Doctors See a Healthy Future in Startups

Healthcare sector is undergoing corporatisation as it adopts latest tech tools for running the business
Running a startup is rather like being in an intensive care unit, said Deepu Sebin. He is one among an increasing number of doctors turning to entrepreneurship as the healthcare sector fast embraces corporatisation and latest technological tools for running the business.Although doctors have been setting up clinics and hospitals for long, Sebin represents a new kind of entrepreneurs among the medical fraternity that are now emerging.

“Both ICUs and startups have high energy, crisis-filled atmosphere. At the end of the day, it is about making an impact,“ said Sebin, who is democratising access to medical information through Daily Rounds, an app that aims to be the equivalent of GitHub and StackOverflow for doctors.

Sebin, who has a Master’s in internal medicine from Government Medical College, Kottayam, has developed a social forum where doctors share cases, geek out and quiz one another without having to subscribe to expensive medical journals.

About 75,000 doctors in India currently use the app, which raised . 3 crore from Kae Capital, Teruhide ` Sato and GSF in March.

While some doctors want to run companies, others have graduated to the level of investors. A case in point is Ritesh Malik, a 26-year-old with an MBBS degree who is investing in startups with the money he earned by selling off his first product, an augmented reality app Alive! to the Times Group (which owns ET).

“Nowadays, doctors see their counterparts in engineering starting up and getting millions in valuations.That is also one of the motivations,“ said Malik, who studied at Government Theni Medical College in Tamil Nadu and has so far seed funded 18 companies, two of which are in the healthcare sector.

Malik said valuations of companies go up if a startup in the healthcare sector has domain expertise.

“Deepu as a doctor understands what doctors really need in their daily work and lives. Thus he has the natural sense and passion to build a great product loved by doctors,“ said Teruhide Sato, an investor in Daily Rounds and founder of Tokyo-based Beenos, a cross-border, ecommerce and investment focused internet company. “In some sense, he is bridging and connecting technology field and medical field into one; it is like connecting the dots.“

Unlike technology entrepreneurs, it is important for doctors to stay in touch with patients, besides running a company. Dr Adarsh Somashekar, who runs a maternity and childcare speciality hospital Ovum, said he spends 40% of time in clinical practice, the rest in running the company.

“Doctors are your on-the-ground person, who will give you little nuances that few others will be able to identify,“ said Somashekar, who has over 15 years of experience in clinical paediatrics.

Gitika Srivastava, a computer sci ence graduate from Harvard University and an investor in early stage high-tech and healthcare companies, said she sees a lot of doctors wanting to launch startups. A lot of doctors are starting their own ventures in Boston as well, she said.She co-founded Na vya Networks, a big data firm that identifies rare cancer conditions in patients, along with Naresh Ramarajan, a practising doctor and a fellow in pulmonary and critical care at University of California, Los Angeles. The company recently tied up with Tata Memorial Centre to launch an online consultation service for the benefit of cancer patients in India.

“They (doctors) bring in expertise that tech people don’t have,“ she said.

Source: The Economic Times



Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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