Early-stage startups are somebody who is still trying to find their place in the market. Its early days for their minimum viable product, which means the startup experiments with their customer base as they try to hone in on their sales approach and messaging. That means features, pricing, and positioning might change overnight.
Amrit Mann, AVP - Early stage investments, Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), is a venture capitalist who has worked with Goldman Sachs.
Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) is an early stage, sector agnostic, angel investment platform which has invested in 40+ startups since inception.
About Inflection Point Ventures (IPV)
Amrit explains in brief, “Inflection point ventures (IPV) is broadly an angel network platform, which was started two years ago in 2018 and this is a spinoff of another network, which is called CXO Genie. IPV came about as a natural extension of that network where there were a lot of opportunities in the early stage, a lot of personal networks, and the founders who were unable to raise capital in order to get the seed funding for these startups. So, the three founders came together and decided to broaden the scope of the network and look at investing across sectors, predominantly early stage, and leveraging the network, and enabling them to invest into startups that are at a very early stage. And hence, an inflection point venture was born. So as of today, we have about 3000 plus CXOS and members, we call them IPV members on the platform, we have invested in about 50 plus startups, and amazingly done well. We have about seven exits so far. And a couple of them are in the advanced stages of discussions. So we had a very phenomenal run in the last two years and we continue to expand on that,” he says.
Top VCs investing in digital health in India
Amrit sheds light on the subject, “When I look at the overall healthcare ecosystem, the top VCs are investing not just in digital health care solutions, but across the whole ecosystem, if I can elaborate, and various aspects of the healthcare system are broken. And I'm not talking just about a point of care, healthcare delivery, but also talking about the whole tech stack. If I have to give an analogy to another sector, we are probably at that point in time when Aadhaar was launched and where we were trying to create a sort of an ecosystem where we had a digital identity for every citizen in our country. So with the National Health stack that government recently launched, the plan is to take that stack to another level where we provide a similar kind of ecosystem for the healthcare where we not just create a digital identity for the citizen, but also create a health identity. So this particular initiative, driven by AI spirit, along with a couple of well known, well funded startups, and well known VCs, basically is being done to create an ecosystem where I, as a patient, or as a healthcare provider, will have access to every individual in the country who requires any form of health care assistance, whether that is point of care, whether that is diagnostic services, whether that includes getting access to past healthcare data, and also tracking that data over a period of time, which is not being done at scale today. So speaking about this ecosystem, you can see a lot of opportunities emerging across sectors, which includes, healthcare insurance providers, it includes point of care, delivery service providers, electronic health record systems, so the digital healthcare apps or devices, which basically track your vitals and provide the sort of predictive analytics on top of it, which comes more on the preventive health care. But as the ecosystem evolves, we will probably see more use cases coming out of it. However, what's really important to track before we see this ecosystem really coming to life is, understanding and protecting user data. And that is something which is also under the works, where our government is working on creating a sort of a policy for privacy standards and why that is important is in addition to your financial data, and currently, we do not have a policy in place where, any particular person will have access to that data, and will only be able to own the data by him or herself, and provide, authentication to whoever seeks it. So this is something which is a part of the health stack. But assuming the standard was to come in place today, I see massive opportunities across the ecosystem,” he says.
VCs and investors viewing opportunities in the healthcare ecosystem in India
Amrit explains, “Let me start with the most important piece of the puzzle, which is, the data, which is probably not being utilized to its fullest extent, I'll give an example of a very typical patient visiting a hospital for a particular disorder, and I'm talking about disorders which are chronic in nature, because I feel there is a lot of value that can be added here. An opportunity in this space will be where I cannot just track my vitals or, my health parameters in a more objective manner, via the health applications or the wearable devices that most of us take for granted. There's a lot of data that has been captured in these devices, which isn't really put to use. If I say go for a run, I certainly know the number of calories I burned, or the steps I've taken. But over a period of time, what I'm really essentially trying to understand is how the data is being leveraged for providing preventive diagnostics or other kinds of healthcare delivery services. So in a scenario where a particular patient visits and hospital, there isn't a lot of data that is, at disposal to the doctor, where they can go through the past health records, at one go understand the recent, let's say developments in the patient's lifestyle, etc. And without this particular data, it really becomes difficult for a doctor to interact point at first go, what exactly is going wrong with the patient? So they have to end up going through the whole testing, understanding what is the likelihood of a particular disorders occurring, etc, so, instead of going through the whole process, which is time consuming, and more expensive, data can be leveraged in this way where, patients just have to give access to the doctor. Another key pain point that is commonly observed is the adherence to the patient. Clinical adherence is probably not being tracked. So if I go to a doctor, and I am being diagnosed with, say, diabetes, and have been prescribed a certain medicine, there aren't many companies out there which are enabling clinical adherence. Now, why is that important? Because I read somewhere 40% of patients do not end up taking their hypertension medicines over the duration on why that is a problem is because that obviously isn't going to solve the issue. And secondly would add to the burden on the patient where they have to revisit the hospital. If there was a device or a particular app, which helped patients tracked and medicine usage over time, it would not just benefit the patient but also benefit, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies who, at the end of the day are responsible for, manufacturing those drugs, and they need to have data in their hands whether that drug is effective or not having this data point. There is a big disconnect between, the data that is being generated and how is the data being used because there isn't a standardized policy or a privacy standard, which makes it easier for that data to be leveraged and this data, when leveraged is actually beneficial to everyone in the ecosystem, including the patient and the healthcare provider,” he says.
Metrics considered while investing in healthcare
Amrit shares his views, “When I talk about different opportunities, there are very different kinds of sectors within healthcare, and very different kinds of customers, all patients that we need to track. So if I talk about a digital healthcare startup, which is making wearable devices and tracking my fitness activities, a lot of my time will be in tracking the total number of users that are registered on the app. What are the percentages of users who have actually signed up as a paid user? Or are most of them free users? I would probably look at the engagement metrics. And what I mean by engagement metrics is how often do I use the app in a given period of time? Do you have to understand how much time are they spending on the app? What are the different things that they are looking at? What are the things that they are doing, whether that is entering data, looking at any kind of Article consuming content in some other way? Beyond this, we look at a lot of other things. I won't call them metrics, but we look at the market size, we look at the competition, so the combination of these things, understanding of the founder’s vision and their capabilities and then adding on top of it, the financial data. So if a company has been in existence for a couple of years, we obviously understand the growth story. But there are other stakeholders, who are also influential and have a certain vision for the business. So it's really important to be aligned to the founder’s vision, the overall investor base because sometimes it might lead to conflicts down the line. And this is something you want to avoid in the beginning. So the combination of these factors, these are some of the aspects which are necessary to look at before we decide to go a bit deeper into the business,” he says.
-"views are personal and not those of the fund"***
(Edited by Rabia Mistry Mulla)