The mix of cloud based software applications and healthcare seems unusual! What made you come up with such an idea? Also, would you describe Kivi Health as a software firm or a healthcare firm?
Right now health transactions and health information is handled physically and there are not many solutions available in the market that provide an easy to use platform which can reduce doctor as well as patient’s time leading to more efficiency and more satisfaction. Hence we are trying to solve this problem; we have started by providing Clinical Management Solutions to doctors that helps in increasing engagement and providing better customer satisfaction. KiviHealth is a healthcare technology firm. Healthcare because problem we are trying to solve is of healthcare. Though health is the most important thing in life, healthcare delivery is yet to be disrupted and patients themselves haven’t embraced technology to improve their health. Technology because we are selling software and innovation in software product will be our mainstay to create this business.
How has the customer response been so far for Kivi Health?
Our initial target has been doctors and response from them has been pretty good. In only 3-4 months of sales we have been able to reach 80 doctors and are challenging present solutions in the market. We plan to keep on innovating and generate more and more value to our customer. We have tried upselling to few of our customers and have been successful in this.
Does Kivi Health have a presence Pan-India or is it located in only certain belts?
It is only a 10-month old company and sales started three months back so right now we are present only in Ahmedabad. We started with small areas in Ahmedabad and then moved over to complete city, we wanted to check replicability of the model and product market fit before going for scale. Now that we have good traction in one city with strong number of Active users we are planning to go Pan-India in phased manner. Whether our doctors come back for repeat engagement was an important parameter for us so we wanted to measure this parameter before going for scale.
What are the expansion plans for Kivi Health?
We are going to take city by city approach for doctors. Create a small sales team in a city and let them go pitch and convert doctors. We would be starting in four metros and four other cities in next 1 year. After 6-8 months after having attained sizable traction of doctors >1000, we would expand the team and put focus on patient side as well. Why we feel this is a right approach is because 1) Customer will be ready to put medical information online and 2) Every doctor creates awareness about our platform to 10 new patients every day.
What do you think about the growth opportunities in the Indian healthcare sector? Could you tell us which segments you expect to grow the most and why?
I think Indian Healthcare is a pretty blue ocean. People still prefer asking their friends and relatives to know the best doctor and there is no stable platform to get medicine delivered at home quickly and safely. From Clinical Management systems for doctors and hospitals to Genome mapping everything is an opportunity. Healthcare is a focus of the present government and many big companies are also looking at healthcare services and delivery now. Ordering medicine and health packages online is soon going to become a commodity as there is little scope of differentiation there. MHealth or Health on mobile is also becoming very important with all new startups creating apps for doctor social network and patient-doctor engagement. I personally feel use of vital signs and DNA understanding in diagnosis and treatment is going to grow a lot. I also feel that soon lab test reports will be standardized and there will be little need of interpreting results as machines will communicate to systems which can show them in easy to understand form for humans. Healthcare is an interesting space right now and is going to be focus of many entrepreneurs and big companies for coming time so excited about the journey.
Wearable tech is becoming a part of healthcare services in most developed markets. Do you think the trend will catch on in India?
I think it is in process of becoming a trend. Early adopters such as fitness freaks and pioneer hospitals have already taken to wearable tech to track parameters better for patients. As there is an increase in lifestyle diseases, more and more importance in healthcare is being given to our lifestyle and that increases the importance of wearable tech. Watches and wrist trackers are going to be flag bearer for some time but trackers for foot, ankle are becoming famous too. I think day isn’t far when our shoes, tshirts wil help us track our parameters.
How has your journey been so far as an entrepreneur?
It has been good but tough. In less than 1 year we have won two competitions among 132 and 440 startups respectively and raised small amounts of pre-seed funding twice. I love the concept of being the master problem solver and getting chance to work on very important problem. Custom centricity , attention to detail and team building are very important details that entrepreneurship enhances . It has made me a master pitcher, you not only pitch to investors but you also pitch it to customers and your prospective employees. There are few problems with it such as it teaches you a lot but your whole life is taken up by your startup. When I am not working, I am thinking about it. It’s an emotional journey to as there are highs and lows and an entrepreneur is a very lonely journey other people will not be able to appreciate what you are feeling. It is like being in love with somebody full of fights and making up which kind of takes a toll on you emotionally.
What made you go for the entrepreneur route rather than a corporate position?
Well in hindsight if I look back it was not completely thought through. While pursuing MBA from Indian School of Business, I knew that entrepreneurship is what I wanted to do, I had few ideas in mind – KiviHealth was one of them. I discussed this with my Doctor friend and realized that this is a genuine problem in India. He and I decided to take the plunge but I think we took the plunge early (although entrepreneurship is a lot by heart and if you think too much about it you’ll never be able to go for it). I did not understand the customer well neither doctors nor patients and that reflected in the early struggle our startup had to go through. Understanding your customer and deep domain knowledge is must for creating value for end customer.
Any advice for wannabe entrepreneurs?
Don’t be an entrepreneur for the sake of it. You should start a startup if you truly believe you can generate value for the customer and society. If you are interested by an idea, you spend time working on it when you have time from your day job/study, when you think about that idea during your leisure time than you should go and become an entrepreneur. Money in entrepreneurship is overstated only very very few <.05% make it very rich in life with entrepreneurship, so do it if you believe in the idea you have. There are other parameters such as team, execution involved in creating a successful startup but I think you will learn and work on all these parameters if your passion for the problem remain. I think entrepreneurship = Hustle + Persistence.