Private companies back health-tech start-ups amidst pandemic


NEW DELHI: Health-tech startups are experiencing one of the biggest transformations in the startup universe. Driven by the Covid-19 urgency, telehealth, which has been around and hardly leveraged for decades has emerged as one of the biggest gainers globally.
A recent McKinsey analysis indicates a 38 times rise in telehealth services in the US, which has begun garnering major investor attention. In India till last month, the Central Government’s eSanjeevani initiative completed around 80 lakh consultations in around 16 months.
Private companies, including a few established giants in the healthcare space, are increasingly investing in promising health-tech start-ups by backing their R&D and product development.
GE Healthcare, for instance, unveiled the third Cohort of its flagship initiative India Edison Accelerator. Under the initiative, six health-tech start-ups based out of India and Singapore received a lifetime of an opportunity to be a part of this year’s cohort and leverage GE’s Edison platform.
“We started off with the initiative in August 2019, before COVID-19 hit the world. The idea was to build a larger network of competent health-tech players who can bring complementing innovation and technologies to a common cloud-backed platform and accelerate the development of their applications,” said Shravan Subramanyam, president & CEO of GE Healthcare. “The aim was to provide customers with effective solutions that can improve patient outcomes. So since 2019, we have been identifying six promising companies a year while nurturing the start-up ecosystem.”
The India Edison Accelerator’s Cohort 2 also included six promising health-tech start-ups who joined the initiative in 2020 and graduated in June 2021. The start-ups continue to engage with the India Edison Accelerator in the areas of market expansion and technology.
With the selection of each cohort, the companies get to spend around eight months with healthcare industry experts from within and outside GE Healthcare who help them build and scale up their solutions for new market segments. The initiative costs tremendous investment from GE at various levels.
Owing to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the healthcare segment across the world has experienced strong urgency of potent and effective medical technologies that can deliver high quality and personalized diagnosis, treatment, and care, at a scale and speed unimagined today.
Driven by the urgency of the times, the India Edison Accelerator’s Cohort 3 on-boarded the six companies that are working towards the invention and development of health-tech solutions which can address the urgent gap revealed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health-tech start-ups 4basecare, Haystack Analytics, zMed Healthcare Technologies, Tricog, AIRA Matrix, and Qritive are invested in inventing, developing and creating solutions in the domains of genomics and digital health, simplifying complex genomic analysis, clinical data integration and advanced clinical AI solutions; making virtual cardiology services available to remote clinics; AI-based solutions to automate image and data analysis; and AI-powered CE marked digital pathology platform and AI, respectively.
“With every Cohort, we try to assess the need of the hour. In post COVID environment, there has been significant uptake on remote patient monitoring, virtual care, virtual hospitals, and specific clinical carriers like oncology and cardiology,” said Girish Raghavan, VP, Engineering – GE Healthcare South Asia. “So for Cohort 3, we have been looking at specific companies in the market who got specialization in areas like oncology, cardiology, remote patient monitoring, and data aggregation, etc.”


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