The Rad Doctor

In Latin, Rx stands for recipe or prescription. Dx for diagnosis. Put the two together and you have RxDx, a landmark in Whitefield, Bengaluru.  This multinational radiology diagnostics consultancy; a tech company testing algorithms to detect breast cancer, strokes and fractures; and a primary healthcare clinic chain, was founded by Sunita Maheshwari, along with her husband, Arjun Kalyanpur.

Maheshwari got married and came to India in 1999 to work on primary healthcare systems. Meanwhile, Kalyanpur, a Yale-trained radiologist, shuttled between the USA and India, since he was considered overqualified by Indian hospitals. Three years later, the couple stumbled upon the idea of a business process outsourcing model for radiology diagnostics. Working in India India had an advantage. It was day here when the USA slept. As a result, the hospital sent its scans, and by the next morning, they had their diagnostics reports.

TRS’ idea clicked, and in three years, TRS was catering to 30 US hospitals. In 2005, the Singapore government invited TRS to work with their local hospitals. The couple set up the Whitefield facility, the first RxDx clinic, back in 2007. With an initial investment of $100,000 (about Rs. 7 million today), the couple started Teleradiology Solutions (TRS) in 2002. Today, the venture, comprising TRS, the RxDx chain of clinics (six presently), and artificial-intelligence centric Telerad Tech, is worth Rs 1.35 billion. Maheshwari says her team’s gunning for Rs 1.7 billion in revenue by end of 2019.

Among start-ups, TRS stands out for its non-funded business model. It’s a case of plain, organic growth. Not a stake sold, not a penny borrowed. The brand’s expansion strategy was simple. “Whenever we had profits, we reinvested it into the business. For instance, we bought this 36,000 sq ft land (in Whitefield) at Rs. 7 million in 2006. When we had money, we built the ground floor,” explains Maheshwari. It sounds boring, but the team’s efforts have clearly paid off.

TRS has abstained from venture capitalists (VC) so far. However, developing AI technology is capital-intensive. Given the number of verticals TRS wants to expand in 2019-20, Maheshwari says she may roping in a VC that shares her company’s vision. However, she still swears by her philosophy which she jokingly doles out: “We trust OOM (Our Own Money). Don’t rely on OPM (Other People’s Money).”

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