Tata Digital to acquire majority stake in online pharmacy 1mg

Tata Digital, the subsidiary of Tata Sons, said on Thursday it is acquiring a majority stake in digital health startup 1mg, the latest in a series of investments as the salt-to-steel Indian conglomerate enters the digital consumer space.

The firms didn’t share the financial details of the deal, but a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that 1mg has received over $220 million in primary and secondary investments — with participation from some existing investors — and is being valued at around $450 million. Tata Digital has acquired about a 55% stake in the Indian startup, the person said, requesting anonymity as the specifics of the deal are private.

A spokesperson for Tata Digital declined to comment. 1mg didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to insight firm Tracxn, 1mg had raised $156 million prior to Thursday’s announcement and was last valued at $242 million. 1mg counts Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maverick Ventures and Sequoia Capital India among its investors.

1mg is one of the largest players in the health space in India, where it competes with Prosus Ventures-backed PharmEasy, which leads the market. 1mg operates diagnostics labs, has a supply chain that covers over 20,000 Indian zipcodes and is a major business-to-business distributor of medicines in the South Asian nation.

Tata Digital said its investment in 1mg is in line with the giant’s “vision of creating a digital ecosystem which addresses the consumer needs across categories in a unified manner.” The giant, which announced plans to invest in fitness startup CureFit earlier this week, acquired a majority stake in online grocer BigBasket earlier this year.

“We are delighted to join hands with one of India’s most iconic and respected conglomerates,” said Prashant Tandon, co-founder and chief executive of 1mg, in a statement. “This marks a significant milestone in 1mg’s journey to make high-quality healthcare products and services accessible to customers across India.”

Tata, which owns consumer brands including Tata Tea, Tetley, Vitax, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Himalayan Natural Mineral Water, Tata Coffee Grand and Joekels, reaches over 200 million households in India and has an “unparalleled ability to leverage the Tata brand in consumer products,” wrote analysts at HDFC Bank last month.

The story was updated throughout with additional details.