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December 10, 2007

Metamorphosis at Manipal

Business Today has an article of the changing face of the education- and healthcare- focused Manipal Group.
Gradually, he has ceded close control of his businesses to professional managers. “We want each business unit to be run individually and we will take a minimal supervisory role,” says Ramdas Pai. On the education front, Sudarshan has been given a broad mandate to not only expand its global footprint (with institutes in Antigua in the Caribbean and possibly in Curacao, a Dutch principality off the coast of Miami), but also look to inorganically grow the company’s businesses.

“We want to model ourselves on Tata Sons, especially when it comes to nurturing new companies and providing seed funding,” says Ranjan Pai. Manipal Cure and Care, in fact, was begun with Rs 5 crore in seed funding from MEMG. It then leant on MEMG’s chain of doctors and other medical staff to get people for these centres. Now, it wants to replicate the model for Stemputics, its stem cell research initiative. “They must conceive business ideas and we can provide financial and operational support to them. But, they must eventually be able to fund these initiatives in the long-term," says Ramdas Pai.

Backed by this funding, Manipal Cure and Care now plans to launch at least seven or eight more stores up to March. "Our focus will be on getting prime real estate to set up these stores. We want to target people who donft want to enter a hospital-like atmosphere for mainly cosmetic treatment," says Somnath Das, COO of Manipal Cure and Care. This chain will stock medicines and beauty products. Das sums up the gameplan when he says: "We want to be part of the Rs. 1,000 that a customer would spend on movie and dinner and not on the money used in medical emergencies. We want to be a planned retail expense for them."

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.