Indian School of Business, Hyderabad launches DLabs – a design led accelerator focused on healthcare

The Indian School s Business is one of the most reputed B-school in the country and globally. ISB has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and has had several programs till date. It has now launched DLabs- a design-led accelerator based at its Hyderabad campus. The accelerator aims to leverage an immersive and transformative Human-Centered Design (HCD) process to build the next generation of companies.

Over the last several decades, the HCD methodology has contributed to the success of some of the most innovative organizations in the world like IDEO, Nike, P&G, and even Sesame Street. Dheeraj Batra, a business designer who was previously with IDEO, has an expertise in building businesses in emerging markets and is a part of the core team at DLabs. We get in conversation with him to learn more about the program.

Dheeraj Batra on the drawing board at DLabs
Dheeraj Batra on the drawing board at DLabs

YS: Tell us about the initiative and the timelines for the program.

DB: DLabs in partnership with Healthstart and the first accelerator batch is focused on healthcare. We are inviting applications from interested entrepreneurs for the cohort starting in July 2014.

The partnership will select 5-8 startups for the 20-week program. Selected ventures will receive investment capital as well as access to:

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• A Dedicated In-House Team: DLabs has built an in-house interdisciplinary Design SWAT team to work in an integrated fashion with entrepreneurs to solve real problems. This SWAT Team will work in the trenches along with the entrepreneurs and ensures they get the extensive expertise and bandwidth they need.

• Unique Mentorship: The partnership has established a mentor network consisting of senior executives, investors, and serial entrepreneurs and will pair each startup venture with a set of mentors along with one dedicated mentor. In addition, the partnership has built a network of world class Design Mentors to work with and strengthen the startups offerings and build a sustained patient focus.

• Global Network: The partners are in the process of establishing partnerships with other leading academic institutions globally to enable entrepreneur-exchange programs and provide international exposure. This also provides incubatees a unique perspective when growing and creates global springboards for companies targeting international markets

YS: What kind of startups are you looking for?

DB: The partnership will be looking for healthcare-focused ventures in the following areas:

• Digital healthcare companies including but not limited to healthcare platforms, mHealth and healthcare software tools.

• Medtech companies with focus on better diagnostics, remote monitoring & wearable devices

• Ventures that focus on wellness & disease management

• Start ups that increase access & affordability of healthcare services & products through innovative distribution & business models

YS: What kind of teams are you looking for?

DB: We are looking for multi-disciplinary and passionate teams that have a mix of technical and business expertise.

YS: What is the vision for DLabs?

DB: By encouraging the adoption of HCD, DLabs wants to help entrepreneurs in India build more user-oriented and successful ventures.

Interested entrepreneurs can apply online at or Business plans are due by June 15, 2014

About the author

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he has written about and analysed more than 1000 startups. He operates from the mountains in Dharamshala where he plays with technology, farming and eco-construction. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at

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