IIT Hyderabad – First Batch of CfHE Fellows come up with start-ups for neo-natal care and stroke rehabilitation for weaker sections of the society


Hyderabad: The first batch of Fellows, passing out from the Fellowship offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad’s Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE), are slated to establish a start-up that will aid in neo-natal care delivery for the weaker sections of the society. A second team is planning a start-up that will help rehabilitate stroke victims who have lost the use of limbs.
This has been made possible by the unique nature of this Fellowship, which is a one-year, fully-paid fellowship training program that offers not just an academic experience but practical skills, support, R&D and access to investors, all of which are vital for an entrepreneur to succeed.
The two teams will be filing for Intellectual Property Rights shortly and incorporating their start-ups. While initially, the start-ups will focus on south India, the objective is to go for pan-Indian solutions.

The unique nature of this Fellowship is that it also puts students in touch with investors and venture capitalists who will fund their start-ups if they come up with a viable proposal. The CfHE itself was conceived by two U.S.-based IIT-Bombay alum with successful track records in technology and business.

Pratyusha Reddy, one of the six CfHE fellows in the first Batch who are going to pass out this summer, is currently working in the neonatal monitoring space for low-resource settings. She says clinical immersions were a potent means of connecting to reality and threw light on the existing gaps in the healthcare scenario. “It instilled in us (students) a strong belief that frugal innovation can go miles in improving the healthcare system of India. For instance, during our clinical immersion, we saw incidents where a 10 year old child with pneumonia was brought into the ER with extreme breathlessness and witnessed how much that child struggled to breathe even as the nurses in the emergency care were trying ease his pain and establish oxygen supply, just because he belonged to a low income family which did not have the means or knowledge about detection of pneumonia early on and seek treatment. We saw a 40 year old man who met with a small cycle accident suffered a minor wound and just because it wasn’t treated properly due to lack of resources and knowledge about timely intervention, it led to a major infection and he lost his life in the battle against it. This wouldn’t have ever happened in a developed country.”
On the other hand, She says they also saw in a village in Warangal district, a paediatrician saving lives of babies using an old ventilator as a make shift CPAP machine. “We were amazed at how doctors in small hospitals in rural districts were using ingenious ways within the resources available to them to save lives.”

Speaking about the CfHE fellowships, Prof. Mohan Raghavan, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Co-Head CfHE, IIT Hyderabad, said it is a world-class program for aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs and currently one of India’s most competitive and coveted fellowships. The full time in-residence fellowship and training will be strongly ‘hands-on’. The fellowship is designed as a simulated entrepreneurial journey with clinical immersion, needs analysis and design, ideation, business model development and culminates in the pitch to investors. In designing solutions, fellows avail the deep technological expertise of the 100+ research labs at IIT Hyderabad.
“To be a fellow at CfHE requires a completely different set of skills and outlook. Candidates may come from any background, medicine, engineering, science, design or management, but the ones who manage to meld their expertise in their own fields with the passion to change the way healthcare is delivered are usually the most successful in the fellowship… a keen ability to observe and then get to the essence of the problem are invaluable skills in this pursuit.”

Mr. Manoj Sankar, fellow at the CfHE fellowships and working along with Ms. Pratysuha in the neonatal space said, “The fellowship is a well curated course with access to top notch R&D practitioners from academia and industry, mentors, Doctors, VC’s and other key stakeholders from the Startup Ecosystem. The Bio-Design process which lies at the core of the program, mitigates risks at every stage thus ensuring the right need/pain point is tackled. The program includes an elaborate clinical immersion into the healthcare setup, which gave the Fellows a real life perspective of the current scenarios of healthcare advancements in India and the specific scope for improvement.”
Mr. Habib Ali, a fellow who is focused on the rehabilitation space said, “CfHE is a unique platform for Medtech entrepreneurs to learn the process of innovation by identifying the most pressing needs in the healthcare ecosystem, its root problem and then arriving at a solution. Insightful learnings from constant interactions with experts and VC’s are an indispensable part of the program. CfHE is the launchpad for the journey of a Medtech entrepreneur.”

The objective of the fellowship is three-fold: to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector in order to solve healthcare needs of our communities and help universalize healthcare products and services by increasing reach and affordability. A big draw of this Fellowship is that it will provide exposure to local and global Venture Capital (VC) partners during training and incubation. The trainees would be given an opportunity to pitch to investors at the end of the Fellowship.

The CfHE’s fellowships are dedicated to the mission of “Healthcare for all”, in line with “Startup India,”. It has been conceptualized, is administered and mentored by a global team from India and the U.S., including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, academics from Stanford University, biomedical industry professionals, and some of India’s well-known healthcare NGOs.

There is no fee for this Fellowship, in fact it comes with a stipend of Rs. 50,000/month. Fellowship is open to applicants from all backgrounds ranging from doctors, management graduates, engineers, designers. The minimum eligibility to apply for this Fellowship is B.Tech./B.E degrees or higher, M.B.B.S / B.D.S. or higher, B.Des or higher. Candidates with prior track record in entrepreneurship or demonstrable proof of intent in that direction, will be preferred. The Fellows are selected through a highly competitive and rigorous process by a panel of experts. The final number of Fellows will vary depending on the quality of applicants. The first batch of fellows will pass out by end of summer 2017.

Candidates can apply online at http://bit.do/che2017 on or before 15th April 2017. Shortlisted candidates will have to appear for interview over video link from May 1, 2017 onwards. Selected candidates will be appearing for final interview in person during last week of May 2017.