Startup mantra: Jeevtronics’ product is critical care intervention for masses
It’s a “cranks and batteries” startup that at the core is leveraging a desperate need in rural India to deliver solutions that will “light up” the country with “life”. The macro view has a social hue that colours the endeavour with deep sense of service to those not yet in the power zone of tech innovation.
Cue Denmark’s midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsing in the stadium while playing a Euro 2020 game with Finland. He has suffered a cardiac arrest when he received urgent medical attention, including CPR, and was awake within 20 minutes as he left the stadium on a stretcher.
Eriksen was indeed fortunate to have his teammates and medical team “fully aware and equipped” about medical treatment needed in such conditions.
If Eriksen was doing a kickabout in rural India, it’s likely he would not have survived; unless of course, Jeevtronics’ ‘SanMitra 1000 HCT’ was at hand.
Jeevtronics, a cardiac innovation-based company from Pune, has designed a novel hand-cranked defibrillator that will deliver a bi-phasic shock to the heart with less than 15 seconds of cranking. It’s the flagship product from an innovation assembly line that has also cranked out, what the founder claims, is the “Only solar lamp company whose product has been in operations for four years without a battery change - the world’s longest-lasting solar-powered home lamps.”
That is Ashish Gawade, who along with, Aniruddha Atre, are the Pune entrepreneurs with the “US exposure” (see graphic), that are behind Jeevtronics.
The two defining phrases the duo like to drop when speaking about themselves are: “technological innovation” and “bottom of pyramid”.
Getting one to reach the other is what the Jeevtronics journey has been about.
In the beginning…
Inspired by Swami Vijnananand at the Manashakti Centre, Gawade decided to do something for the underprivileged population in India. He returned to India from the US in 2006, and started working for Cummins India. While on the job, he figured out major problems in the rural areas of the country, including regions adjacent to major cities like Pune and Mumbai. In 2008, Gawade and Atre decided to foray into entrepreneurship. Atre stayed back in the US and provided technical support for products to be launched. He returned to India in 2010.
Says Gawade, “Our social enterprise is called, “Bottom of Pyramid Energy and Environmental Innovations”. We had planned to work in areas of rural electrification in an environmentally friendly manner and our first initiative was to provide a green low-cost power source for “un-electrified” or “under-electrified” homes. We had developed a human-powered pedal generator named “Chakra”. When solar lamps were introduced, demand for our product contracted. We then decided to launch our own “Prakhar” lamps and other devices which could be powered by both, solar and human power.” Cue the longest longest-lasting solar-powered home lamps quote.
Enter the defibrillator
While working on the solar powered lamps, Gawade and Atre realised that there are other problems faced by the rural population due to a lack of electricity or irregular power supply. Enter the life-saving defibrillator.
As per the Jeevtronics early research, a defibrillator is a critical instrument in ICUs and ambulances.
A patient can be saved if the shock is delivered within 10 minutes of the cardiac attack.
Considering the short span of this life-saving window, defibrillators should ideally be available in ambulances, primary health care centres and other small hospitals in rural and urban regions of our country.
Atre said, “In India, these devices are majorly imported, and many small nursing homes use refurbished devices to meet the regulation requirements. Due to a lack of defibrillators the casualty rate in India is three to four times higher when compared to developed countries. Global norms require one defibrillator per three ICU beds, however, in India, we have one such device per 50 or 100 ICU beds. Hence, we decided to make low-cost and robust defibrillators to address the needs of the rural population.”
In August 2013, Jeevtronics – Jeev meaning life, coupled with electronics and engineering-based innovation – was cranked into life.
“We developed the world’s first dual powered (grid+ hand cranked) defibrillator, which is reliable and works even in areas without electricity,” Atre adds.
Called the ‘SanMitra 1000 HCT’, USPs include the claims that it does not require any battery changes, ever. “Thereby making it the world’s total cost of ownership defibrillator,” Atre points out.
In addition, Jeevtronics has developed a made-in-India ambulance grade defibrillator. “We have named it as Jeevtronics ‘SanMitra 1000 HCT EMS’, which has been tested at ARAI and will be priced at fraction of the cost of MNC brands,” Atre added.
The duo said, “Devices like defibrillators are mostly used by the nurses or other medical staff in a very critical condition and less by the highly-qualified specialists and doctors. Hence, while designing the device, we had to keep this factor in mind and we came up with a very simple and easy-to-use interface.”
Total capital raised in form of loans and grants has been ₹6 crore, including a Biotech Ignition Grant (BIG) of ₹50 lakh by DBT-BIRAC, Government of India. Current revenue as per Gawade is ₹1.1 crore.
“We have turned revenue positive and booked a modest profit this year. We are looking forward to raising funding for further expansion and sales of our products in India and abroad,” said Gawade.
“The Jeevtronics SanMitra Defibrillator was donated by Jeevtronics to AIIMS Nagpur for use in Covid patients on December 19, 2020. It was received and installed in the Covid ward of AIIMS Nagpur in January 2021. Since January it has been used in several Covid patients and has proved extremely useful during the times of this pandemic during resuscitation of several patients,” said Dr Amrusha Raipure, associate professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur.
The several medical accreditations and certifications on the Jeevtronics’ resume include, the Slovak National Accreditation Service (SNAS) Europe; the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) India’ and the International Accreditation Service (USA). The ISO13485 certification is important for implementing and maintaining quality standard of medical devices.
The total production capacity of Jeevtronics’ manufacturing unit in Karvenagar is eight units per day. Jeevtronics also has four patents for its technology. The unit employs 14 people currently.