Already the largest fleet of private ambulances in Mumbai, HelpNow aims to assist people in other metros too

Shikhar Agrawal, Co-founder, HelpNow; Photo by Mandar Deodhar

Three years ago, Aditya Makkar, a student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, had a tough time finding an ambulance for his father who had suffered a cardiac arrest. They never found one and had to rush him to the hospital in their own car. This incident inspired Makkar to launch an affordable ambulance service. So in 2019, along with his batchmate Shikhar Agrawal and a senior, Venkatesh Amrutwar, Makkar launched HelpNow, an ambulance aggregator.

HelpNow has provided medical assistance to close to 30,000 people since its launch. “We had researched the ambulance scenario in our country and were shocked to find that an ambulance takes an average of 50 minutes to reach a patient,” says Agrawal. With 350 ambulances in its fleet in Mumbai, HelpNow is the largest private ambulance provider in the city. It also extended its services to Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru four months ago.

HelpNow’s call centre usually receives around 500 calls on a daily basis, but with India in the midst of a second wave, the centre has been fielding around 2,000 calls every day since April.

Agrawal says they believe charity begins at home. For those who can afford it, the charges start at Rs 500 and go up depending on the distance and the service provided (still 30 to 40 per cent lower than other services), but for those who can’t pay, they provide the ambulances free of cost.

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