The Tech Panda 6 startups of the month: Healthtech
A look at the innovative Indian healthtech ecosystem, which seems determined to make a success of healthcare by infusing it with tech.
Remote healthcare is catching up to the times, with mobile health and IoMT looking at a brighter future much earlier than expected. The coronavirus pandemic does have a lot to do with this.
For example, it ensured a record rise in global life insurance claims to the tune of US$5.5 billion in the first nine months of 2021 in comparison to US$3.5 billion for the entire 2020, according to a report by insurance broker Howden in January. The rise was seen mainly in the US, India and South Africa.
However, the healthcare ecosystem is responding with innovation and unprecedented growth, experiencing much needed funding, and talent. The Tech Panda takes a look at six of today’s healthcare startups that are determined to make a healthy population.
With the motto of developing cost effective and easy-to-use management tools to help diabetics lead a better life, FeetWings introduces a smart healthcare assistant that continuously monitors patient’s vitals such as foot temperature and blood glucose non-invasively through its Smart Socks, providing diabetics an accurate, cost effective and non-invasive tool for monitoring and management of blood glucose, peripheral neuropathy and foot ulcers.
The founders could foresee the impact the socks can have on the world at large, where approximately 450 million people globally are affected by diabetes. Their vision is to lower the mortality rate, improve patient quality of life, and to make the world a better place for every patient suffering from diabetes.
Feetwings is co-founded by Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Hrithik Jaiswal and Animesh Kumar. Dr. Bhargava is a lifestyle medicine-obesity specialist and celebrity nutritionist while Jaiswal and Kumar are 3rd year biotechnology students from NSUT, Delhi. Their past experience has helped them in understanding the real pain points in current solutions and after witnessing the horrifying outcome of diabetes, they cemented their thoughts on the pressing need of coming up with a holistic solution for diabetics.
A diabetic faces numerous challenges on a daily basis. The mental trauma of constantly worrying about one’s health is extremely exhausting and stressful. FeetWings targets such pain points, alleviating the users from the constant state of worry
“A diabetic faces numerous challenges on a daily basis. The mental trauma of constantly worrying about one’s health is extremely exhausting and stressful. FeetWings targets such pain points, alleviating the users from the constant state of worry,” Dr. Bhargava says.
According to the WHO, currently there are around 450 million cases of diabetes in the world, and the number could potentially reach 700 million by 2045, with India quoted as ‘Diabetic capital of the world’. There is significant demand for a non-invasive glucose monitor, as most diabetic patients hate pricking their fingers multiple times each day to monitor their blood sugars as part of preventive care.
Algorithmic Biologics Pvt Ltd (ABPL)
ABPL’s platform technology works like a compression algorithm for molecular testing and has applications in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, animal husbandry, food safety, synthetic biology, and molecular biology research.
They began nine months ago with their patented rapid Covid testing solution and are extending their solution to other diagnostic tests. Their product Tapestry is already enabling affordable screening in campuses for COVID-19.
We are deeply invested in science and technology and are bringing cutting-edge ideas from molecular computing and computer science to molecular testing
“We are pursuing our vision of smarter molecular testing leading to better health for all,” says Founder and CEO, Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan ABPL. “We are deeply invested in science and technology and are bringing cutting-edge ideas from molecular computing and computer science to molecular testing.”
ABPL is working with leading brand names across industries to provide smarter molecular testing for food safety-related applications and seed R&D.
Hospals uses its proprietary recommendation engine to find the best surgeons and cosmetic clinics for patients depending on their location, treatment and budget. Its network of over 400 Hospals Health Consultants across 30 countries provides local counselling and support to ensure a seamless experience for the patient.
Healthcare expenses which include treatment costs and travelling expenditure can be daunting for a family. Having a guided advisory from companies like Hospals can ease the stress as their model connects you with the best doctors and surgeons in their respective disciplines. They also provide translation and residential assistance close to the hospitals.
India is one of the largest and fastest growing market for medical tourism on the back of affordability and accessibility of high-quality healthcare treatments. Hospals has been at the centre of expanding this market.
Hospals was founded by Danish Ahmed, Obaidullah, and Suneel Kapur. Kapur had earlier worked as the Group Sales head for Fortis Hospitals and Chief Marketing Officer at Radiant Group, recently acquired by Max Healthcare.
Danish Ahmed, who Co-Founded Hospals after quitting his role as Vice President at Paytm, says, “Hospals started with a single vision to provide universal health coverage. Through Hospals assured, international telehealth and our concierge travel services, Hospals is enabling people across Asia and Africa to access world class healthcare.
We’re rapidly expanding our network of hospitals and collecting data points across the spectrum to help patients find the best surgeons and clinics across Asia
“We’re rapidly expanding our network of hospitals and collecting data points across the spectrum to help patients find the best surgeons and clinics across Asia. We’re solving problems in accommodation, remittances and medicine delivery across the border.
“We’ll soon launch fintech services like medical loans and crowdfunding to help patients finance their treatments beyond insurance coverage, so that each human has access to the best healthcare globally.”
Medical tourism is a US$78 billion industry globally and was growing at 25% CAGR before COVID-19 brought international travel to a halt. With millions of patients waiting for surgeries since the past two years and thousands of medical travel companies shutting operations during COVID-19, Hospals is rapidly scaling its operations to service this backlog.
The startup has already served over 22000 patients from 38 countries to get medical advice, teleconsultants and surgical treatments across over a hundred hospitals in its network. Its health benefits membership, called Hospals Assured, enables subscribers from Africa/Asia to get unlimited doctor teleconsults and free surgical treatments up to US$15,000 across Indian hospitals.
Flexmo, is a pioneer in providing premium assistive products for elderly and locomotive disabled people. With its motto of “Go Limitless, Go Independent, Go Stylish”, Flexmo is working towards offering people a stylish set of mobility aids that provide them the sense of independence and confidence to move anywhere, anytime.
With nuclear lifestyles becoming more common, assistive care for the elderly and disabled is gaining attention. Usability, affordability and service quality continue to remain the major stumbling blocks that limit the growth of the assistive technologies market in India. Flexmotiv has demonstrated the capabilities to fill these gaps and empower Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to break the barriers to inclusive and aspirational quality of life.
Flexmo will provide users, who have seen the low quality and traditional mobility aids so far, an alternative which will significantly improve their walking experience
Arvind S.A., the Founder and CEO of Flexmo, says, “Flexmo will provide users, who have seen the low quality and traditional mobility aids so far, an alternative which will significantly improve their walking experience. Our style and quality are comparable to mobility aids in US markets which cost well above US$200, but, however, are available at a reasonable Indian price range.”
The market size, currently, for the combined mobility aids and care products for the elderly is US$13 billion. This number is set to boom considering the demand and a paradigm shift in products that make the ones in need feel independent for their mobility.
According to WHO, 75 million people need a wheelchair and only 5% to 15% of those have access to one. Large populations of India also live with some kind of physical or mental disability. Any innovation in assistive technology space which can aid health, well-being and socioeconomic benefits shall have a huge impact and large market size too.
Founded in August 2017, Flexmo has a customer base of 2000 users. The startup is currently operating (R&D, manufacturing and warehousing) in Delhi and supplies to major hospitals in the Delhi and NCR Region. Through Amazon and other eCommerce platforms, their underarm clutches and other products reach out to a wider end-users across India.
Founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur and Gaming Guru, Vishal Gondal, GOQii is empowering consumers globally to lead healthier and better lives. The startup’s smart-tech-enabled healthcare platform brings together the entire preventive healthcare ecosystem.
It’s smart health ecosystem integrates tools for real-time personalized coaching, an explosive high-growth health e-commerce store, scheduling health check-ups, a health locker, and a unique ‘GOQii Cash’ program where healthy behaviour is rewarded with cash discounts and insurance discounts based on health management data.
Given the state of ‘sickcare’ delivery infrastructure in India, the company strongly believes that preventive healthcare is the only viable, long-term, mass-market solution. GOQii’s offerings include fitness tracker, app, coaching, healthstore, insurance and many others. GOQii strongly believes that preventive healthcare is the only viable, long-term, mass-market solution, not only in India but around the world.
We are strong believers in the positive impact preventive healthcare technology can create in the lives of millions of people in India and globally
Vishal Gondal, Founder and CEO, said “GOQii has been a pioneer in the connected health ecosystem in India. We are strong believers in the positive impact preventive healthcare technology can create in the lives of millions of people in India and globally.”
GOQii has been the first official partner of the Fit India Movement. GOQii’s solutions have benefited millions of customers to manage as well as avoid chronic health conditions by inculcating healthy lifestyle changes. GOQii counts marquee investors like Mitsui, Megadelta, DSG Consumer Partners, Galaxy Digital, Denlow Investment Trust, Edelweiss, Cheetah Mobile, GWC, Ratan Tata, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
The insurance product would reward users for healthy behaviour by way of a health insurance. GOQii is also targeting several therapeutic areas across diabetes, women’s health, radiology, etc. through its digital therapeutics offerings. GOQii is also set to launch its international offerings focusing on various solutions around preventive healthcare.
HealthySure is an employee welfare platform, targeting SMEs to make insurance and healthcare affordable and accessible to the Indian workforce and their families. The platform offers digitized policy and claim experience with curated health and wellness offerings.
The company claims to have launched India’s first Unified Health Insurance plan that allows employees to personalize their organization health covers with continuity post-employment thus, eliminating the need of holding an independent personal health cover and saving up to 75% premiums.
HealthySure offers a unique product of Unified Health Insurance which lets employees take personal insurance cover as high as INR1 crore and all this, while saving significant costs since a sizable portion is subsidized by the employers themselves. All this is managed through a seamless tech experience for the organizations as well as the employees. At the same time HealthySure also offers a complete healthcare stack for organizations to manage their health benefits.
In this day and age, securing health insurance for each and every family is imperative as it helps to bear the huge cost of future health concerns which at times can be extremely expensive and unaffordable. However, the penetration of voluntary health insurance in India is less than 10% for various reasons like difficulty in understanding the policy, affordability, trust factor, accessibility and so on. To address this problem, HealthySure has created a seamless platform to reach out to larger masses targeting SMEs whose majority workforce doesn’t have an insurance cover.
We are not just building a disruptive startup, we are also looking to transform the lives of millions of Indian families with health security
Anuj Parekh, Co-Founder and CEO of HealthySure says, “We are not just building a disruptive startup, we are also looking to transform the lives of millions of Indian families with health security. We see tech as core to achieving our vision and are investing heavily to make our systems seamless and frictionless and hope to drive down health insurance costs further.”
“We ultimately want every Indian to be comprehensively covered through health insurance and eliminate financial worry at the time of health emergencies,” adds Anuj.
Founded in April 2021, by two CAs, IIM-B alumnus Anuj Parekh and ISB alumnus Sanil Basutkar, HealthySure is transforming the insurtech industry with tech-enabled employee healthcare protection and management solutions for Indian organizations. It’s already working with 70+ organizations and is covering 20,000+ people under its healthcare solutions. The startup helps in simplifying health insurance for the employed Indians and make it more affordable and accessible.