In March 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first-ever World Report on Hearing. The report showed, over 2.5 billion people (which means 1 in 4) will have some form of hearing loss by 2050. At least 700 million of these people will require ear and hearing care, as well as other rehabilitative treatments.
In India alone, around 27,000 infants are born deaf every year. The country has 12 crore people who have hearing problems, but reportedly, only 0.05% of them use hearing aids.
Hearing loss or impairment as a healthcare issue is frequently overlooked since it cannot be seen, and the diagnosis is typically delayed. Moreover, hearing aids have a stigma associated with them, similar to the way glasses had when they first came out.
Even if people seek to get help, the quality of service provided is not top-notch. Customers are deprived of proper information and choices, which leads to unsatisfactory results. In such an underdeveloped market as this, earKART has emerged as a savior.
By investing in and improving access to ear and hearing care services, earKART has swiftly increased awareness to prevent and address hearing loss throughout the country.
How Did earKART Come To Be?
The company was founded by Rohit Misra, a big name in the healthcare industry for the last 15 years. After working with Starkey Labs India, one of the leaders in the hearing technologies market, Misra decided to establish earKART in 2021.
Other important members of the earKART team include Priyadarshi Jha and Monika Misra.
earKART, situated in Noida, was formed to bring all types of hearing aid services and equipment together on a single platform for individuals.
According to Rohit, the hearing aid sector required something extra to expand the whole market; going digital was just what it needed.
Rohit explained that Lenskart’s business model of selling spectacles digitally inspired him to start this venture; he believed the same could be done in the hearing aid business. earKART team’s foundation is based on transparency with every transaction.
earKART is bringing top-notch service and facilities to clients in a first-of-its-kind offering. The goal is to bridge the gap between a patient’s hearing difficulty and the services they can get. I
It is the only Indian online platform that provides all hearing aid dispensers. Customers have access to a wide range of items from global manufacturers. The products are guaranteed to be transparent, fair in price, and of high quality.
Why earKART Is One of Its kind
Rohit talks about how the hearing aid industry was lacking in customer satisfaction. People were uneasy with the overall purchase experience, and the lack of transparency in the product prices.
To address this, earKART offers a pricing comparison tool for its products that includes all relevant information. Customers aren’t forced to buy from any endorsed brands.
Customers also have the option to get their services at hearing aid centers or the requirement can be handled at the client’s home. By using a single digital platform, everyone in need of hearing aids and related services will be able to get them.
Further adding to its perks, earKART offers dehumidifiers, loss and theft insurance, and a 50% buyback offer with all purchases. It also provides a complete client lifecycle experience.
earKART’s dealers are required to declare that they would provide services in places that do not have hearing aids facilities but are close to their location. This guarantees that clients, particularly those who don’t live in urban areas, have access to hearing healthcare.
earKART believes in positive disruption. This means that, rather than destroying the market for small firms, earKART helps the dealers by selling their own hearing aids and discounting them as needed.
Hearing For The Future
earKART began operations in September 2021 and is already selling roughly 20 hearing aids per day, with the goal of reaching 200 in the following three months.
The company receives Rs. 800 for each appointment it schedules and an 11% fee on each hearing aid device sold. This platform’s average selling price for hearing aids is roughly Rs. 38,000.
earKART has already attracted investors’ attention. Misra informs us that dealers who double as investors have raised a funding of Rs. 120 crores already. The firm has obtained an angel round of investment from Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe.
“It’s a profitable business from day one. In August, the company made a decent profit. Positive unit economics, good ticket size, good margin, no credible online competitor and an established founder with expertise in the industry. It was an obvious investment decision for me.”
earKART now has over 800 vendors on its website, and CEO Rohit Misra claims that it has had inquiries from Pathankot, Baddi, Jaunpur, Chitrakoot, and even the interior of Odisha. It has a total of 181 offline sites around the nation as of now.
earKART aspires to be India’s largest dealer network and link clinics and customers through a unified digital platform. Misra intends to expand the service’s reach by making it available in additional Indian languages, as well as establishing nodal centers in Tier III cities and beyond to improve after-sales support for these devices.
The firm intends to partner with dealers to open clinics across India in order to provide clients with the best possible service.
Wrapping it up
WHO, in its Report on Hearing, talks about how hearing healthcare needs to become a part of primary healthcare globally. With startups like earKART, we see this happening in real-time.
According to statistics, India’s hearing aid business was anticipated to be worth over $300 million in 2019 and would reach $450 million by 2026. This means earKART is predicted to become a big eCommerce and healthcare name soon as echoed by its team and investors.
Sharing with KeeVurds, the founder Rohit Misra said:
“There is a clear, visible but bridgeable void in the hearing aid industry. Being In this industry for 15 years, gave me access to all the factors at play in matters like social stigma, lack of awareness, lack of positive advocacy from patients, small distribution channels, tech dilemmas faced by patients, financial challenges coupled with the inability of manufacturers to collectively work towards industry growth. This needed a player, like earKART, who can bring all synergies together from manufacturers while bringing dealers across India on a single platform to drive a massive growth story this industry deserves.”