Created on 2019-10-13 03:42
Published on 2019-10-13 04:43
As part of the DisruptHealth Accelerator, we get to see a lot of startups in the medtech space with some very exciting potential. The challenge is how to turn these exciting potential to massive impact making companies. And the more important question is, what will stop them from achieving their potential impact?
During the last couple of years, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of startups in the healthtech space. According to various reports, this is a place where India is leading.
Five Asian markets are home to 80% of all known healthtech startups in Asia, including India (32%), China (22%), Singapore (11%), Japan (8%) and Australia (8%). Indonesia holds 5% of the market share and Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam have each less than 2% of the market share.
And it looks like funding is no longer the biggest bottleneck in this space. This used to be a huge issue, but increasingly investment funds are open to health tech opportunities and we have seen this grow over the last few years. Health and Agri-Tech seem to be the hot favourites right now, behind Fintech.
If capital is not an issue, and the market is huge, then what ails the medtech startups?
At DisruptHealth, we observed three key roadblocks faced by companies we work with.
A. Test Beds for Rapid Validation – In absence of a mature ecosystem to validate their technology, every medtech innovator goes through the same loop of finding aligned doctors or hospital who then does the validation with the innovators. Initiatives like the Venture Centre in Pune, AMTZ facility in Andhra Pradesh and the pioneering work done by Innaccel for promoting medtech innovation and scaleup is a great beginning. What we need is a consortium of hospitals, public health institutions and other partners coming together to create a state of the art test bed for new innovations – so rapid prototyping and improvements can be done along side clinicians.
B. Distribution – This is particularly true for medical devices or IOT in health plays. What is the place to start? What channels to use? The current medical devices distribution is controlled by the large players and its challenging for newcomers to ride on them. Is the only solution building your own distribution channel? Even if you partner with an existing channel, how do you ensure that your products get the attention and priority compared to existing large entrenched players. Not to mention the extensive regulatory process the medical devices have to go through before even reaching the market stage.
C. Pool of Medical Advisors – Most medtech companies are led or founded by technologists and very rarely have a medical co-founder. In such situations, teams rely of clinicians to provide inputs on their technology and plans. While there are large number of doctors who are potential users of the technology, very few have the bandwidth or the interest to advise or mentor early stage startups. A platform for interested doctors to sign up and work closely with early stage med tech companies might be interesting.
I am sure there are many other challenges, but from our perspective these three seemed critical to solve. Interested to hear your views
Early Stage Healthtech Accelerator working closely with founders to accelerate health tech innovation. http://www.disrupthealth.in