Tata Digital juggernaut takes in one more startup — 1MG

Tata Sons subsidiary to pick up majority stake in digital health player; move is part of the group’s bid to build a ‘super-app’ to offer A-Z services online

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Tata Digital is developing a super-app that would allow it integrate all its consumer-facing businesses under one roof.

Tata Digital Ltd, a subsidiary of salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Sons, announced on Thursday it will acquire a majority stake in digital health company 1MG Technologies Pvt Ltd. Its statement said: “The investment in 1MG is in line with Tata Group’s vision of creating a digital ecosystem which addresses the consumer needs across categories in a unified manner.”

Just a few days back, Tata Digital announced its investment of $75 million in Bengaluru-based fitness startup CureFit. Following the deal, CureFit founder and CEO Mukesh Bansal — who had earlier founded fashion e-commerce firm Myntra — joined Tata Digital as President.

Its other significant deal in the e-commerce space has been the acquisition of a majority stake in Big Basket, India’s largest online grocery platform.  That deal size is estimated at $219 million.

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E-pharmacy market

“The investment in 1MG strengthens Tata’s ability to provide superior customer experience and high-quality healthcare products and services in the e-pharmacy and e-diagnostics space through a technology-led platform,” Tata Digital Chief Executive Officer Pratik Pal said in a statement.

Founded in 2015, 1MG offers a platform for the delivery of medicines, health and wellness products, diagnostics services as well as teleconsultation. It expects the latest deal to help it reach more customers in India. “We are delighted to join hands with one of India’s most iconic and respected conglomerates. This marks a significant milestone in 1MG’s journey to make high-quality healthcare products and services accessible to customers across India,” Prashant Tandon, co-founder and CEO of 1MG, said in the statement.

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A Mint report said 1MG operates three diagnostics labs and owns a supply chain covering over 20,000 pin codes pan-India. Apart from its main consumer-facing operations, it also handles business-to-business (B2B) distribution of medicines and other healthcare products through its subsidiaries.

Tatas’ digital dreams

Tata Digital is developing a super-app that would allow it integrate all its consumer-facing businesses under one roof. It would also enable it to offer digital services such as payments, financial products, e-commerce and e-grocery services, said Mint. In line with this, it has been expanding its digital operations organically as well as taking the inorganic route, buying various e-commerce startups.

Another corporate behemoth, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has also been expanding its footprint rapidly in the digital space. While its subsidiary Jio is building its girth in the telecom and related ecosystem, another arm, Reliance Retail, has been focusing on the consumer space.

Last September, RIL bought a 60% stake in Netmeds, an online pharmacy, for about ₹620 crore. Its other startup acquisitions include Saavn, Embibe, Grab and Fynd.

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