Cardiotrack is a B2B healthtech platform that helps primary healthcare centres diagnose and capture heart health data for their patients.
Their 30-year age gap may make them seem like an unlikely duo, but Avin Agarwal and Ashim Roy work well together. Having met while volunteering at a group of NGOs in 2012, they got to discussing healthcare and the lack of diagnostic capabilities at primary health centres (PHCs).
Prior to their serendipitous meeting, Avin had worked in India and the Netherlands for over 10 years, while Ashim had over three decades of experience in Australia.
His passion for healthcare led 33-year-old Avin to speak to several researchers at St John’s Research Institute, Bengaluru. Having gained an understanding of the problems they faced, he began considering the possibility of addressing the gaps through a startup of his own.
Together with 63-year-old Ashim, he came up with the idea of Cardiotrack, which develops robust and clinical-grade diagnostic equipment that is affordable and easily portable. They started up in Bengaluru in February 2014 but moved their headquarters to Singapore a year later.
It was when they began working on Cardiotrack that they realised that not just equipment but data needs to be portable too. It was then Ashim’s idea to create a healthcare IoT platform.
Cardiotrack, in its current avatar, allows primary care physicians to perform heart health checkups and share the information with specialists, especially in cases where immediate intervention is needed. “This helps primary care physicians reduce the time and cost of getting a clinical diagnosis and start the intervention process before the patient gets to see a specialist, who may be miles away,” says Ashim.
Using sensors that provide the complete 12-channel diagnostic grade, the physician captures patient information at the PHC. ECG is also integrated with sensors to monitor blood oxygen saturation and blood pressure.
This information is displayed on a phone or tablet that analyses and stores the patient’s diagnostic reports for easy reference and can be shared with a specialist for the next level of intervention. Patient records are securely saved in a cloud server for future use.
The ride, however, wasn’t easy, and Cardiotrack had to face all the usual startup hurdles — fundraising, finding a passionate team, sourcing components, dealing with customs officials, and the list goes on. Ashim says,
“When the initial funds from Avin and me could no longer take the mission forward, we decided to take on debt. This allowed field trials of the product to start. It was difficult to raise equity funds in India in 2014 as most investors were focused on e-commerce startups and Cardiotrack was no Flipkart. Cardiotrack is a B2B solution to improve primary healthcare in emerging economies.”
In 2015, when they shifted headquarters, Cardiotrack raised an angel funding round from several HNIs from Singapore and the USA. The total amount of funding they have raised so far is $650,000
The main focus is primary care and improving the quality of the diagnostics available at PHCs. The diagnostics market in India is an approximately $5 billion industry, with over a million tests being conducted daily, according to an IBEF 2015 study.
Platforms like Practo, Healthians, CORE Diagnostics, and now even 1mg already exist in the healthcare and diagnostics space. While Ashim agrees that there are several global competitors for Cardidotrack, he adds,
“We believe we have the most in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced by doctors and patients at PHCs. We are aggressively moving towards a subscription model to make our solution easily affordable by every primary care physician.”
The startup, which earned revenues of $74,000 last year, is expecting revenues of $250,000 this financial year. Although Cardiotrack has been sold in many countries, the active engagements are in India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Mexico, and the USA.
The team is working with USA’s Cook Medical to co-develop a new product based on its technology. It has also been selected by Grupo Seara as the telecardiology solution for a chain of PHCs in Mexico. Teams in both the companies are working to replicate this model in different parts of Latin America.
“The Grupo Seara relationship is expected to bring over $1 million in revenue over next 12 months,” adds Ashim.
The team is also collaborating with the French AI company Cardiologs to deliver best-in-class predictive diagnosis for cardiovascular diseases. Cardiotrack, already well known for its robust hardware, now comes integrated with AI software developed and deployed in France.
The team is working towards launching their patient app, which will provide access to patient records and the ability to share the information with healthcare specialists or family members. There will be significant discounts for patients when they visit a doctor who is part of the Cardiotrack network of primary care physician and specialists.
They have also soft launched real-time communications, which allows primary care physicians to share patient records with specialists in real time and initiate audio/video calls with the specialist to help speed up the intervention process.
“There is a lot of discussion about the use of AI for diagnostics. We are teaming up with a group of French AI experts to bring AI technology to India at a cost that is affordable. This will further reduce the intervention time by providing the primary care physician with an instantaneous report on cardiovascular problems based on the ECG report generated by Cardiotrack,” concludes Ashim.