Friday, 28 July 2017

Strength in Numbers – Pune’s Buzzing IoT & Healthcare Startup Scene

Research firm Markets and Markets has predicted that the worldwide Healthcare IT market will rise from $ 134 Billion in 2016 to over $ 280 Billion by 2021 – a CAGR of 16%. That’s steep by most standards but there are other just as attractive opportunities out there too. Consider Markets and Markets’ estimate that the worldwide Internet of Things market will rise from $ 170.5 Billion this year to $ 561 Billion over the next 5 years – a CAGR of over 26%. Pune’s startups are clearly aware of the potential in both these areas. It’s fair to assume that over the last couple of years the IoT and Healthcare Technology scene has started buzzing like few others.

The thing about IoT
There are encouraging signs pointing to Pune’s growing IoT influence. In April this year, a consortium of industry bodies, startups, and manufacturing giants proposed to the government to create India’s very first IoT cluster in Pune. The focus would be on solutions designed to make Industry 4.0 more easy to apply in Indian conditions. If all goes well, the S. L. Kirloskar Centre will come up later this year. Then in March, technology giant Hitachi Consulting opened MIRAI, a state-of-the-art IoT experience centre in Pune. This peek into the future (MIRAI means future in Japanese) shows a glimpse of the connected factory equipped with predictive maintenance.

The action is not restricted to the big companies either. Pune’s own Altizon Systems last year closed a $4 Million Series A funding led by Wipro Ventures. Their IoT platform Datonis is attracting attention from a clutch of industry segments including Manufacturing, Energy, and the Supply Chain.Earlier stage funding is also finding its way to IoT-focused startups in other sectors too. Security solutions startup SmarterHi Communications is an example of one who closed an early stage round earlier this year.

There are more exciting IoT-driven innovations created by Pune’s startups already making waves in a variety of sectors. CarIQ is focused on creating a connected ecosystem in even the most basic of cars. Their eye-catching plug-n-play device is seemingly easy to deploy and is helping cars, and drivers make data-enabled decisions with the combined power of IoT& the Cloud behind them. Entrib is attacking niche segments in the manufacturing space and helping improve shopfloor productivity by 30% or more with their IoT-based solutions. Lifeplot is looking to address another crying need in India – the technology enablement of the delivery of healthcare. Their IoT-enabled solution allows important data like ECG reports, to be displayed and read on the mobile of doctors, allowing them to deliver care when needed, wherever needed.

Healthy in HealthTech
While launching a HealthTech accelerator in Pune last year, Govin Capital CEO Anand Govindaluri said, "Pune has the best start-up ecosystem because of the natural presence of good medical, engineering and management schools. There is a natural flow of talent that is automatically attracted to Pune, and so identifying management teams for start-ups with diverse backgrounds is also easier." That’s true, as is the fact that some of India’s largest services companies like Infosys have traditionally had a significant representation of their healthcare verticals in Pune. All this has come together to create some significant excitement around the Healthcare Technology (or should we say Technology-enabled Healthcare) space.

Much of the energy is focused on digital health platforms and leveraging the power of mobility to drive greater access, better doctor-patient communication, and ultimately better patient care. ThingsMeet Solutions’ Prescribez platform that integrates patients with the entire healthcare ecosystem – doctors, path labs, and pharmacies has been in the news recently as it seeks to raise a $ 2 Million funding round to drive customer acquisition. LiveHealth is another such startup with a report management solution that helps patients make sense of the medical reports they have been provided. App-based startups that focus on specific other parts of the patient’s journey are also becoming visible. Witness online pharmacy MedsOnWay that offers to home delivery medicines within 24 hours thus offering convenience and comfort to those who may not be easily able to step out to make purchases for themselves.

The sector is attracting the attention of the big guns too. Just this month Athenahealth announced a $ 63 Million acquisition of Pune’s own Praxify. Praxify’s app-based approach to enabling physician productivity and decision support seems to have caught the eye of the Watertown Mass healthcare major. Athenahealth believes the acquisition will help drive their own R & D efforts in the space.

Pune has always been at the vanguard of technology-based movements, and in many cases, it has been the startups that have been the standard-bearers. Pune also has a special relationship with Innovation as our survey “Pune: Nurturing the Fast Emerging Tech Innovation Hub” shows. This trend looks set to continue with the IoT and HealthTech movements.

Do you have an exciting startup in either of these areas that deserves mentionin this post – g.a add a line in the comments for all of us to see!

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