In 2010, an idea was born: to build an army of entrepreneurs to improve healthcare worldwide. That was the beginning of StartUp Health. According to their data, in five years, the organization grew to an allegiance of more than 30,000 investors, entrepreneurs and customers from all over the globe.
As is explained by its co-founder, Unity Stoakes, 4000 startups have tried to get in Startup Health so far, but only 180 have made it. What are they looking for?
10 specific problems
StartUp Health supports companies working in at least one of the so-called moonshots. (PICTURE)
In the competitive process of choosing new entrants, the essential criterion is the mindset of the entrepreneur. They are looking for those that have a clear idea why they are doing what they are doing, who think long-term, want to work collaboratively, and are “batteries-included”.
The most important characteristics are passion, motivation, energy.“Most of the entrepreneurs we are working with are entering healthcare not because they would want to get rich, but because they – often due to personal reasons – care deeply about the problem they are solving.”
Are you someone who brings energy into the room or are you draining it out of the room? If you’re in the first group, you have a chance to get into StartUp Health. As emphasised by Mr. Stoakes, “this attracts customers and investors. A positive, hopeful attitude attracts other people with similar way of thinking.”
StartUp Health is backed by Google, Amazon, Keiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Allianz, SAP and other prominent corporations with which they have formed multi-year strategic relationships aimed at creating opportunities for capital and means of scaling solutions.
“We don’t believe in the model of short-term random mentorships programs,” says Mr. Stoakes, emphasizing they only want to work with partners that have a transformative mindset from the top down. These are organisations focusing on external innovation, because they understand real change comes from collaboration.
“Just creating an app does not mean you have a company. The key key question is: are you solving a problem?” These were the opening words of Pradeep K. Jaisingh, Founder of HealthStart India, at the VC Panel at #FTR4H program at MEDICAL FAIR India in New Delhi. Panel was organised by HealthStart. The main aim was to highlight VC perspective on the digital health startups scene in India.
As said by Mr. Jaisingh, the basic background of technology needs to be that it improves the outcome. A solution needs to solve a problem and be sustainable. From the macro perspective, potential for disruptive innovation in India is big, said Mr. Jaisingh. Especially in terms of diagnostics, treatment and management of chronic diseases.
The doctor’s expectations in the near future are high. Artificial intelligence can be utilized to effectively synthesize patient information before his visit in the hospital or a doctor’s office.
What do the doctors need?
Private Equity Professional Mayur Sirdesai, Director at Somerset Indus Capital Partners, warned, the key issue in digital health technology and innovation is probability of adoption. “When a doctor has a line of patients in the waiting room, he can’t be bothered by entering data in the computer,” he mentioned. The second challenge is payment for digital solutions. Revenue model of a startup is crucial to implementation of a solution in practice. In India, most payments are still out of pocket which might change with the development of the insurance market.
From the perspective of Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director at Cygnus Medicare, a big potential in India is in putting more effort into medical education of other specialists and healthcare providers, apart from doctors. “We are to doctor-centric. I am a big fan of personalized medicine and “ayurveda” in that sense. These sciences look at the patient as an individual while medicine takes the patient as a dataset. Ayurveda does not treat the disease,” he said.
Needs and payments
Partha Dey, Healthcare Leader and SME at IBM India mentioned the need for more collaboration:“It is clear and we agree we need to walk together and collaborate. Technology can work as a platform and our idea is to use it to solve real life problems. We are working on longterm solutions. The first issue is always the business case. What do users need? What are they prepared to pay for? A lot of startups have ideas, but struggle with translation and implementation in practice.”
Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner at IvyCap Ventures Advisors described India as a unique market because of the payment system. “In the developed world insurance takes care of healthcare. Our environment drives behaviour. Hence healthcare consumption is different compared to the rest of the world. The opportunities here are of different nature than in other countries. One thing to look at is infrastructure. Ratio of hospitals does not match population needs.” Huge opportunities lay in financial assistance for healthcare, concluded Vikram Gupta.
FTR4H is in full preparations for MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017. Before arrival, we talked to Incubators, Companies, Start-ups, Experts… Here’s what you might find useful if you’re thinking about doing business in India.
1. Make good market research
India ranked at 130 out of 189 economies in 2015 according to the World bank. 4% of the GDP go to healthcare; around 60% of expenses for healthcare are out of pocket, according to OECD. Almost a third of the population is supposed to own a smartphone by 2019, claims GSMA report. All this goes in favour to digital health or at least mHealth solutions, but keep in mind plenty of good startups on the ground are busy tackling everyday issues.
The country is extensively working on using all the advantages of digital solutions to improve people’s lives and health. Heard of Aadhar? It’s unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data such as eyes and finger prints. Nishal Arvind Singh, Founder NASS & Associates IPR Boutique law firm and Legal policy advisor to Honourable Health Minister Satyendra Jain of the Delhi Government explains the plan behind the project: “All payments will be linked with aadhar, to avoid duplicity, promote increase in online payments and disbursement to beneficiaries under many governmental schemes for education, pension etc. This will enable direct transactions into beneficiaries bank account, which will prevent corruption,” says Arvind, adding that in time, it will be connected with healthcare. The unique identification number of a person will prevent duplication and confusion in data management and insurance claimes with others with the same name.
2. Do you have enough time for business here?
According to a World bank report from 2006, it takes 56 procedures and approximately four years for a simple commercial contract in India. As explained by Prabhu Guptara, a distinguished Professor of Global Business, Management & Public Policy at William Carey University, India, a Member of Boards of different companies in the UK, Germany and Switzerland, the problem is the bureaucratic system. It takes years for the legal claims to be processed, let alone enforced. It is a slow system, so brace yourself with energy and patience to conquer it.
3. Know that India has very good medical doctors
Top class. World renowned. There’s a reason medical tourism flourishes here. However, as Sachin Gaur warns, 80% of people live in rural areas and only 20% of facillites are there. There are different initiatives to improve access, such as the the mohalla (neighbourhood) clinics. As explained by the hindustantimes, they were started with the aim of taking diagnostics and treatment of simple ailments to people’s doorstep and reduce the footfall in tertiary care hospitals.
4. Can you make a subscription plan under a dollar a month?
India has 1.3 billion people, the majority is poor. “2/3 of the population can’t be your target market. 30% of the population lives on less than 2.5 dollars/day, another third 5 dollars/day. Which still leaves you with 400 million people you could address,” says Prabhu Guptara. However, given the number of people, if you can design a subscription model for around 20 cents, than you might address the poorer population, says Sachin Gaur, Director Operation at InnovatioCuris. Taking into account the volume you could reach, it can turn out to be a viable business model.
“If you can design a subscription model for around 20 cents, than you might address the poorer population,” says Sachin Gaur, Director of Operations at InnovatioCuris.
5. Ask, connect to people on the ground
Have you heard of HealthCode.io? It’s a platform for healthcare professionals where you can find people interested in co-creation, consulting, commercialisation, fundraising, mentoring, investing, validation. The app, as the founders claim, already has members from 52 countries, so you might find useful connections even outside India!
Be sure to check the two episodes of Medicine Today on Digital Health! Praphu Guptara speaks about differences in the healthcare systems in India, Switzerland or England. Sachin Gaur talks about the innovative solutions in India and problems of digital solutions and cyber security. You can find it on iTunes or Soundcloud.
eSec Forte Technologies is a Global Consulting and IT Services company with expert offerings in Enterprise Application Development Services, Mobile App Development, Information Security Services, Supply Chain Management Solutions and Corporate Training. eSec Forte Technologies is a FTR4H ecosystem partner and some representatives will be present at our FTR4H Lab & Lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017.
Curious about the program of FTR4H Lab & Lounge? Check it our here.
We talked to their Business Manager Surbhit Bansal about the company, their collaboration with Start-ups and presence in the Healthcare sector.
eSecforte focuses on IT and security – how active are you in the area of healthcare? Where are you present in India?
Surbhit Bansal: We are a company with our core business of IT and Security. We are present in India and abroad in the healthcare domain, working with organizations such as Ministry of Health, AIIMS, Max Healthcare, NACO, SOS Children’s Village International, NARI, United Health Group, Images Radiology. At Medical Fair India we will focus on presenting our Clinic Management System and Supply Chain Management System.
How do you collaborate with the Ministry of Health?
We have been developing software projects for the Ministry of Health through global NGOs and through direct contacts with couple of departments at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). The projects are generally being used for educational purposes and streamlining processes in rural India. As far as cyber security is concerned, we provide the required security services or product licenses as required by the departments.
According to Mandiant Consulting’s “M-Trends 2016, Asia-Pacific Edition,” Indian organizations are more susceptible to data breaches because of poor investments in high-end security solutions. When it comes to health, cybersecurity is, in the era of growing telemedicine and mHealth solutions, so much more important. Do you know of any major health data thefts/threats/problems etc?
The data is centralized and mostly with NIC (National Informatics Centre) servers and highly secure. It’s a false impression that Indian health data is being leaked. Yes, it is as vulnerable as other data but adequate security measures are being taken by the government to prevent data leakages.
What does your Clinic Management System encompass? Is it only an IT system with the main purpose of enabling adequate billing or is there also any inclusion of clinical support, EHR development etc.?
It includes clinical support and EHR development. Details can be viewed on our website http://www.esecforte.com/clinic-management-system/
How can startups collaborate with you?
We can support them right from conceptualization, design, development, testing and delivery of their products. Another area is helping them launch their product’s MVP by the time they establish their team and processes using our years of experience.
So these are potentials what you could offer. Are you actively seeking startups to work with or acquire? What is the basic model of your collaboration with startups? If you help them, do you take equity, do you charge them a fee or something else?
We are not actively seeking to acquire any startup at the moment. We prefer a Fee-based model and in case any startup looks promising we can work on equity model providing the required technical support.
Is there any specific issues you could outline you see startups in India are facing?Are the issues any different than abroad according to your expertise? Where would you say the biggest differences lie?
The major hurdles that we can see based on our experience is a lack in focus on operations by Indian startups. They focus too much on technology and spend heavily on resources allowing them to survive only until investor’s pockets are heavy. Secondly, many good startups don’t get funding if their founders are not from a first class Indian engineering college such as IIT. As a result many startups with solid ideas are unable to grow or survive.What are you going to talk about at Medical Fair India in New Delhi? We are going to talk about Digital Health Solutions alongside the healthcare continuum and how mobile health is restructuring healthcare delivery.