Philips HealthWorks bets on 4 Indian startups for its accelerator programme


The four startups are Niramai, Parentlane, Theranosis, and Touchkin. Philips’ three-month long programme is designed to help them build, test, de-risk, and scale their idea.

Philips HealthWorks, the global startups initiative of Dutch technology company Philips, announced the first cohort of its accelerator programme recently. It hosted a ‘Breakthrough Day’ at the Philips Innovation Campus in Bengaluru on Thursday, where the four selected startups in the healthcare sector demonstrated their solutions.

The four startups chosen from 600 startups across the country are Niramai, Parentlane, Theranosis, and Touchkin.

The solutions include a non-invasive breast screening solution, an intelligent social platform that tracks a child's holistic developmental activities, a solution for monitoring cancer treatment efficacy and clinical outcomes, and an emotionally intelligent AI platform.

The three-month long programme is designed to help the startups build, test, de-risk, and scale their idea. It will provide them with mentorship, finance, technical and business expertise, technology, and access to Philips’ co-working space and innovation labs. 

Speaking at the event, Alberto Prado, Head of Philips HealthWorks said, “The programme gives access to an outstanding network of experts, investors and healthcare partners, and also to our three global innovation hubs. We are very excited about our first Bengaluru cohort which is showcasing exciting solutions across a vast array of fields in healthcare, from data science, oncology, behavioural health to parenting.”

Alberto Prado also added that there are not many unicorns in health care as the challenges are many when it comes to this niche but critical sector.

The global startups initiative’s mission is to give billions of people the opportunity to live healthier lives through predictive and preventative care, faster and more accurate diagnoses, personalised treatment, improved outcomes, and lower healthcare costs.

“Most startups in India are in ecommerce or fintech space. There are very few startups in the cutting-edge health sector. It is very important to solve the problem with technology in hand like artificial intelligence and deep learning. We want to build on such opportunities. We are making a dedicated effort to help startups in strengthening their value proposition and become successful sustainable business.” said Srinivas Prasad, CEO, Philips Innovation Campus, Bengaluru.

Adding to that, he said, “For startups to be successful, it has to ‘Think global and act local’.”

The accelerated startup team members with the team at Philips.

Here is a brief of the selected startups:

Niramai: Niramai Health Analytix is a breast cancer screening startup founded in 2016 by Dr Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur. It is into developing analytics software to detect breast cancer at an early stage. Niramai uses a high-resolution thermal sensing device that scans the chest area like a camera. It then uses cloud-hosted analytics solution for analysing the thermal images. Its SaaS solution uses big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning for reliable, early and accurate breast cancer screening.

The innovative methods used in the solution have led to multiple US patents, and their novel algorithms have also been peer-reviewed in international scientific conferences.

In April this year, it raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding that was led by pi Ventures and included Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, 500 Startups, and Flipkart.

Parentlane: This Bengaluru-based startup has been founded by Vijay Anand and Neeraj Kumar Gupta and they create a solution (social networking mobile app) to empower parents and healthcare professionals with holistic child growth and development-focussed solution. The firm leverages data science and machine learning to map child development and deliver personalised recommendation to parents. It tracks a child's holistic developmental activities during the critical stage between of 0 to 8 years.

Talking about his experience at the accelerator programme, Neeraj, Co-founder and CTO of Parentlane, said, “Philips HealthWorks programme helped us understand the big picture, identify our customers, and understand their pain points.” 

Theranosis: Theranosis Life Sciences Pvt Ltd is a personalised medicine startup based in Hyderabad. It is developing a liquid biopsy focussed solution involving micro-fluidics enabled lab-on-a-chip to medical device which will identify circulating tumor cells in blood and help an oncologist improve a patient’s clinical outcome by monitoring cancer treatment.

Talking about his journey and experience with Philips HealthWorks, Dr. Shibi Kannan, Founder and CEO, Theranosis, said, “Unlike other accelerator programmes, this one was focussed on medical technology. Apart from usual business modelling, we had an opportunity to do customer journey-mapping and understanding value proposition, which helped immensely in fine tuning our business.”

Touchkin: Touchkin is an 'emotionally intelligent' AI platform that understands an individual’s current state of mind, simply from the activity on their smartphone and provides support from a bot (Wysa). It was founded by Jo Aggarwal and Ramakant Vempati in 2015. The platform uses AI and machine learning to provide personalised, emotional wellbeing assistance. Touchkin had raised $400,000 in an angel round in January 2016.

Ramakant Vempati, at the event, said, “ When it comes to mental health, our focus was earlier only on business to consumer (B2C), but after coming to the programme, we see larger opportunities in scaling our business.”