Interviews

Driving Healthtech Innovation: VentureBlick’s Vision for a Transformative Future

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Kailash Jialdasani, Head of Operations – South Asia, VentureBlick on Pioneering Healthtech Platform in the Asia-Pacific

  1. How does VentureBlick drive innovation and shape the health tech innovation landscape?

VentureBlick inspires and guides medtech innovators to foster sustainable growth. We are a team of health experts with diverse backgrounds. Additionally, we have built a partner community of around 2000+ practising healthcare professionals and industry experts from 50+ countries. Each of our partners has more than 10+ years of experience in this field, and based on their focused fields of medicine and geographic locations, we carefully select these partners to give us their assessments.

Some of the niche areas where we come in are medical validation, international expansion, regulatory approvals, go-to-market strategy, etc. These areas are challenging for startups due to limited resources and connections.

 

  1. How does VentureBlick identify and support health tech startups with the potential to revolutionize the industry?

We are abreast of the needs of the healthcare industry and aware of the fields with the most potential. VB has a robust screening process to identify products or solutions that can positively disrupt medical practice. Most medtech startups need help finding appropriate medical advice, onboarding early users, and developing effective deployment or international expansion models. We use the combined power of our internal experts and partner network to understand product strengths and commercial opportunities. Once onboarded, we support and mentor them on medical validation, prototype improvisation, sourcing a manufacturing partner, international exposure, access to our international investment partners, distributor network market access and regulatory support in different markets. We have just launched our VentureBlick Discovery Platform, on which we intend to build a connected platform, a community where these experts, innovators, and distributors can interact.

 

  1. How can governments, healthcare institutions, and private investors work together to accelerate and sustain health tech innovation in the Indian region?

The support provided by some governments (including India) is significant since supporting healthcare startups is also a part of the public good. The recent launch of the Medtech Mitra portal is an example of a great visionary initiative by the GoI. The MedTech sector will see a significant rise in the public-private partnerships for validations, early deployments and POCs. One example to quote here is the India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre. The joint IIT-IIM – AIIMS programs boost innovations in medical fields by bringing together cross-functional bright minds. Start-ups can apply for various grants from the Government. Partnerships between hospitals and government organisations help spur private investors to invest in the selected startups.

Market Opportunity: 11 Bn market size with a growth rate of 15% and the majority of it is fulfilled by imports making the overall scope for Make in India huge.

To sustain innovation:

  • The Government supports easing policies and regulatory pathways, and healthcare institutions should be open to piloting new technologies and products.
  • Private investors – Medtech innovations have a long latent period before commercialization. Thus, investors have to consider these long gestation periods.

Once validated in India, these can be made in India for the world.

 

  1. Do you think emerging technologies such as AI, Telemedicine and Health Information Exchange (HIE) can transform the Healthtech innovation landscape in India?

Definitely! AI and other technologies have significant potential to disrupt the market and help healthcare professionals in decision-making, solving operational challenges, and improving efficiencies. So, we see a lot of startups using AI in diagnostics and to improve efficiency. Going forward they shall also play a significant part in the therapeutic decision-making and actual treatment. Combined with remote patient management with telemedicine and good data management with medical records (like ABHA), we can have AI-supported, India-specific protocols for the management of diseases with significantly reduced cost and better impact on public health.

 

  1. The global revolution in health is set to propel India’s development. How is VB planning on catalysing the growth of startups within such an environment?

With its skilled and young manpower, one of the fastest digital adoptions and an innovative mindset, India is well poised to benefit from the healthcare revolution. For example, India has the maximum number of young people trained in generative AI.

There will be a lot of startups in the field of data analytics that can impact healthcare delivery, providing solutions to offset rural healthcare challenges, remote patient monitoring and elderly care, and improving both access and affordability of these treatments. With the current connected world, it won’t be long before these startups expand to the global market. So, with our MedTech expertise, international network and reach, VB is well poised to catalyze this growth wherein we can help these startups make advanced products in India with the right expert advice and advanced manufacturing support in India and abroad and help them expand internationally.

 

  1. Post-COVID and even during COVID, the healthcare industry saw its dependency on digital channels. Do you think the same can be done for the health tech sector, where solutions are provided for online diagnosis – avoiding human contact?

As we are discussing, the change is already happening. We have seen a lot of AI-based products as assistive tools in diagnostic solutions like radiology, pathology, ophthalmology, and now, dermatology. Numerous AI-powered point-of-care devices for common diagnostics are being developed to be used as screening tests. While it is technically possible to deploy an AI-based tool for diagnosis without human intervention, it is currently not advisable nor regulated to do so. A qualified healthcare professional should be guiding the patient in the current scenario.

 

  1. What message would you like to give to young entrepreneurs and innovators looking to make a positive impact on healthtech in the Asia-Pacific?

The message is clear—the time is ripe for innovations from India to positively disrupt the world. With increasing government support (both state and central), better incubation facilities, funding support, and improved tech innovations from India, we should see many health tech startups making it big from India. Focusing on pure innovation rather than cost arbitrage would be in the innovators’ best interest to make their innovations big.

 

  1. How much of an impact do you think AI algorithms in diagnosis and treatment assistance can have on the health tech scenario in India?

AI algorithms are already making waves, as mentioned in diagnostics in radiology, pathology, oncology, ophthalmology, etc. The list will only increase going forward. For treatment assistance, the healthcare professional is the best suited to decide on the treatment. Still, AI can help assist him/her in the decision-making process and chart the course for follow-up care with the professional’s guidance. It also helps to surmount the difficulties due to the low penetration of medical expertise in rural areas.

 

  1. Cloud-based patient data storage is all the rage in the market. How is VB planning to catalyze this phenomenon?

Data is beneficial only if it can lead to better patient outcomes. We need to understand that we have a lot of data in India. However, this data can be unstructured. The government is doing its bit by getting ABHA-like initiatives, and we do have many private players who are helping make the data more systematic, easy to interpret, and run algorithms on. This is markedly better than what we had even five years back.

Once data storage happens at scale for a significant proportion of healthcare cases, it can be used to explore the right opportunities, develop the right algorithms for customized care, decide the market size of different categories within healthcare, etc. VB shall be able to guide the innovators in working on anonymized, population-based data in India to develop optimal solutions for India and then for the globe. VB has started identifying startups ahead of the curve and utilizing patient data to develop solutions.

 

  1. Healthtech data can provide insights into various trends, how do you think the industry can make the best use of this?

Trends are essential, especially for population-based interventions. They also help determine what healthcare will look like in the future, what specific healthcare conditions will take centre stage in the future, and what interventions need to be developed. Oncology and age-related diseases are two examples that shall show exponential growth in the future, especially in oncology, where there is a vast potential to provide customized care based on the genomic, phenotypic and diagnostic markers present in an individual, region or even country. Hence, innovators can use the data to develop new customized solutions, expand in areas that offer the most opportunity to impact health and explore untapped areas and markets.