Healthcare in India is considered to be one of the largest, and equally hardest, areas of development in the country. With a large population disconnected from urban affordances and access to essential services, Healthcare benefits need to cover a large spectrum spanning various market demographics and entry-barriers. While peripheral technology and infrastructure advancements have enabled the progress of Healthcare Delivery, there are various external determinants shaping the sector right from socio-economic aspects to policy interventions. This nature of the Indian Healthcare sector gives way to multiple partnerships and open innovation areas, ranging from pharmaceuticals, devices, delivery mechanisms, (Bio) Tech R&D, affordability and financing.
In light of this, IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) recently concluded its Healthcare Accelerator 2016 program with a demo-day held at the Bosch campus in Koramangala, Bangalore, on 27th August. Conducted in partnership with The Dasra Girl Alliance, the three-month long accelerator was part of CIIE’s larger efforts in defining its focus on Healthcare as a part of the Bharat Innovations Fund, a public-private-partnership backed venture fund to support emerging start-ups working in Enterprise and Infrastructure solutions across sectors.
With an aim to shortlist start-ups embarking on potentially breakthrough routes towards healthcare industry advancements, 9 early-stage ventures were selected for the program. Working in core progress areas such as Medical Devices, Healthcare IT and Bio Tech, the cohort consisted of:
- Aduivo Diagnostics, who are developing a non-invasive portable platform for detection and classification of skin and soft tissue infections
- Advino Technologies, whose product, CuraLaser, is a portable Dual Laser & HVLA Bio-Stimulation device
- DeeDee Labs, who are creating non-invasive affordable myoelectric limbs for developing countries
- iCHR, India’s first Hospital-linked Integrated Child Health Record solution
- Padmaseetha Technologies’ product, mCAPD, a safe, affordable, anytime-anywhere CAPD Dialysis device
- Module Innovations, whose quick and affordable product, USense, is a PoC solution for detection of specific bacteria causing UTI
- Transpact Enterprise, who are building Vestibulator; a therapeutic device to stimulate the Vestibular system
- Yostra Labs, who are working on a multi-parameter Peripheral Neuropathy diagnostic device for Diabetes patients
- WeInnovate BioSolutions, who are working on novel and affordable products for rapid healing of critical wounds
The accelerator program kicked-off with a workshop conducted at the IIM-A campus in May, and leveraged seasoned sector resources for its touchpoints with the start-ups. The experiences, insights, and learnings shared as part of the program came from active contributors in the development of the Healthcare industry; such as academia (Prof. K. V. Ramani and Prof. Piyush Sinha of IIM-A), Venture Capital (Barath Subramanian of Accel Partners), and private Healthcare leadership (Rajiv Sharma of Sterling Hospitals). Over the two-month duration, the start-ups worked with program mentors and partners, making in-roads in furthering their product development and market-entry goals. This was aided by their increased understanding of how avenues such as marketing, early-stage investments, and the varying involvement of corporates, hospitals and government, will play in their roadmap. The Demo Day culminated the program, and began to shape the start-ups’ journeys, with a chance to pitch their solutions to Investors, potential business partners, and other enabling partners including CSR heads. This was bookended by stalwarts such as Apoorva Patni (Patni, Currae Healthcare) and Vivek Madiappa (Mobident), who evangelised the role startups like these played in the changing dynamics of Healthcare Services, Medical Devices and Bio Tech developments.
The accelerator’s successful completion, validated by integral changes to the business models of the startups, has provided CIIE with further learnings to implement in upcoming programs. Replicating this success and enabling the development of Healthcare through similar partnerships will form a clear point of CIIE’s focus on Health and Life Sciences through the fledgling Bharat Innovation Fund.