Fast Company

Procter & Gamble Partners With Indian Startup to Deliver Health Care to the Next Billion Consumers

The partnership is significant on many levels--not the least of which is the revelation on P&G's part that a little-known startup may have something to offer to the global FMCG giant.

telemedicine

Healthpoint Services is a small startup with a big goal: transforming rural healthcare for India by delivering a one-stop shop of pharmacy, clinic, tele-medicine, and clean drinking water. The global branded product company Procter and Gamble (P&G) has a goal of its own: to reach another 1 billion consumers by 2015. Now the multinational and the startup are working together to reach both their goals in a newly announced partnership to improve and scale the Healthpoint model in India.

"It's quite interesting as a social enterprise startup to be negotiating and partnering with a giant company like P&G," Healthpoint CEO and co-founder, Al Hammond, tells Fast Company. " What's even more amazing is to realize that we know things they don't, like how to operate in rural communities in the base of the pyramid or how to touch consumers through services instead of products."

P&G will be assigning its employees to the Healthpoint clinics, along with supplying financial and other know-how, with the intention of increasing its own understanding of, and access to, its next billion customers.

"Our partnership with Healthpoint Services presents an innovative learning opportunity for P&G to touch and improve more consumers’ lives, consistent with our overall Company Purpose and core beliefs," FutureWorks Vice President Nathan Estruth tells Fast Company. "For P&G, this strategic learning partnership also provides us with a unique opportunity to learn about product and service models with rural Indian consumers."

The P&G entity that entered into the partnership with Healthpoint services is called FutureWorks. This arm of P&G is specifically devoted to developing and scaling new business models and new category innovations for the company, primarily via external partnerships.

"And I have to give P&G credit--they are quite committed to partnering to learn new things, unlike some large companies, and they are serious about learning how to provide services to consumers in areas such as health care and water--way beyond their traditional comfort zone in consumer goods," says Hammond.

Partnering with P&G will also help Healthpoint improve its model and scale more quickly to "40 countries instead of 5 or 6," says Hammond. Hammond aims to take the healthpoint model global in order to both drastically improve health outcomes in impoverished communities and tap the collective purchasing power of those at the bottom of the pyramid.

"And we are aware that backing from P&G will help us raise money from other investors too, because they are doing very thorough due diligence," says Hammond.

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  • Eva Yazhari

    Multinational's should continue to partner with social enterprises and work collaboratively with them to innovate on technology, products and process. Healthpoint's model provides several previously unavailable basic needs to rural Indians. The HP team has the power to scale their model globally and P&G can help accelerate that. At the EH Foundation, we invest in early stage social entrepreneurs working toward solving the problems associated with poverty. Healthpoint is a proud example!