[100 Emerging Women Leader] Synapsica, led by Meenakshi Singh, uses AI radiology reporting to save lives
While some people turn a blind eye or learn to live with the adversities of life, some find it hard to come to terms with them. Meenakshi Singh belongs to the latter category. Not only did the adversities disturb her, they also drove her to find a solution to an issue she had known since childhood, growing up in a small town in Uttar Pradesh.
Born to parents who were working in the medical field, Meenakshi was witness to the appalling effects of a poor healthcare system, doctor shortage, and improper diagnosis from a very young age.
“I have seen children dying in my arms,” says Meenakshi, recalling the traumatic consequences of improper, inadequate, and even lack of diagnostic facilities.
There was a shortage of radiologists in the town, often leading to incorrect diagnosis and treatment. This not only affected Meenakshi significantly but it also built her resolve to remedy the situation.
In 2018, Meenakshi, along with Dr Cherian and Kuldeep Singh Chauhan, started an artificial intelligence-based radiology reporting startup called.
Synapsica's cloud-based Radiolens platform enables radiologists and clinicians to create reports with illustrations and objective evidence of diseases. This enables transparency to the served communities, ultimately leading to better patient care.
“The aim was to use computer vision and deep-learning-based software products to assist diagnosis in X-ray, CT and MRI scans,” says Meenakshi.
With each passing day, the startup is overcoming challenges and gaining momentum, as it serves and collaborates with industry leaders.
According to Meenakshi, one of the biggest challenges faced by the founders is the unavailability of internet in smaller regions, which hinders the company’s outreach initiatives.
Synapsica offers its services primarily through the internet. The town that is closest to 10 to 20 villages is provided with an internet connection, and radiologists generate reports virtually for the patients linked to this centre.
Though the connectivity problem is being addressed, it is not enough, says Meenakshi.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to challenges in fundraising, due to the prevailing uncertainty.
In 2021, the startup raised a funding of $4.2 million in a Series A round. The investors included, , and .
“It is extremely challenging and stressful to run a startup. Y Combinator came when we had almost run out of cash. That was the moment when all the founders breathed a huge sigh of relief,” says Meenakshi.
As she reflects on her journey, Meenakshi ponders over the conscious and unconscious biases that women in business face. However, the situation for women entrepreneurs is improving, says Meenakshi and emphasises the importance of work output in moving past such biases.
What is her advice to women entrepreneurs? “Keep at it! We have to work 3x harder to get into the same space as our competitors, but the effort we put in will only make us better,” says Meenakshi.
Edited by Swetha Kannan