Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment, and the emergence of healthtech startups has contributed to the country’s competitive advantage. According to State of Startup Ecosystem 2018, there are around 4,892 healthtech startups in India. By 2022, the healthcare market in India is estimated to grow to $370 billion, and is attracting investors, who are eyeing potential returns of up to 35-40%.
Innovations such as smart wearables, portable devices, doctor-patient personalisation models, digital nurses and more which enable real-time information creation and analysis have contributed to the sector’s growth. Making these solutions more agile, enabling collaboration, and making it easier for companies of all sizes to incorporate new technologies into their solutions is Amazon Web Services (AWS). The healthtech community came together at AWS HealthTech Day on August 8, 9, 2019 in Bengaluru and Gurgaon, to explore major trends that are shaping the growth of the Indian healthtech industry in 2019, how VCs invest in the space, and how to reimagine healthcare and life sciences on AWS.
Innovation in healthcare in 2030
Bengaluru saw a panel discussion with Kunal Chourasia, Head of Engineering, Cure.Fit; Chaitanya Shravanth, Chief Digital Officer, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals; Enbasekar D, CTO and Co-Founder, Docsapp.In; and Nikhil Narayan, Lead Data Scientist, Mfine (Novocura Tech Health Services). The discussion was moderated by AWS.
The panelists spoke about their startup journeys and how they leveraged technology to improve their products. They shared their perspectives on how innovations in the telemedicine vertical would look like in a decade, and the growth in the wellness and prevention space. They also discussed strategic and technological initiatives they have in mind for the year 2030 and the disruptions they foresee.
Winning together: Successful corporate and startup collaborations
In Gurgaon, a panel discussion with Unique Kumar, Head - Digital Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Application, Max Healthcare; Manish Mittal, Managing Principal and Country Head, Axtria; and Ankit Maheshwari, VP Engineering and Founding Team Member, Innovaccer was moderated by AWS.
The discussion revolved around opportunities for startup-enterprise collaboration in the healthcare/pharma space. The startup leaders shared their experiences of how they collaborated with enterprises to deliver results, whereas the enterprises spoke about areas where they would love to support startups, and the evaluation criteria to partner with a startup. Startups also shared growth hacks on how to acquire the first customer, and what it takes to be a global player in the healthtech space.
VCs on funding in healthTech
Another panel discussion at both venues was on how VCs look at funding healthtech startups. The Bengaluru panel comprised Rajesh Rai, Partner, Montane Ventures; Rohit M A, Cofounder, Capier Investments; KL Mukesh, Venture Partner, Unitus Ventures; and Roopan Aulakh, Principal, pi Ventures. The panel was moderated by AWS.
The panel in Gurgaon comprised Ashwin Raguraman, Founding Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund; Pinak Shrikhande, Principal, Healthquad; Soaib Grewal, Venture Partner, Tlabs; and Lavindra de Silva, Venture Partner, BlueSky Capital Partners. It was moderated by Digbijoy Shukla, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Amazon Internet Services India.
In both cities, the panellists spoke about how the healthtech sector is shaping up in India in terms of investment ecosystem, technology, number of new startups and regulations. They discussed which verticals within healthtech will take off within the next five years and where they are keen on investing. The VCs shared their opinion on the opportunities for B2B vs B2C startups in the healthcare space.
According to them, the healthtech boom is not far, and the discussions shed light on how Indian healthtech startups compare to their global counterparts in terms of both the problem they are trying to solve, and the level of maturity and innovation.
Cloud computing in healthcare and life sciences
There was a session on cloud computing in the healthcare and life sciences space by AWS. There is one doctor per 2,000 people, and the average visit to a doctor takes 3-4 hours. But now technology is making doctors more accessible and reducing visit time through a new model called FIRM - Focus on differentiating your company, incorporate new technology into care delivery, reduce risk and manage your data intelligently.
The session covered Amazon's culture of innovation which revolves around their customers. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 140+ services that range from computing, storage, networking, analytics, application services, developer, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented/virtual reality, security, hybrid and enterprise applications. AWS innovates rapidly on behalf of their customers, and offer a broad and deep set of services. They are also focused on providing customers with choices – which is why they support the most popular frameworks.
India’s healthtech scenario from the cloud
YourStory presented a report on healthcare and life sciences startup trends in India. "The following year will be an exciting one for healthtech startups," said Dipti Nair, Editor in Large, YourStory at the Bengaluru event. The need of the hour is innovation both at the higher as well as the lower end of the spectrum where the problem of access is solved for the rural and remote areas and pricing problems are solved for cities and metros.
A recent EY report said that 82 percent of healthcare startups are offering improved affordability of their products. "As healthcare data becomes more comprehensive, data analytics and predictive healthcare are bound to become more accurate. This will tackle the problem of access to healthcare, while the improvement in accuracy of predictions will increase the personalisation aspect of fitness and wellness products, and also reduce the time taken to treat patients," said Ramarko Sengupta, Senior Editor, YourStory at the event in Gurgaon. The report concluded that it’s a win-win as the future holds promise not just for the health players but for the end customers as well.
Hacks on functional nutrition
In both cities, Deepa Kannan, Functional Nutritionist, Phytothrive, organised an interactive session on functional nutrition and shared 10 health hack specifically directed towards microbiome, adrenals and stress, detoxification, fasting, circadian rhythm, brain, exercise, community, sleep and glymphatic system. She spoke about the different ways you could upset these concepts, and the importance of hacking them. "Stress, restrictive dieting, over exercising, poor sleep, fad diets could upset your adrenals. You should stop overworking your adrenal glands, be it from excess stimulants or stress. Try to eat more protein and red coloured foods," she said.