CitiusTech seized the opportunity of bringing a digital transformation in the healthcare sector through providing healthcare technology and consulting solutions. It is paving its way onto becoming a business which is globally relevant. The company came to the rescue of big organisations with its technology that helps organise patients’ data and drives data convergence across the healthcare ecosystem. CitiusTech has now been a leading global IT healthcare venture for 17 years now, but the question remains how the Company made itself the only unicorn venture from the whole country. This story of Rizwan Koita and his company is yet to be heard by many.
The Birth of CitiusTech
It all started when Rizwan Koita returned to India in 1995 after completing his masters’ degree from MIT, Cambridge. He started looking for jobs in the Indian market and landed himself in McKinsey and Company, a successful venture at that time and quite a reputation builder. However, life had other plans for him.
In 1999, he collaborated with an old acquaintance from IIT Bombay, Jagdish Moorjani and founded “TransWorks”, one of India’s first five BPOs. Yet, he sold this Company to the Aditya Birla Group. This call of selling the business came after Rizwan realized the inability of being able to differentiate his business among others in the crowd, and of course, the big guys like Wipro, Infosys had entered the market. And as luck would have it, he was the man who revolutionized the healthcare sector.
In 2005, Rizwan and Jagdish connected with Bimal Naik, another IITian fellow, to enter the healthcare domain. The three gentlemen identified innovative opportunities in the IT healthcare sector as it was heavily unorganised and not many IT companies focused on the healthcare sector specifically. Healthcare was one of the most underrated and unexplored sectors due to the complications that arise in coding the healthcare information. With such a large gap in the healthcare industry and the need to bridge that gap, CitiusTech was brought into existence.
There is a need to realize a niche in the market to be a successful entrepreneur. And one change in a government regulation can give a push and create a billion dollar business out of it.
CitiusTech: From Zero to a 400 Crores Company in 10 Years
The company has built a domain centric IT business which healthcare organisations believe is a difficult and back-breaking task to execute. Being the first one in this market, CitiusTech had the first mover advantage. This advantage enabled the company to control and overtake the market and helped realize the importance of its products.
However, like any other IT company, CitiusTech struggled to attract a targeted audience to earn revenues. IT companies are often subject to security concerns and criticism. Moreover, as CitiusTech helps to organise a patients’ data, this data is very sensitive to the patient as well as to the organisation. CitiusTech focused on having the most skilled set of employees who were guided and drilled under experts. The company endeavored to build the systems to satisfy future customers with any of the concerns which can presumably occur. The company picked up its pace in the first few years and commenced to grow at the rate of 20-30 per cent every year.
Originally, the company was self-funded for nine years till the year 2014. The business ran as they wished to without any external intervention and influence. The primary market for the company was the US and not India because of its reluctance to change and the economy being loose and informal then. Hence, 90 per cent of the company’s revenues are from the US.
A Deep-Dive of the Platform: How Does It Work?
The company operates with various platforms to enable healthcare organisations to drive clinical value chain excellence across integration & interoperability, data management (EDW, Big Data), performance management (BI/analytics), data science (predictive analytics, Machine Learning, AI) and digital engagement (mobile, IoT). Following are a few of the platforms introduced by CitiusTech:
This is a certified platform by HITRUST which ensures key regulations, protecting sensitive information and adhering to the industry requirements. This platform has centralized analytics for clinical, financial and operational metrics. Under this, there are various other modules such as BI Clinical-Rules Management Module (RMM), BI Clinical- Audit 360, BI Clinical- Rules Engine, BI Clinical-Analytics and BI Clinical-Compare.
SCORE+ is a specialized and one-stop platform for healthcare organisations to implement rigorous Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) program. This program is designed to help customers and providers with relevant information to compare health plan performances. This platform also has various modules under it such as campaign management module, chart abstraction, chase intelligence, and analytics and reporting.
This solution provides an end-to-end Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) based platform which helps to increase the interoperability and access to patient level data. It ensures secured access of data and flexible implementation support on-cloud and on-premise.
It is a data integration and management platform for the Organisations and this data is the backbone of their strategies. This platform is compatible with various Hadoop distributions such as Hortons, cloudera and IBM BigInsights. This platform also satisfies the privacy and security considerations of the healthcare sector.
This platform is another end-to-end suite of analytical tools to assist the healthcare organisations in extracting helpful insights from the data stored. It helps in making day to day decisions in operations for providing healthcare.
Perform+ provides a solution to create, manage and monitor population health, operational and regulatory programs on a single, flexible platform with pre-built metrics. This platform helps health plans and provider groups to monitor and enhance provider performance.
The Pillars of CitiusTech’s Success
Training and certification
As the company was one of its kinds, they did not hire the employees directly from the workforce but started a referral programme. The existing employees would get in touch with other talented peers who would be fit for the job. Further, the new employees would be trained and guided within the company to differentiate them from the others in the workforce and bring a different level of sophistication within their job description. McKinsey and company also had a similar approach which motivated Rizwan to adopt for his own company as he believed it to be an effective strategy to attract and retain talent.
The company exemplified how a business should encapsulate the projects it has executed with different clients to present actual life artifacts and case studies to potential customers.
To attract customers, CitiusTech made sure to hire enough people who can publish articles of success stories on the website and answer why to choose CitiusTech. Attractive writing and published articles can assure skeptical customers to choose CitiusTech over other companies.
The last dimension is to win awards to showcase the potential of CitiusTech to the outside world. Winning an award or simply being nominated in several awards can certainly help open doors for new customers.
These were the various dimensions that Rizwan Koita focused on to become an expert in this domain and could bring a WOW element. As he would say that many companies claim to be a “domain expert”, but none would have anything different or innovative. He believed that consistency in these dimensions could contribute to their expertise in the field. This different direction to build a business helped CitiusTech have an edge over many other companies established later in this sector, such as Health Catalyst, QuadraMed and Innovaccer, etc.
The growth of CitiusTech is estimated to be steeper in the next 5 years looking at the relevance of its products in the healthcare market.
A Big Step towards Becoming a Unicorn
Since, United States of America was the primary market; CitiusTech got a major breakthrough after the US financial crises popularly known as the great recession, this was supposedly the best year of CitiusTech instead of being the worst one. When the US economy was shattered, Barack Obama, the then president of the US, pushed in a tremendous amount of money to rebuild its economy. He passed a law under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 called Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) making it mandatory for hospitals, physicians, etc. to implement IT systems for healthcare information and promoted the use of Electronic Health Record (EHRs) systems. Since CitiusTech was in the market for almost 5 years, it was able to build a level of trust among the potential customers and the business scaled in the US market. After this, there was no turning back for CitiusTech.
CitiusTech did have a lot of circumstantial advantages for its business to become a success. Having said that, it was also competent enough to attract foreign investments. In 2014, it was able to bring General Atlantic to invest in its company with a whopping amount of $111.25 million dollars. General Atlantic acknowledged that clinical data expertise and experience of the evolving provider, payer and life science ecosystems sets CitiusTech apart from conventional technology firms, providing a solid foundation for long-term development. Another reason for General Atlantic to invest in CitiusTech was that the company reported a growth rate of more than 50 per cent for six consecutive years since 2008.
CitiusTech: Standing in the Market
The rationale behind allowing investment in its company after 9 years was not to raise money but simply to reach international markets and to attract international talent. Rizwan Koita understood that if he wished to scale his business, he would have to allure foreign talent. Another intention behind this move was to formalise the company with an adequate number of Board of Directors since the company was headed by the founders and had international employees. An additional motive to allow this funding was to remove the general notion of the company being a “desi company”. To some extent, these objectives were fulfilled when they hired William Winkenwerder as their Chairman who was earlier a CEO at Highmark Inc. valued at $20 billion but later chose to be a chairman in CitiusTech because it had General Atlantic as one of its investors. The company is believed to have solved various problems with a single move. This strategic development certainly helped CitiusTech expand its business in the US market.
CitiusTech acquired Fluid Edge Consulting in August 2018 that was expected to increase the revenue of CitiusTech from $150 million to $175 million in the subsequent years. In July 2019, CitiusTech joined the elite unicorn club when Baring Private Equity Asia acquired CitiusTech for a valuation of $1 billion.
What Does the Future Hold?
CitiusTech is hoping to reach out to pharmaceutical and insurance companies in the near future. It also planned to expand in other countries but the challenges persist as the same approach cannot be used in other markets. The approach does not pose any clear sight to the future and might be too incremental for the company. CitiusTech however aims to explore more opportunities in the US market.
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