a status symbol and people who used cell phones use to feel product to own one. Now-a-days, cell phones and text messaging has become a commodity. CEO and founder of mDhil, Nandu Madhava, exploited the growth of cell phones and launched a business of sending text messages related to public health. mDhil has seen its paid subscriber base to increase from 150,000 to 250,000 in last seven months.
mDhil’s text messages include information on various health topics, including: diabetes, H1N1, maternal health, female reproduction and male reproduction. The Indian consumer does not have access to accurate, basic healthcare information.
- Doctors are often too expensive, unapproachable, or unavailable
- Cultural norms make some health topics taboo
- Lack of information is not limited to rural villages – many urban citizens also suffer
- Little or no emphasis is placed on prevention and wellness
Still in the Indian culture, topics like sexual health are not openly discussed, which triggered need of a mHealth service provider such as mDhil.
What does mDhil charge for its service?
mDhil charges approximately 65 cents per message. mDhil partnered with mobile operators like Idea Cellular, Airtel and Reliance. The partners take a substantial cut of revenue from each message sent.
What are mDhil expansion goals?
mDhil team was working...
toward 1 million users by 2010 year end. The company is working to expand beyond the text message service and will add capability of original video content and apps.
Madhava presented at the Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in London and pointed out that:
- the growth in the number of advertisements served to mobile Internet users worldwide has increased.
- India ranks second only after the US in the greatest number of ads served.
- the number of ads served to mobile users in India has increased more than 250 percent in the past five months.
- By proxy, it’s likely mobile Internet usage has increased by a similar factor in that country.
Madhava, a MBA from Harvard Business School has taken a lead in mHealth service. J&J also started an initiative for women and children of developing countries. Texting messaging is a simple, but power tool to spread health awareness in developing countries, which have seen increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.