This woman entrepreneur’s startup monitors heart health with a device the size of a power bank
Srushti Adani hails from a family of entrepreneurially driven doctors. Her parents started their own hospital when she was five years old.
Since money was tight and free time was minimal, they decided to move to the top floor of the hospital in a one-bedroom doctor’s quarter where they lived until she was 14 years old.
“I grew up in and around healthcare – I saw deaths and miracles and everything in between. The nine years I spent living in the hospital inspired me to become a biomedical engineer, especially since my dad saw huge potential in medical technology’s ability to transform lives of millions,” Srushti recalls.
Consequently, she went to the University of California at Berkeley on a scholarship for her undergraduate degrees in Bioengineering, Industrial Engineering and South Asian Studies. She returned to India in 2018 to start, a startup that aims to enable timely diagnosis and analysis of heart health from the convenience of one’s home.
Srushti found the pain point for Wellnest right at home.
When her father, an emergency care specialist who had seen people die as a result of delayed care, chose to ignore his very evident heart-attack symptoms, dismissing them as acid reflux, she says she knew that something was not right with the healthcare system.
She explains, “While it’s true that delay in diagnosis is often due to lack of the 3A’s: awareness, affordability and accessibility, this incident of my father, someone with access, awareness, and ability to afford, minimising his symptoms brought me to the realisation that the healthcare system emulates anxiety and stress, even in seasoned medical professionals.
"I realised that the current system is extremely complicated, which results in unnecessary waste of resources. Additionally, it also creates fear and aversion to medical care, ultimately leading to delays in patient care.”
Srushti knew that if her father, a cautious, knowledgeable doctor, could ignore his symptoms, most other people would.
“I tried to find solutions that would help determine easily if a certain symptom was serious or not, but when I was unable to find such a solution, I decided to start Wellnest. I decided to build a hardware-driven ecosystem to unravel this healthcare maze. When the users have any medical problem, Wellnest will provide data-driven, customised guidance on next steps, so that the impact of fear and delay can be reduced in the process of diagnosis,” she adds.
At the heart of tech in healthcare
The pandemic only added to the need to amalgamate technology into businesses to solve problems, which led Wellnest to focus on building products that improve reactive care.
“We are investing in IoMT/App-enabled, AI-driven medical devices that will help us gain more active users on our platform. Additionally, this will enable us in expanding opportunities for forward and backward integrations to achieve our vision of a holistic care platform,” Srushti says.
Its first product is the Wellnest 12L, a 12-channel, app-enabled ECG solution system that is accessible and easy to use and does not require one to have a cardiology background.
Designed, developed, and manufactured in India by experts from IIT-Kanpur/IIM-Ahmedabad, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, MIT Institute of Design, and National Institute of Design, Wellnest 12L is a Bluetooth-enabled electrocardiograph machine that captures medical-grade patient heart data. With a 500 Hz refresh rate and the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, the ECG capturing is simultaneous, smooth, and accurate.
How it works
The Wellnest 12L Pro comes with a one-size-fits-all ECG electrode belt with nine out of 10 electrodes pre-fixed: the V1 and V2 electrode need to be centred evenly on both sides of the sternum, the straps placed around the arms, and the belt buckle attached. The app is connected to the device to record the ECG. The PDF copy can be shared via WhatsApp, email, or even printed on a Wi-Fi printer.
She has two co-founders: Arjav Dave, a UT Arlington graduate, who leads its software and data science team and has over a decade of experience building software solutions for global clients, and Niral Desai, an IITK-IIMA alumnus, who leads Wellnest’s product experience team.
The healthtech startup’s target consumers include NGOs, PHCs, and CHCs. Devices are manufactured in Gandhinagar and assembled in Ahmedabad; prices start at Rs 31,500 and go up to Rs 50,000.
Srushti shares that 60 percent of the existing user base is located in remote locations or serving underserved areas. Of the remaining 40 percent, 20 percent are located in metro cities and 20 percent in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These are predominantly, cardiologists, physicians, diagnostic centres, and BHMS doctors.
12L Pro comes at a one-time hardware cost and then optional add-ons or subscriptions for other services.
Srushti claims that their introductory solution, Wellnest 12L, has helped “save over 175 lives in 16 months”.
“A significant portion of our devices are used in rural areas where medical care is difficult to find. With new product launches, we are hoping to serve over 500,000 people in the upcoming year.”
Srushti is aware that they are competing against industry giants like BPL, Schiller, Philips and GE. But she believes while they have created the gold standard in the category, they are bulky and have not adapted to new technology, yet.
She says her strategy is simple: build high quality products, sell them at competitive prices, and provide extraordinary after-sales service.
The founders have chosen to stay bootstrapped.
“I am a strong proponent of the belief that customer’s money is the best income. We have generated revenues of around $500,000 in the last 16 months and are looking to grow this number exponentially,” she says.
As a 26-year-old entrepreneur, Srushti feels ambitious women are always scrutinised for being selfish or not being “family-oriented” simply because they want to be independent and create a difference in society.
“Women face major discrimination in the tech space and as a result, the male-to-female applicant ratio for technical jobs is abysmal. It is imperative that as a society we create a system that enables women to take up more leadership roles and start their own ventures,” Srushti concludes.
Edited by Teja Lele