Entrepreneurs in city are providing products and services into the realm of coronavirus.(HT/PHOTO)
Entrepreneurs in city are providing products and services into the realm of coronavirus.(HT/PHOTO)

Startup Saturday: Pune pivot-eers showing strong Covid form

In the classical dance form of your choice, a pivot cannot happen without three essentials- sense of timing, acute balance and core strength that defies logic.Entrepreneurs in city display all three as they move products and services into the realm of coronavirus. We find out how and why
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Namita Shibad
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2020 05:09 PM IST

Got you covered, forehead to neck... keep your game face on

Anatomiz3D; founders: Firoza Kothari, Sohrab Kothari and Sagar Shah

What it is

Says Firoza Kothari “I have a degree in biotechnology and was working in sales when my brother and his partner, who run an engineering and architectural firm, saw that they were receiving a lot of requests from the healthcare industry.”

“Basically we use 3D technology to assist the healthcare industry. If a doctor needs to do a surgery then we print 3D anatomical models that will help him get a better grip on his surgery landscape. We also make customised titanium implants for various purposes such as neuro and ortho, among others,” she adds.

The Covid pivot - face shield

The face shield is a little different from a typical face mask. It has a head gear made of acrylic attached to an elastic band that goes around the head.

From the head gear falls a transparent PVC sheet that covers the entire face the forehead to the neck.

Anatomiz3D was not into manufacturing protective gear, they certainly had the capability.

Says Kothari, “We have laser cutters and injection moulding machines. So, when the hospitals we worked with asked us for masks, we thought why not use the same machines to make face shields?”

Says Korhari, “Not just hospital staff, but policemen, civic workers, vendors who sell their goods on the streets, and customers, could make use of our face shields.”

Says Kothari, “As of now we are supplying 5,000 face shields per day. If people become aware of this, I think Mumbai alone will need about 25,000 shields per day.”

While demand exists will Anatomiz3D be able to supply? Kothari has thought this through.

“As of now our capacity to produce face shields is 10,000 per day. However, should the demand increase further we can involve other players in the industry, people with injection moulding machines, laser cutters who can be roped in. I don’t think supply will pose a problem,” says Kothari.

These masks can be sterilised and reused, though Kothari feels that if patients are being treated then it is better to dispose of the masks.

She is pricing them at Rs 177 each which includes all taxes.

“Given the severity of the situation we have priced this very low. In fact, we will be able to cover our operational costs only.”

According to her USA alone has a shortfall of 91% PPEs (personal protective equipment).

What about logistics? “That is a serious issue but many of the importers have said that they will take care of it. Even though all transportation is shut, we still have couriers like who operate every two to three days. It will be slow but goods are still moving,” says Kothari.

Firoza Kothari, founder, Anatomiz3D. (HT/PHOTO)
Firoza Kothari, founder, Anatomiz3D. (HT/PHOTO)

Cash flow

Anatomiz3D have poured Rs 4 crore since they started five years ago.

“We invested Rs 20 lakh initially and over time have been putting in more money into the business. We have a strategic investor,” says Kothari.

While the company still has to break even, (Rs 1 crore closed this year) Kothari says, “For India we are keeping our cost really low. The opportunity we see is in supplying to foreign shores.”

Future without the virus?

“We aim to increase our sales in two ways. One is to reach out to educational institutes where undergrads can learn more about the anatomy via our 3D printed ones. And the other is to create awareness in hospitals amongst surgeons that their efficiencies and accuracies can improve with our products,” says Kothari.

Let AI do the lab work... in just ninety seconds

Deep Tek; founders: Anirudh Pant, Ajit Patil and Dr A Kharat

What it is

Deep Tek is a startup that has developed AI tools to help doctors in the imaging business.

Says Dr Kharat, “Typically, a doctor does an X-ray, MRI or CT scan, and those reports have to be read. What we have done is used AI to help read those reports thus saving an already overburdened doctor time and improve efficiency.”

Despite the AI reading the images these reports are ratified by the doctor.

So far, the company has been doing this very successfully for the government of Tamil Nadu, where they have scanned over 75,000 patients in and around Chennai for TB. Deep Tek has deployed the tool in 40 hospitals in Pune.

The Covid pivot – pneumonia test results in 90 seconds

What this tool does is not only flag cases out of the hundreds that a radiologist would see at his centre, but also prepare the report.

In a usual day what would take seven to eight minutes is done in one-and-a-half minute.

“When this epidemic hit us we foresaw the situation that may develop. If the infection spreads then X-rays and CT machines will be widely deployed to find out if Covid-19 patients have developed pneumonia. In a typical situation a doctor at the radiology clinic will have his hands full. By the time s/he gets to the patient whose lungs are showing pneumonia on account of the Corona infection it may be a few hours. So, we thought why not use our tool to help doctors detect pneumonia developing in a Covid patient fast? Quick detection would mean quick treatment,” says Dr Kharat.

Using their team of 50 people the trio worked tirelessly from their homes and via video calls to develop this AI-aided tool that can help a radiologist detect pneumonia.

Anirudh Pant, Ajit Patil and Dr A Kharat, founders, Deep Tek (HT/PHOTO)
Anirudh Pant, Ajit Patil and Dr A Kharat, founders, Deep Tek (HT/PHOTO)

Cash flow

Deep Tek is a company funded by NTT Data, Japan and have signed up with Medical Business Machine, a Japanese company, to use their solution in the machines MBM will manufacture.

“Once our information is translated into Japanese they will be ready to start work with it.”

In India and anywhere in the world, DeepTeck is willing to offer their solution for free.

“One of our Japanese investors told us that this is something we should do and we agree. At a time like this when the world is caught in the vortex of this pandemic, this is the least we can do.”

How will this be deployed across the globe? Says Kharat, “That should not be a problem at all. We can deploy it remotely anywhere in the world.”

Earn while you burn? Yup. Even during lockdown

StepSetGo; founders: Shivjeet Ghatge, Abhay Pai and Misal Surakhia

What it is

There are fitness apps and then some more. When Ghatge launched his company last year, he had got his finger bang on people’s ‘excuse’ pulse. Says he: “People join a gym, make resolutions, buy outfits, shoes and even go to the gym. For a few months, weeks or days. After that everything goes kaput.”

To tackle the lack of resolve, Ghatge created an app that was unlike the other apps available in the market.

“Just counting your steps and calories was not enough to keep people motivated. Why not reward a person who exercises?”

How? “We created a bazaar. This is a place where we ask vendors to register. They get visibility and can offer discounts or even freebies to our customers. It works both ways,” says Ghatge.

In the second half of 2018 Ghatge and his co- founders Pai and Surakhia worked on the technical aspects of developing the app.

“Brands like Bewakoof, Every A, Planet Super Hero, Avvatar protein powder, Burp and others saw the value in our proposal.”

After an informal launch Ghatge saw 50,000 downloads and in March this year they had 56,000 downloads per day.

When the pivot is a double-down

As of now the app has 5.1 million downloads.

“I think students found it interesting that they could win prizes if they won a certain number of points. So if you walk 1,000 steps you win a coin. You keep collecting coins with which you can buy items from our curated bazaar,” says Ghatge.

“Since we are committed to make people walk in the very least, we are coming up with newer forms of motivation. We have power hours in a day where if you walk in your house you will earn more points than usual,” says Ghatge.

“At one point you could win a Bajaj Avenger bike for 9000 coins and three people won it last year in the duration of this six month campaign,” says Ghatge.

Shivjeet Ghatge, founder, StepSetGo. (HT/PHOTO)
Shivjeet Ghatge, founder, StepSetGo. (HT/PHOTO)

Cash flow

The trio invested Rs 1 lakh, each, initially.

“Later we borrowed Rs 7.5 lakh from friends and family,” says Ghatge.

Revenues come from advertising generated by the brands on the bazaar. “So far we have tie-ups with 150 brands that include Bajaj,” he adds.

StepSetGo has posted Rs 6 crore in turnover to date.

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