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What Health-tech startups can do to Put Patients First !
Putting Patients First – The role of
Where are the healthcare
startup success stories ?
• No Olas and Flipkarts in the digital
health world so far
• Practo has been richly funded, but
where’s the ROI for the investors ?
• Or for the patients and doctors ?
• No change in quality of medical care
Why health-tech startups fail so
• Techies in search of a problem to solve
• No doctors on their team
• Not enough understanding of unmet
• Want doctors to change their behaviour
• Treat doctors as dinosaurs
Hope, hype and harm
• Engineers fall In love with the
newest shiny new object
• Doctors have burned their fingers in
the past – don’t trust engineers
• Think they don’t understand
anything about patient care
Doctor vs Engineer
Bridge the gap !
• Doctors are conservative – if it’s not
broken, why fix it ? Cannot afford to
experiment with our patients !
• Engineers want to break stuff and put it
apart again - but not at the expense of
The promise of digital health
• Healthcare is broken
• Startups can improve existing
diagnostic, treatment, and monitoring
• Help healthcare become more
accessible, available, affordable,
accurate, and personalized
The 4 Ds of medical device
innovation ( BETIC, IIT)
• Define unmet clinical needs
• Design prototypes in the MICE
• Deliver to the bedside
• Deploy in the market
• On the Board of IKSHealth ( a Rakesh
Jhunjhunwalla company ) 10 years ago
• My daughter worked in impact investing
and did her MBA from Stanford
• Joined Mumbai Angels – an angel
• Now do it through my Family office,
Reinventing myself – learning
to become an angel investor
• Easier today, thanks to the internet !
• Share my experiences on LinkedIn. Have
90000 followers today
• Learn a lot daily
• Get to broaden my horizons – the world
is a fascinating place !
• To be founder-friendly. Respect
• Frugal Innovation
• Say No quickly
• Have a well defined Investment
• Try to be open and transparent
Whom do I fund ?
• Need to fall in love with the
• LOI vs ROI
• Integrity, Curiosity, Humility
• Willing to teach – and to learn
• Paying customers
• Back the entrepreneur
• Soft corner for failed entrepreneurs
• Women entrepreneurs
• Social impact investing ( edutech
• Domain agnostic
After signing the cheque
• This is when the hard work starts !
• Need to be actively engaged
• Monthly MIS
• Governance and accounting
• Introductions to other investors and
• Help only when asked !
Angel investing will not make
you rich !
• Illiquid asset class. Need lots of patience
• 80% of startups fail
• Only invest money which you can afford
to lose without losing any sleep over
• Have realistic expectations !
• LOI > ROI
Principles of angel
• Portfolio approach
• Join a network
• Read about angel investing
• Not a “ get rich quick” scheme –
do your homework !
Why I enjoy being an angel
• Makes you optimistic. More hopeful
about the future by connecting with
bright young ambitious entrepreneurs
• Can contribute to the next generation
• Networking opportunities
• Helps you remain young because you
learn all the time
Why doctors make good angel
• Empathy ( as a clinical skill)
• Domain expertise in healthcare
• Brand ambassador and evangelist
• Lots of good will in the community
• Doctors in private practice are
• Become a better doctor too because
your business sense improves
Why doctors find it hard to
• Not good at being team players – want
to be captain of the ship
• Not taught to tinker – just learn to cram
• Few role models to emulate
• Find it safer to be conventional and to
start a clinic
• Lost opportunities !
Ideas, Implementation and
• Ideas are a dime a dozen. Don’t fall in
love with your ideas – most are bad !
• Generate lots of ideas ! This improves
your chances of stumbling on the right
• Don’t worry anyone will steal your
ideas. Share them and ask for criticism,
so you can polish them !
• Passion is necessary but not sufficient
The doctor as entrepreneur
• Be willing to take calculated risks
• Be prepared for failure
• Learn to be resilient
• Ask your patients for help !
• Can be a great journey - will
teach you a lot about yourself –
and about the world !
Key ingredient for success – Learn!
• To sell. Learn to tell stories
• To lead a team
• To get your hands dirty
• To be patient and persistent
• Work in a startup – the best way to
learn a lot very quickly !
• Play to your strengths
• Proves you can implement !
• Shows faith in yourself ! If you don’t
invest in yourself, why do you expect
investors to ?
• Guerilla marketing
• Your customers are your best source of
• If you can get paying customers, the
investors will follow !
Books for Entrepreneurs
• Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs by
• Hot Seat by Dan Shapiro
• Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a
Successful Startup by Bill Aulet
• Bootstrapping your Business by Greg
The doctor as a customer of a
• Give young entrepreneurs a chance
• You can learn a lot from them !
• Be willing to be a beta tester – be
forgiving of false starts and failures
• Can help to guide them !
• Can invest in the ones you admire
Doctors need to partner
• You can mentor healthcare startups
• Help you to remain on the cutting edge
of medicine !
How can we help doctors to
become more innovative ?
Hospitals are where the patients
and doctors are !
• Allows for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
• Medical students can talk to engineers,
senior doctors and designers under one roof
• Perspectives from different fields could be
blended together to create brand new
solutions which are co-created for
• Inputs from patients and caregivers
Innovation should start from the
• Easy access to patients
• Senior doctors will provide guidance
• Doctors understand the pain points of
patients, so that the solutions they
provide will be practical and feasible,
and can be implemented easily in India.