HealthTech: The year (2020) that went by and how it faired

Laxitha Mundhra
New Update
IIT Bombay announces the launch of its new Centre for Digital Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the healthcare sector shine high and bright. For example, Kerala's model t control the pandemic received great applause and many other governments, public authorities adopted it. This showed us how much India (not just India, but almost all developing countries) lagged in active healthcare infrastructure.


But this may change soon. The pandemic called for a structural shift for digital healthcare in many countries. This included India. For example, we transformed from importing PPE kits to the second-largest producer in the world. The symbolic shift shows that India will witness advancements in the traditional healthcare system led by homegrown healthtech startups. A Datalabs report suggests that the Indian healthtech market will contribute $21 Bn by 2025, which is still only 3.3% of the total addressable healthcare market which is pegged to reach $638 Bn in 2025. This indicates that the room for growth is pretty high and healthtech has a massive opportunity here.

"2020 has been an eventful year," states Ankur Mittal, Co-Founder, IPV. "Though it brought with it a lot of uncertainty in the first two quarters for the startup ecosystem, the latter two quarters were supported with innovative ideas to fight the pandemic, keeping the Investors in a happy space. For a few startups, the pandemic came as an opportunity. As many startups were remarkably successful and have become more resilient, especially in health-tech, ed-tech, e-commerce and eSports. Investors also eagerly and extensively participated in the high potential digital segment, where the startups brought a substantial change in consumer behaviour."

What is changing?


Expanding horizontally

"The pandemic caught the world unawares. Instead of sitting on the problems arising out of it, we gathered our energies together to find opportunities which seemed to be umpteen, given digital medium was the only breather for Pharma brands to engage with Physicians. Sales representatives and Pharma marketers looked for alternative ways to establish connections with Physicians," states Dr Harshit Jain, Founder and CEO Doceree.

He adds, "For Doceree, we had a plethora of opportunities for us to help pharma brands connect with doctors. We took the challenge head-on. Today, we have partnered with the top 7 out of 10 pharma brands and over 50 digital platforms in India. Doceree raised a seed funding round of $1 million in May 2020."


Anmol Arora, CEO, DocVita states, "Before COVID-19, we had been helping medical professionals in India automate routine tasks and enhance the patient experience for over three years by building EHR (Electronic Health Records). But as the pandemic hit, the medical providers in our network were unable to see patients in person."

"We helped one of our clients to see patients online. That's when we first realised the benefits and the potential of telemedicine in a country like India. In April, we decided to pivot the company into telemedicine and DocVita thus evolved into its current avatar. It has been 6 months now. We are going from strength to strength. And in that, 2020 was not a year to survive, but a year to thrive," he further adds.

New avenues


Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO, AstroTalk, "As it happens during and after every pandemic, businesses related to psychology and mental health wellbeing see a huge rise in demand. Astrology is a very Indian way of taking such consultation from an Astrologer. If we had to draw the mental health state of a human being from 0 to 10 (10 being the worst), he/she is likely to visit an Astrologer at 1-2 units as it is very common to seek the advice of an Astrologer. But an Indian customer may not visit a psychologist till he reaches the scale of 6."

He further adds, "With sudden lockdown, it created a lot of uncertainty amongst everyone on what their future holds and when they could come out of this situation. Therefore, Astrotalk which connects the customer to an Astrologer online through Chat or Call saw a huge rise in business during COVID times. i.e. from doing a revenue of INR 10 lacs a day in March to INR 23 lacs a day in December 2020."

"Telemedicine is one such area which has seen some great changing times," states Ayush Mishra CEO and Co-Founder of Tattvan E-Clinics. "It has created new avenues for access to healthcare facilities for people living in remote areas. Publication of Guidelines for Telemedicine in 2020 by MoH, India opened several doors of opportunities for startups like Tattvan E-Clinics."


He further adds, "We prioritizes primary healthcare delivery to the small towns. Like tier-2 and tier-3 cities and other remote locations that matter the most. During 2020, we set up multiple telemedicine clinics. We also initiated Telemedicine services in the villages of UP, Rajasthan and Telangana. Thus, we saw a rise of over 80% in teleconsultation especially in the field of Gynecology, Pediatrics and Cardiology."

Prioritizing Medtech-enabled-services

"PureCult launched eco-friendly alternatives for home and healthcare during the lockdown! Undeterred by the lockdown challenge, we found alternatives in packaging and manufacturing and adapted. Increased cleanliness awareness and positive customer response proved a launch for home care to be a boon in disguise," states Roopa Hariharan, Co-Founder PureCult.


"Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750 AD Healthcare states, "The commencement of the Brand was amid the pandemic. So, we had to revamp all that we had strategized in our planning phase and completely shifted to a digital launch of our platform. Being a healthcare platform that aims at becoming people’s voice through – 750AD’s Hospital Review Program and our E-Magazine- Transformative. Today, the pandemic brought us opportunities to showcase the various problems that people face. These include poor hospital infrastructures, poor medical facilities etc. We were able to raise awareness around the same with ease of availability of data as who was constantly sharing data on health analytics. Also, pandemic made people realize that “health is everything”. So the world was inclined towards our company’s goal of promoting health, which was a big help."

A round-up

"2020 is the year of the COVID19 pandemic. The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted the business ecosystem across the country. COVID-19 resulted in the launch of teleconsultation solutions by many health tech companies. Structurally, it has been a big boost for digital healthtech in general, and a lot of behavioural change in health tech. That is unlikely to change in the near term," states Mr Gaurav Gupta, Co-Founder Navia Life Care.


The current state of healthcare is a little rusty at the edges. It makes it difficult for people to access primary care yet, the upcoming startups who are leveraging technology-backed solutions such as telemedicine, digital health records and AI/ML-based predictive analysis and diagnosis can play a pivotal role in bringing India’s broken public healthcare system up to speed.

More stories coming up

Let the year 2020 end on some positivity and good stories. Follow this space to read more success stories of startups during 2020 in the coming few days.

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