Tag: digitalhealth

… or why applying for startup competitions like MEDICA App Competition makes sense….A guest post by our Community Advisor Maren Lesche

Yes, you can plan. Yes, you can overthink. And yes, you can also embrace the opportunities that are served to you unexpectedly.

What made you interested in ehealth, people keep asking me? With a communications background, the highly regulated and very special digital health sector does not seem the first choice. My answer: unexpected opportunities pulled me in!

In 2014, I met the team of VoiceItt at a startup competition powered by Deutsche Telekom. In Krakow, Poland, we talked about crowdfunding, pitching and hurdles that a young company offering a voice-pattern recognition software for people with disability faced when entering new markets. Social entrepreneurship? A high-tech solution for people with impairment? A small team with limited funding working on a very techy product? I was hooked immediately!

What started as a small favor to present VoiceItt in Berlin, lead me to WebSummit in Dublin and Slush in Helsinki. One of my unexpected “tour stops” brought me to Düsseldorf – a very short trip! Little did I know that the “small event” at Düsseldorf will open up the world of healthcare to me: MEDICA is one of the largest and most prestigious healthcare and medtech trade fairs in the world. As a small event inside MEDICA, the Medica App Competition – MAC for short– was reaching out to very specific startups. Due to MEDICA’s close ties to the Israeli startup ecosystem, VoiceItt saw the startup competition and applied. After making the finals, the ball was in my court again: “Could you present us on stage? Nothing major! One day only” – less than 24h of networking, pitching on stage and reconnecting with old friends.

Ten awesome startups pitched two years ago. A hard battle – that VoiceItt won! Our prize: an IPad and a ticket to Mobile World Congress. Barcelona, we are coming! So one pitching event opened the doors to another stage! Selling the iPad provided the necessary travel money. A few weeks before Mobile World Congress, by accident again, I saw another event in Barcelona: A TechCrunch Meetup for startups! Anybody interested in presenting? All in? Right! I guess my communications background came in handy here: writing nice applications is as important as presenting on stage later. So yes, I used my trade to push VoiceItt to success!

I still remember this event! As one of the last startups to pitch, I had to balance on a broken wooden crate: no slides, not timer, just me and my faulty equilibrium. But yet, I could not have been that bad, since winning this small event secured VoiceItt tickets to the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City. Again – nothing I had planned, totally unexpected!

Step by step I worked my way deeper into the ehealth startup ecosystem, became a mentor at Startupbootcamp Digital Health, did research on wearables, learned about biotech and performance materials. The following year, I joined the MEDICA App Competition as a juror, soon after that, I became Community Advisor at the newly founded ehealth think tank FTR4H, short for Future4Health, powered by MEDICA. In March 2017, FTR4H officially launched at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Since then, FTR4H has been active in Delhi, India, and Suzhou, China.

Next stop? Düsseldorf! In November 2017, I am captain of the MEDICA App Competition Jury and will get a front-row seat during the pitching event happening on November. This year the contestants can win up to 2000 Euro and tickets to SXSW 2018 – so no detour via Barcelona and New York City for them!

And did I see that coming, when VoiceItt applied at MEDICA? No! But hey, you can plan. You can overthink. But you can never know where unexpected opportunities will lead to!

PS: Application for MEDICA App Competition 2017 are still open till September 30!

FTR4H LAB at MEDICA 2017

MEDICA:  Undisputedly the world’s most important trade show and gathering place for the medical industry worldwide.  Americans have long been a driving force behind both the quality and size of this event, on average featuring over 500 US-based companies occupying about 2 acres (or about 1½ US football fields!) of exhibit space at the Düsseldorf fairgrounds.

Over the past decade in particular, mobile, IoT and big data has emerged as perhaps the most revolutionizing dynamic in the medical industry marketplace, and the US med-tech industry not surprisingly continues to dominate the global landscape.  Some industry reports suggest digital health market revenues here may surpass $150 billion within the next 5-7 years.

In tandem, FTR4H FUTURE FOR HEALTH is an international platform powered by MEDICA that has risen alongside to highlight wireless and digital technologies – showcasing and exploring how digital transformation is affecting and will continue to drive important developments in the healthcare industry.

And now for the first time, the USA Pavilion at MEDICA 2017 will also feature a FTR4H LAB showcasing innovators and visionaries in this field.

The first company to join the FTR4H LAB is Westlake, Ohio based Blue Spark Technologies, Inc.  A pioneering developer of thin, flexible, printed power solutions,  Blue Spark Technologies’ latest innovation, TempTraq®, is the only Bluetooth® wearable continuous temperature monitor in the form of a soft patch that can continuously and comfortably monitor body temperature for up to 72 hours, sending real-time temperature data to a Hospital’s Nurse Monitoring Stations, EHR, and Smart Devices.  With TempTraq’s new TempTraq Connect HIPAA-complaint Cloud, it can also be used remotely and enable a hospital to monitor patients at home in real time.

TempTraq has been tested in the most demanding environments at leading hospitals including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center and Akron Children’s Hospital and has been clinically proven to detect fever 30 – 180 minutes earlier than a 4 Hour SOC in trials with Bone Marrow Transplant Patients (Abstracts available upon request).   TempTraq is an FDA cleared Class 2 Medical Device and by November and MEDICA, the device will be CE approved and available for both Consumer and Clinical markets in Europe.

For more information about TempTraq®, plan to visit them at MEDICA 2017 – hall 16 / stand C20-6 or contact Blue Spark Technologies / VP of Sales, Mr. John Baragar jbaragar@bluesparktechnologies.com

For more information about joining the FTR4H LAB in the USA Pavilion at MEDICA 2017, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America / Sr. Business Development Manager, Mr. Ryan Klemm rklemm@mdna.com

 

“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.

Top 5 things on healthcare business in India

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.

SXSW - © SXSW / ADDON

Think Tank FTR4H debuts at SXSW

Press Release: March 1, 2017 – Every year in Duesseldorf, Germany, more than 5,000 exhibitors from over 70 countries participate in MEDICA, the world’s leading exhibition for medical products and tech. When it comes to digitalization of healthcare, MEDICA has taken a leading role, especially with the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM (with the MEDICA App COMPETITION).  The newest initiative – FTR4H – explores how Digital Transformation affects the healthcare industry.

“FTR4H acts as a Think Tank and definer to connect global Digital Health ecosystems in markets like China, Europe, India, Israel and the US with the World of MEDICA – a hashtag to categorize what drives Digital Health: #FTR4H.”

Debut at SXSW 2017

In 2017, FTR4H will debut at SXSW, the world-famous series of conferences & festivals which celebrate the convergence of the interactive media, film, and music industries. Get an overview of what FTR4H is about, what is planned in the future, and who is part of our network. As a special treat, we will feature some international digital health startups in a mini-pitch that will shape the healthcare community in the future:

  • All the way from Berlin: iRewardHealth – their wellness program tackles the massive problem of preventable diseases using behavioral economics to effectively motivate healthy behavior change
  • Houston calling! CareScriptions by Seremedi from Houston, Texas, is a SaaS patient engagement platform
  • The Hungarian-German startup MediLad builds personalized health conversations for women – so called FemTech. The first product of the young female founder team is Izzy, a period tracking  for messenger.

“The U.S. is the world’s most important market for Digital Health, and initiative like FTR4H is more timely than ever as our world turns to mobile as a hub for digital transformation with IoT, AI and Data reshaping every industry, most especially healthcare”, said Tom Mitchell, President of MEDICA’s U.S. operations.

FTR4H will host a Digital Health Meet & Greet on Monday, March 13 at the German Pavilion from 4:00-5:00pm.

Impressions:

 

According to CBinsights, Startups have raised over $1.1B to help improve women’s healthcare. At SXSW 2017, we therefore invited a new startup that developed a FemTech solution that will support teenage girls in learning more about sexual health: The Hungarian-German startup MediLad builds personalized health conversations for women.The first product of the young female founders team is Izzy, a period tracking chatbot for messenger. In a short time of 3 months, the female founder team engaged 15,000 users worldwide and processed around 300,000 messages. In September 2016, the team joined the first batch of Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin.

What is FemTech? The analysts of CBinsights divid FemTech in eight major areas:

  • Fertility solutions – Startups providing IVF, egg freezing, and medical treatments for female infertility.
  • Period & fertility tracking mobile apps – Mobile apps for self-tracking of periods and fertility cycles.
  • At-home fertility monitoring devices – Startups offering hardware devices for women to monitor their fertility at home.
  • Pregnancy & nursing care – Startups offering medical care & diagnostics for pregnant women, as well as tech-enhanced breast pumps.
  • Reproductive system healthcare – Healthcare companies focused on women’s sexual health issues, such as pelvic floor device makers and women’s STI treatments.
  • General healthcare – Teams aiming to improve the overall clinical healthcare experience for women.
  • Period care goods – Startups offering pads, tampons, and CPG items for managing periods.
  • Women’s sexual wellness – Startups offering lubricants and related items to help women improve sexual wellness.

Learn more about MediLad & Izzy at the FTR4H Digital Health Reception on March 13th, 4pm, at the German Pavillion, Wunderbar.

Future 4 Health - © Mikko Lemola/Shutterstock

There are currently more than 260,000 mHealth apps on the market, according to data from Research2guidance. Whereas this may be exciting news, the sheer number may also be overwhelming for patients and doctors. How can you know what is useful and what is not? One way hospitals are solving the app reliability challenge is by building in-house innovation incubators.

To get to know how that works, listen to a conversation with Ashish Atreja, the CTO of Sinai AppLab at Mount Sinai, in the fourth episode of Medicine Today on the Digital Health podcast.

He are 5 reasons why in-house innovation incubators are good news.

1. Accelerating change

Innovation arms in hospitals are exciting because they help introduce novelties into the rigid healthcare systems.

2. Providing reliability

New solutions are designed by high profile specialists in hospitals. Consequently, solutions are tested inside the hospitals and perfected before they are put on the market.

“I would never give or prescribe medicine to any of my patients that has not been approved in some formal capacity. Why should I prescribe an app?” says gastroenterologist Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH. If you’re a startup, he might take a look at your solution. Why?

One of his jobs as the CTO of Sinai AppLab is onboarding new technologies built by startups outside Mount Sinai. After all, he emphasizes, “it’s impossible for one incubator to do and know everything.”

Ashish Atreja

3. Ease of recommendation

It is easier for doctors to recommend in-house solutions, because they have better access and understanding of the innovation process and reliability of an app compared to the flood of other mhealth digital health offerings on the market.

As Ashish Atreja explains, Mount Sinai even build a platform which allows physicians to prescribe evidence based apps. “We curate the best apps based on the evidence, security and safety. There’s a whole team of people rating the best apps, looking at the published evidence and bringing them to the market place.”

4. Financial benefit

Innovation arms generate new revenue streams for hospitals.

5. Encouraging innovation

When a support environment for creativity is in place, doctors who want to innovate can test and develop their ideas. They also get all the entrepreneurial support in scaling and improving their ideas, so they can reach patients faster.

In 2012, Cleveland Clinic experts designed the Medical Innovation Playbook – a detailed report on the diverse and rapidly evolving technology commercialisation programs of the USA’s top medical centres. It includes an overview of nearly 10,000 invention disclosures, 6,400 patent applications and almost 2,000 issued patents.

Want to know more? Tune into the fourth episode of Medicine Today on Digital Health podcast. You can find, listen, subscribe, rate, follow, share the podcast in Soundcloud or in iTunes.

MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017 is approaching fast and Future For Health team (FTR4H) is very excited! Why? Because lively discussions, inspiring pitches, good energy and networking with creative people is always something to look forward to! That is exactly how our FTR4H Lab & Lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017 will look like. Join us!

Write to Bhardwaj Love (BhardwajL@md-india.com), to take part in our programme!

If you do not want to pitch, register for the “FTR4H: Digital Health futurists Reception” in Delhi on April 7th! 

FTR4H Lab & Lounge at MEDICAL FAIR INDIA 2017

Which VIPs will you meet at the FTR4H – Lab & Lounge event at http://www.medicalfair-india.com/

The FTR4H health lounge will be featured to the 13,000+ healthcare professionals who will be attending Medical Fair India 2017. In terms of Digital Health angels, mentors and the venture capital ecosystem, we have representatives present of companies like Bertelsmann India Invest, HealthStart, iB Hubs, Peppermint VenturePartners, pi Ventures, t-hub, Utilis Capital Advisor.

Will the Medical Fair India (MFI) floor be open to FTR4H – Lab & Lounge participants?

Yes, FTR4H is an integral part of Medical Fair India, and it will be open for MFI visitor to visit FTR4H and vice versa. MFI is expected to be attended by 13,000+ healthcare professionals.

Will the Pitch Your Solution” be open for Medical Fair India participants & visitors, or will it be restricted to FTR4H Lab & Lounge visitors & participants?

The opportunity to pitch will be restricted to FTR4H lounge participants (Sponsors, Startups) but every visitor interested in Digital Health can attend it.

Who are the Industry experts who will be moderating and judging the Digital Health Panel discussion & the “Pitch Your Solution” competition?

Pitching your solution means that you will present it to the interested public. It is a great chance to test your own story. We will not judge the pitch. For selecting the best Digital Health solution a dedicated FTR4H Award ceremony will be held on Friday afternoon April 7 at the lounge. The following names are currently aboard for hosting and guiding the pitches:

  •      Dr Vishal Bansal – Investor, Mentor, Technology Enthusiast & Docpreneur  Pradeep K. Jaisingh – Chairman HealthStart India
  •         Mark Wächter – FTR4H Chief Evangelist & Mobile Strategist
  •         Dr. Tarun Ramole – Digital Health Evangelist, Director Utilis Capital
  •         Tjaša Zajc – FTR4H Global Audience Developer & Journalist

[learn_more caption=”What is FTR4H?” state=”open”] FTR4H is an international platform, which enables discussions, meetings, dialogs and networking among thousands of Digital Health start-ups, corporations and investors, including accelerators and media from around the world. [/learn_more]

What are the parameters for presenting at “Pitch Your Solution”?

Each startup will have 5 minutes to pitch every day during the whole fair  (3 times). This is no competition, but a presentation offering you an opportunity to practice your pitch among your targeted public and get valuable feedback.

What is the format of the “Digital Health Panel” discussion? When will the topics for the discussion be made known to the participants?

Each startup has one pitch and one panel discussion per day. The panel discussion will be held with 5 startups in total plus a moderator. The topic will be decided based on represented solutions. Overall topic is how Mobile, IOT, AI and Data changes healthcare in a mobile-only country like India.

Are both the “Pitch your Solution” and “Digital Health Panel Discussion” part of the FTR4H – India competition?

No. All exhibiting startups at the FTR4H lounge automatically qualify for participation. The FTR4H India Award is a dedicated award ceremony taking place on Friday, April 7th, at 4 pm at the FTR4H lounge.

What are the benefits of the FTR4H India Award? Are there mentorship opportunities to be gained from the award? 

The winner of FTR4H will get a mentorship by HealthStart Accelerator for their upcoming Accelerator programme. FTR4H acts as a Think Tank and connector of Digital Health ecosystems in China, Europe, India, Israel and the US with the World of MEDICA. The winner of FTR4H India Award will receive a global recognition through our global initiatives and exposure on our website: www.FTR4H.org.

Who is in the audience for the Blog Post and the teasers? How big and diversified is this audience base?

The FTR4H website is promoted on all Medica Trade Fair websites corresponding with the global roadshow, therefore the attracted audience are experts from the MedTech industry from around the globe.

India’s LinkedIn of Healthcare in the making

India has more than 5 million qualified professionals working in the healthcare industry. There are around 1 million doctors and 2.5 million nurses. This workforce is growing at a rate of more than 10% per annum.

If India is a puzzle to you, this short interview with Mayank Sharma, one of the owners of Medhoop – a platform for healthcare professionals and industry in India, will give you a nice introduction into the current state of the trends in the digital health startup community in India. And why it is a good investment to take part in events such as Medical Fair India 2017, held from 6-8 April in New Delhi.
“We aim to create an ecosystem in the healthcare industry for all the industry stakeholders. Everyone, from medical students, colleges and teaching institutes, healthcare providers, Health-tech, medical devices and consumables industry, thought leaders and startups, can connect seamlessly and grow together,”  This is Sharma’s brief description of Medhoop. The size of the country is keeping the healthcare industry in India fragmented. The disconnect is making the industry inefficient and uncompetitive. For this reason, digital health development is so much more promising here.

 

Let’s start with the basics. What are the three digital health trends to watch out for in India? 

Mayank Sharma, one of the owners of Medhoop.
The Indian healthcare industry is now growing 360 degrees. Healthcare providers are not only focusing on developing world class healthcare physical infrastructure, but also on integrating technology. All this aims at making treatment and information closer to patients. Among major trends I would highlight mobile health (mHealth), on-demand healthcare, EHR/EMR solutions, healthcare aggregators and telemedicine.

 

How developed are these segments?

The mHealth space is probably the hottest in the segment. It is being further augmented by wearable gadgets that monitor health statics on a real-time basis. There are startups integrating existing technologies with concepts like telemedicine, doctor on call and remote monitoring of patients. On-demand healthcare is fit for an urban population which seeks everything instantly. If possible, they want it available on their smartphones. Startups understand this need. EHR industry is on the rise, looking to capture all the information they can. Not only to provide better health care for patients, but also for system improvements. From cutting treatment costs, research purposes, giving patients access to their health records online, to changes in regulatory environment.

 

What does the startup community in India look like? 

“Today India is among the top countries in terms of growth of startups. It is exciting, buzzing with innovation, passion and energy.”

India has been a country of startups for a long time. But the real recognition is happening now – with the rise of Startups Unicorns. We have Flipkart, Snapleal, Taxi aggregator Uber (prime competitor to Uber in India), online payment solution Paytm. Social media and growing internet penetration has opened an altogether new growth avenue for startups.

 

What about the digital health community specifically?

The digital healthcare community in India is growing at a very rapid pace. From hospital/doctor appointment booking solutions, EHRs, diagnostic lab aggregators, mobile health devices – innovation and new ideas all around. Today we see a lot more entrepreneurs in the digital health and healthcare space compared to 5-8 years ago.

 

What contributed to this acceleration?

At first, the healthcare community has been hostile to new technologies and experiments due to the inherent nature of its business. But slowly, the awareness levels and aspirations of doing things faster and better is positively affecting healthcare innovations and digital health technology. Companies like Practo have already made it big and are serving international markets already.

 

Which cities are leading in terms of accelerating innovation? How does Delhi rank in this community?

Bangalore leads the list, closely followed by Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. Not surprisingly, we also have beautiful healthcare and health-tech ideas coming out from comparatively smaller cities like Jaipur and Ahmedabad. I myself come from Hathras, a very small town, and now residing in Delhi, so let’s say innovation has no boundaries.

 

What were the digital health biggest investments in 2016? 

There is significant development and a number of startups working on services like pharmacy or lab services aggregators, remote monitoring healthcare devices and online doctor or hospital discovery. Startups which attracted major investments in 2016 were majorly from the SaaS segment. Practo, Healthkart, 1mg, and Goqii were among the front runners in a list of healthcare investments by investors.
“There is significant development and a number of startups working on services like pharmacy or lab services aggregators, remote monitoring healthcare devices and online doctor or hospital discovery.”

Which are your Top 3, 7 or 10 startups for 2017? 

This is a tough question for such an exciting space like digital healthcare in India. But if I divide the digital healthcare space into segments, I would say the following:
In-Doctor Network space: the two companies clearly standing out are DocPlexus and Curofy. Both of them are fulfilling the need of doctors to be able to consult cases online right from their mobile phones and build their own professional network. It would be interesting to see what route they take next.
In-Doctor Discovery segment: booking platform Practo had disrupted the industry before anyone could even think of an idea such as online booking of appointments. Lybrate (online doctor database gives you access to over 90,000 highly trained medical experts) has been able to stick it out in 2016 and will, it seems, continue to do so. Then there is CrediHealth, with the tagline ‘Your Medical Assistance’ doing exactly the same. Within its services, it offers second opinions, doctor selection and surgery planning to an altogether other level. I am sure these companies will be further innovating and disrupting this space.

 

Where can Startups present their solution to the wider public? Are there many events such Medical Fair India?

There are multiple events on medical equipment, lab equipment, medical specialty-specific devices and pharma in India.

 

You are a partner of Medical Fair India. Where do you see the benefit of this collaboration?

It matches with our belief that as a healthcare ecosystem partner, we have a responsibility to represent all the healthcare stakeholders and engage with them. This year Medical Fair India combines equal opportunities for healthcare companies as well as medical and healthcare technology startups, which is an encouraging trend.

 

What can startups expect from Medical Fair India? 

The most important part of such expositions and fairs is networking with various industry stakeholders. Participation offers understanding of new dimensions of the industry, understanding the demands, meeting customers, buyers and a lot more. This season Medical Fair India integrates FTR4H (Future For Health) platform where healthcare technology startups can participate. Medhoop also plays a critical role of bringing these startups to forefront, connecting them with industry, prospective customers, investors and a lot more. Among other things, we are organising mentorship hours for startups. So there is a lot for startups to gain.

Startup of the Month: In 2015 the MEDICA App COMPETITION was scouting for successful mobile health startups for the fourth time. Ten early-stage startups presented their digital health apps on stage at the worlds biggest medical trade fair in Dusseldorf. At the end 2016 the winner — Israeli startup VoiceItt — announced another big milestone in their young company history: The international BIRD Foundation granted $900,000 to the development of VoiceItts mobile voice- and voice-pattern recognition software for people with disabilities. VoiceItt co-founder Danny Weissberg shared his view on their achievements after winning MEDICA App COMPETITION in 2015:

Danny, for the ones that do not know: Can you describe in a few sentences what the VoiceItt team is working on?

Danny: Voiceitt is developing an innovative speech recognition technology called Talkitt. In future, it translates non-standard speech patterns into clear speech in real time, enabling people with speech impairments to communicate spontaneously and naturally using their own voices. The solution is language-independent and can be easily integrated into existing operating systems and devices allowing speech recognition truly accessible to everyone.

You started in 2012, what happened since then?

Danny: A lot! Currently we are conducting Beta testing on dozens of potential users that show very promising results, planning to do pilot testing with Hospitals, e.g. UHealth and BCH. We will release the first product in the mid-2017. It was not an easy journey. But we were also extremely lucky to get tremendous positive feedback and could secure the necessary funding to develop such a demanding technology. To date we have raised more than $2.5M — most recently we won a grant from the Bird Foundation and a grant of 50,000 Euro from H2020 SME Instrument, Phase 1.

You have won more than $2.5; in grants and competitions without giving up much equity — much more than many other startups get from investors after years of hard work. What is your magic recipe?

Danny: We won $2M in grants but also gave up equity for $500K of Angel investments. This is no magic; it is a deliberate strategy. Developing a solution for people with disabilities is the most amazing and rewarding challenge — being able to dramatically improve and impact the lives of millions while building a very profitable business while developing cutting edge technologies. However, many investors don’t want to invest in what they see as a “Niche market”. Because of that from Day #1 on I knew we had to be creative in fundraising and put the effort more on grants\competitions were we have an advantage telling a powerful and emotional story versus private investors where we have a disadvantage of a niche market.

“We won $2M in grants but also gave up equity for $500K of Angel investments. This is no magic; it is a deliberate strategy.”

Just a few tips for fellow entrepreneurs that consider applying for grants: How long does it usually take to apply for grants?

Danny: It varies. Some are just simple web forms that takes an hour and some are long applications and processes that take’s week of work and the process make take up to a year! This is why you need to choose the “lowest hanging fruits”, where you effort is most likely to be fruitful and remember that with grants the processes are very long so make sure you have enough run rate.

Is there a complete list of competitions and grants other founders could check out?

Danny: Unfortunately, there isn’t! It also all depends on the area you are active in.

Israel is said to be the Startup Nation and many interesting digital health startups emerge from your small country. At VoiceItt, many of your investors have Israeli roots too. It looks like there is a special glue that hold together Israeli founders?

Danny: The Startup Nation has very good reputation of success and it helps getting funding from investors overseas. In our case, some investors are personally connected to the mission because they or one of their family members have speech disabilities.

You also launched your business for personal reasons?

Danny: Yes, when my grandmother had a stroke and lost her voice, it made me realize how hard it is for a person to lose this basic ability to communicate. Our app Talkitt will connect people, who have speech disabilities to the ever more voice-enabled world.
I am sure, speech recognition is going to be dominant in our life. This is how we are going to communicate not only among ourselves but with machines, computers, cars, smart homes and this is why all major companies invest in it — be it Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, IBM or Google. However, none of those companies develop a solution for people with speech disabilities.

2017 just started, what are you up to?

Danny: In 2016 we finally started Beta Testing which helps our R&D to focus on improving the technology in real-life conditions and getting the application closer to release. In 2017, we will continue pilot tests with leading hospitals to launch Talkitt worldwide — and at a very high success rate. In the last years we worked really hard to develop a product that is suitable for any kind of speech impairment. Nothing is more frustrating for people with speech issues than crushing their hopes of finally being able to communicate using their own voice by delivering a mobile app that is not tested enough. Pilot testing in Barcelona, the UK, The USA and of course your tech development in Israel. In 2016, you also attended Mobile World Congress as prize from MEDICA App COMPETITION and at Mobile World Congress you won tickets for TechCrunch Disrupt New York. Sounds like you travel a lot.

How do you cope with “living on the fast lane” all the time?

Danny: I don’t even have time to look back on how many miles I and the team travelled in 2016 — but it has been A LOT! The tough thing is not so much the traveling but the Jet-leg when traveling over the ocean.

It is said that 9 out of 10 startups struggle and die. You fought this cycle successfully so far. What advice can you give other founders that are active globally like you?

“Focus on the product development, be creative in fund sources.”

Danny, thanks for the interview and good luck in 2017!

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