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Opportunities available for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and experts to add value to the Indian healthcare industry.

Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors – both in terms of revenue and employment. Although the country’s healthcare industry is projected to continue its rapid expansion, with an estimated market value of US $280 billion by 2020, increased population growth in India’s low-income communities has resulted in a lack of affordable and easily accessible quality healthcare for millions of people.

As a comparison China has 30 hospital beds every 10,000 people, whereas India has only 12. The figures are even more alarming for nurses. In the United States there are 98 nurses per 10,000 people and in India there are only 13.

Despite government efforts to improve widespread access to quality healthcare, India’s existing infrastructure continues to be insufficient resulting in limited treatment options, especially for low-income families.

Recognizing the need for innovation within healthcare, in 2012, Ennovent partnered with the University Impact Fund, one of the world’s first student driven impact-investing firms, to research the opportunities available for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and experts to add value to the Indian healthcare industry.

It was uncovered that in rural villages and towns, where the majority of Indians reside, a staggering demand exists for affordable remedial healthcare options such as the manufacturing, distribution or provision of various healthcare products and services. Highlighted below are some of the areas within healthcare that are well positioned for innovative business models.

 

India’s eye care sector is ripe for innovation

In the context of India’s eye care sector – a subsector that is currently in strong need of practical solutions – the business models used by organizations such as Vision Spring and Drishti Eye Care are excellent examples of addressing the issues of affordability and accessibility through innovation.

 

Photo Credit: globalvillagedirectory.info - Picture may be subject to copyright - LV Prasad Eye InstituteVision Spring uses the micro-franchise approach to create vision entrepreneurs that aid in the distribution of affordable reading glasses to BoP customers. Whereas Drishti Eye Care uses a three tier hub and spoke model which offers primary eye care through telemedicine supported vision centers, and screening camps and surgical care at district hospitals. Both models are leveraging technology and unique distribution approaches to improve service quality overall.

Improved Neonatal Care will curb maternal mortality

Research indicates that 20.9% of babies in India are born prematurely due to pre-term complications such as hemorrhaging and hypertension. Since incubators are commonly unavailable outside hospitals, premature infants are susceptible to lung disease and hypothermia.

Significant opportunity exists in the manufacture and distribution of products such as incubators, resuscitators and birthing delivery kits that offer pre-mature babies born outside of a hospital and mothers a greater rate of survival. Innovations such as Embrace, affordable infant warmers regulate a baby’s temperature without electricity, are well placed to scale widely within India.

 

Emphasis on primary care will save lives

Current healthcare programs focus disproportionately on specialist care rather than primary care. By 2020 chronic diseases such as diabetes, which can be typically remedied through primary care providers in the early stages ,will be responsible for seven out of every ten deaths in emerging markets such as India.

 

Vaatsalya, India’s first hospital network operating in remote towns and villages is an example of an innovative enterprise working to reduce the primary care gap. By hiring doctors that live in the local area and focusing less on specialist care, Vaatsalya is able to provide quality primary and tertiary care in remote areas cost-effectively.

Paving the way for social enterprises to fill service gaps

As India’s healthcare industry continues to evolve, significant innovations in products and services will ensure that low-income people have access to affordable healthcare products and services.

 

Development agencies, enterprise incubators, innovation accelerators, private investment funds as well as foundations are all important vehicles to support these healthcare innovations. At the same time, public private partnerships continue to be important.

Photo Credit: Rama Lakshmi/The Washington Post Ennovent is an integrated model that discovers startups, refines their business models through on-the-ground mentoring, provides finance and enables access to specialized expertise to grow operations and scales impact. These kinds of service enable enterprises to create sustainable impact on the lives of low-income people in India.

Overall, significant opportunities exist for entrepreneurs, investors and experts to have a positive impact on people living in low-income areas with limited access to affordable healthcare.

Content is Key to Internet

Internet landscape in India is transforming very fast thanks to mobile penetration. The latest IAMAI report says India has 200 million internet users. As of June 2013, India had 873.36 million mobile subscribers of which 176.5 million users accessed internet through their mobile device.  Every month India adds three million mobile internet users.

Trends

The media in India is focusing a lot on e-commerce portals for the past few years but there is a considerable amount of activity in the content space too.

Content portals are not limited to news and entertainment alone. That was true a decade ago but now there are several speciality portals, or verticals, in content space – lifestyle, automobile, education, sports, health. Comscore reports repeatedly demonstrate that the consumption of content portals is on the rise. This is expected because internet now is used by all sections of the society – students, professionals, retired people and women.

But there is a huge misconception even today that internet is largely for English speaking people. We at Oneindia have been investing in the language space for over a decade now. Language portals did not take off for a long time because internet penetration was limited to Tier-1 cities. Today, with mobile internet being available at affordable prices, we see a huge surge in consumption of various online services, leading to a number of trends as described below.

1. Infographics

The attention span of readers is shrinking by the day. Alerts from Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and phone calls all interrupt you while reading long-form content. Users want to get the same amount of information but not necessarily in text form – especially as an infographic.

Creating good infographics can be expensive as you need resources with various skills. A designer cannot create a good infographic unless an analytics person presents the information.

2. Content for mobile

Earlier we created content for the desktop user. Mobile data in India became popular by way of SMS; many SMS companies grew aggressively but they died because of the government regulations (SMS limit and DND list).

According to the latest reports, the mobile internet user base is bigger than the desktop internet user base in India. The presentation of content has to be different for a mobile and tablet device. Are publishers geared up for that?

3. WhatsApp replaces SMS

We love anything that is “free”. WhatsApp was the perfect product we were looking for. BBM from BlackBerry offered a similar functionality but limited the circle to BlackBerry users. The cross platform availability of WhatsApp is very attractive. Major political parties are using WhatsApp for interacting with their volunteers. Content publishers should look at generating content to share on WhatsApp with the hope it would get viral.

4. Responsive design

Responsive design (RD) is one of the best ways to render the same content differently depending upon the type of device. While RD is not difficult for simple sites it can get tricky while implementing for complex sites. The best way to tackle RD is by coming to terms with what will be displayed for desktop user vs. a mobile user. It is not necessary to display every pixel of your busy homepage for a mobile user; instead render a simpler version of your homepage for a mobile device while still maintaining the same URL.

5. Content for social media

Content publishers will have to pay a lot of attention to social media users. Facebook penetration in India is very high and the digital marketing team has already started treating it as an important referral source, may be even more than Google.  This means you will need to have a dedicated social media team, just as you have SEO team.

6. Local language

The mobile internet penetration is increasing in non-urban areas. These consumers will want to read content in their local language. In fact, many e-commerce services will need to have a language version to serve this big user base. Local content in local languages on the mobile will be a truly amazing combination.

7. Elections and social media

I have written on my blog about the effect of social media in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The election fever can already be felt on social media. Political parties and politicians will be using social media mainly as a two-way communication tool. They will keep a tab on the voter pulse through this medium. The advantage of social media is that politician can see the reactions first hand and in real time.

8. Video

The user base for online videos is very large because literacy doesn’t play a factor here. According to Google, almost one-third of the YouTube viewers in India access videos on their mobiles and spend over 48 hours a month on the website.  The popularity of online videos among all age groups is immense.  Earlier, YouTube was the primary platform to watch videos; today Facebook and Google+ have considerable amount of video content. Video has always been popular it will only get more popular in 2014.

Overall 2014 will be an exciting year for content players in India because of the growth of mobile internet, upcoming elections and increase in use of social networks like Facebook. Content publishers have a lot of work to do in 2014!

[Book Review] Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

Many believe that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, but it is possible to teach people how to make great products and thus create a successful startup, as clearly illustrated in the insightful and actionable guidebook, ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship.’

Bill Aulet is the managing director in the Martin Trust Centre for Entrepreneurship at MIT and also a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has launched initiatives like the MIT Clean Energy Prize, Energy Ventures Class, Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), “t=0” Entrepreneurship Festival, Beehive Cooperative, Entrepreneurs Walk of Fame, Corporate Innovators Sponsor Group, and Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator.

Bill has had a 25-year track record of success in business himself. He has directly raised more than $100 million in funding for his companies and led to the creation of millions of dollars in market value in those companies.

Many of the case studies in the book feature the company he founded, SensAble Technologies. The other case profiles in the book are from Aulet’s course, with startups in sectors such as footwear, water filtration, furniture shopping, baseball fantasy games, wind turbines, bio-sensors, landfill technologies, silent alarm clocks, arts education, skin care, digital marketing, and e-commerce for handicrafts.

The book also has a companion Web site (http://disciplinedentrepreneurship.com/) with case studies and other resources. Entrepreneurship is a team sport which can be taught and should be considered a legitimate profession and discipline, according to Aulet.

The book covers many iterative loops along the startup roadmap, and the steps are illustrated by Marius Ursache. It is not knowledge that sets you free, but action, Aulet explains. To begin with, entrepreneurs must have an idea, a passion, and preferably a tech breakthrough.

One chapter is devoted to each of 24 steps in the startup toolbox, and I have summarised them briefly in Table 1 according to six themes; each chapter makes for a superb read and is backed with references and resources.

Table 1:  Steps to a Successful Startup

Theme Steps Activities and Items
Customer identification Market segmentation, beachhead market, end user profile, TAM size, persona; next 10 customers Primary/secondary market research (users, benefits), word of mouth channels, qualities of customers, top-down and bottom-up determination of total addressable market
Customer offering Full life cycle use case, product spec, value proposition, core definition, competitive positioning Product acquisition/installation/payment, brochures and mock-ups, USP (‘secret sauce’ – eg. network effect, UX), meeting customer needs better than existing offerings
Product acquisition by customer Customer’s decision making unit, acquisition process of paying customer, sales process mapping Decision makers and primary/secondary influencers, budget cycles and times, adjacent customers, sales activities over near/medium/long term
Monetisation Business model, pricing framework, lifetime value (LTV), cost of customer acquisition (COCA) Models to capture value from customer (eg. subscription, licensing, ads), price points and ranges, charges and recurring fees, top down costs of lead generation and conversion
Product design and development Identifying key assumptions, testing assumptions, minimum viable business product (MBVP), proof of purchase List assumptions in the market and customer mindset, test through observations and polls, design basic product which customer will pay for and give feedback, demonstrate intent to purchase and engage
Scaling the business Calculate TAM size of follow-on markets, develop a product plan Determine product features for beachhead market, determine adjacent markets and product changes needed

Aulet distinguishes between SME entrepreneurship (more focused on non-tradeable jobs such as running a restaurant, with linear growth rates) and innovation-driven entrepreneurship (with investments, more risk, and potential of global exponential growth and profits).

He also highlights the unique nature of ‘two-sided’ markets which need two kinds of communities to succeed, for example buyers and sellers (e-Bay) or readers and advertisers (AdWords). This calls for multiple total addressable market (TAM) calculations and persona descriptions for each.

“Beachhead TAM calculation is your sanity check that you are headed in the right direction,” Aulet flags off in the beginning. It is a combination of customer base and estimated product price. Value proposition itself is a combination of how the product makes life better, faster, cheaper or less risky for the customer.

Entrepreneurs should stay out of the ‘reality distortion zone’ and not fall victim to their hope and hype; dealing with customer feedback – even from naysayers – will help focus on real solutions, Aulet advises.

‘Core’ aspects of the startup would be unique features such as network effects, outstanding customer service, lowest cost or best user experience. This will then need to be backed up with business models such as up-front charge, hourly rates, subscription, license, ad support, reselling of analytics, transaction fees, tiered models, shared savings and franchise.

Pricing should be flexible for a range of customers, example for early testers, lighthouse customers and co-creators. Lifetime value calculations are important to gauge the long-term viability of current and future products, and go hand in hand with calculation of customer acquisition costs.

Once a product has been launched, the startup founder then needs to address the challenges of building company culture for the long term, HR strategies, cash flow skills, and corporate governance.

“The world needs more and better entrepreneurs because our world’s problems are becoming more dire, complex and ubiquitous,” Aulet concludes.

The book has a number of witty and inspiring quotes, and it would be nice to end this review with some of them.

“Entrepreneurship is not only a mindset but a skillset.” – Mitch Kapor, Founder, Lotus

“While the spirit of entrepreneurship is often about serendipity, the execution is not.” – Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

“Ideas are a dime a dozen but great entrepreneurs are what create value.” – Paul Maeder, National VC Association

Offline Retailers Launch Online Protest “We Will Act’ For Price Undercutting By Ecommerce Sites

I have heard this from number of my friends who run physical stores – This year they have experienced much lower footfalls from consumers, especially in the electronic and apparel segment. And many of them believe it is due to rise in ecommerce in India. People now increasingly prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores.

And this trend will only increase…and why not, consumers buying online are getting much better deals, sometimes nearly half the price at which local offline retailer will offer you.

While this is great for consumers, have you thought how this is affecting lakhs of local offline businesses? Obviously, they now see online retailers as their biggest enemy.

So what do offline retailers do to overcome this?

These physical store owners are now getting together to protest against the undercutting of prices by online retailers. They have launched a website – We Will Act – that condemns the business practices undertaken by ecommerce sites (mind you, in very strong words). They have also written to the Competition Commission of India, complaining that their online counterparts are selling goods below cost and skirting Indian laws on foreign direct investment in retail.

We Will Act | Offline Retailers Launch We Will Act Protest For Price Undercutting By Ecommerce Sites

The website wewillact.com have put up Appeals to Government of India, Political parties of India, to consumers, to manufacturers and vendors and even to Venture Capitalists who are putting millions of dollars of investment.

Sample this – Here is what “We Will Act” asks consumers to do, in their own words:

?Let’s take some small steps

We will not purchase or supply anything to these unethical online retailers. ( XKart, Ydeal, KBong..)

?Lets boycott them.

Let’s now punish them:

1- Let’s place Cash on delivery orders for Rs.40000.00 rupees items every alternate day and cancel when delivery boy comes to delivery. This will make them to lose their fat by Rs.1000.00 at least.

2- Whenever you are free call to their customer care and waste their time. This will increase their customer care expenses.

Here is what they say about online retailers:

Some online retailers in India are like BIGDE BETE of their BIG PAPA of USA. They are getting so much money for doing so much of experiment in India and kind of playing GAMBLING. Every six months they are changing their business models, spending heavily on advertisements, selling everything to everyone at much below their cost prices, running business in huge operating losses and that is adversely affecting the traditional physical retailers.

There can be possibility if some enemies of our country or terror outfits giving funding to these MONKEYS to do so much drama and make lakhs of retailers loose their piece of mind and livelihood.

Will This Protest Help?

I really don’t think this it is going to make any difference. While they have a right to be frustrated with price undercutting, it is a business model which online retailers are following with a view of garnering consumer base in long term. I don’t think anyone can object online retailers’ business practices.

Rather than doing a protest like this, they need to accept the new world order and join the flow. They have to find a way to compete and probably move their business online.

Suhail Rizvi, Mysterious Indian Origin Investor Makes $3.8 Bln With Twitter IPO

IPOs or Initial Public Offerings are exciting because it is just like a lottery. Investors buy the lottery tickets years in advance, hoping that when the curtains are raised, they hit jackpot.

And one such jackpot has been won by a mysterious India born investor, who has just made $3.8 billion after Twitter’s IPO went public this week.

Meet Suhail R. Rizvi, 47, who runs Michigan based Rizvi-Traverse Management LLC and host of other funds which invests in companies and then make a fortune out of that. Besides Twitter, he has invested in Facebook, Square, Pinterest and Flipboard. Out of tech world, he has invested in Playboy, and several movie producing companies such as Summit Entertainment which has distributed Twilight movie all over the globe (yes, Twilight, the multi million dollar movie series)

The Twitter IPO Player: Suhail R. Rizvi

In the year 2010, his long time friend and advisor Chris Sacca, who is a former Google executive, informed Rizvi that Evan Williams has resigned as Twitter’s CEO and wants to sell his 10% stake in the company. He didn’t take more than a second to make a major decision, and hours later, he owned 10% stake in Twitter, by paying $340 million to Evan.

In fact, right now, he is the biggest ‘outside’ investor in Twitter with 17.9% stake; which translates to 85,171,093 shares. Taking into consideration $44.90 price of each Twitter share at the closing of opening day trade, this amounts to $3.8 billion in hard cash.

Value of Equity Holdings in twitter | Suhail Rizvi, Mysterious Indian Origin Investor Makes $3.8 Bln With Twitter IPO

[Chart created based on numbers from Reuters]

Suhail is a low profile investor, and his whereabouts are known to only select few such as Eric Schmidt, Google co-founder, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, Salar Kamangar, chief executive of YouTube and few other high profile entrepreneurs and rich Arab princes. He is definitely not a Page 3 person, and there is hardly any interviews of him published anywhere.

Last year, his name gained some prominence, when he invested $200 million in Jack Dorsey’s payments company, Square. Other than that, he is sometimes spotted partying in yachts owned by Eric or at Playboy mansions. He is very close to Richard Branson, and it is rumored that he has helped him clinch several high profile investments in the last 20 years.

Suhail was born in India, but was brought up in US. He did his graduation from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and sits on the Wharton Undergraduate Executive Board as well.

Would you have invested in a company like Twitter, way back in 2009-2010? As an investor, how will you describe Suhail’s strategy? Please share your feedback!

 

4 Sectors Set for Ideas to become Billion Dollar Company

Inspired by the morning read “Indian-American teen creates 20 second mobile charger”, I set out to think about all the BIG IDEAS that could change the way the world works.

Sure, you could build a Tumblr-like site and be bought for $1.1 billion, but I’m talking about ideas that could actually make significant strides in making the world a better place.

New Battery Tech surely does look like one of those life-altering ideas. Imagine the power of these ultra-fast rechargeable cells not only in terms of better smartphones but say, in a rural setting, where power is not an oft-discussed phenomenon. The ramifications seem huge.

Big Ideas 3 part series | 12 Big Ideas that could lead to the next Billion Dollar Companies   Part 1
Here is the first part of this series of three articles which discusses ideas with major upsides:

Part 1: Education, Energy, Housing and Healthcare

Education

A sector which almost 100% of the population agrees is ripe for disruption, but changes seem to be materializing tad too slowly. This is easily the biggest existent market and the beauty of it is that it has got enough space for 10s, if not 100s, of firms to thrive about and co-exist.

India is definitely the go-to market for education and Indians have the best vantage point going forward; for the bigger long-term opportunities lie in the even less developed Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asian, Middle-Eastern and South American countries.

It becomes even more important, when one realizes the other facet, that is, the effect of better education opportunities in these countries on their healthcare, socio-political and economic systems.

Economical Solar Energy

The Sun is unmatchable when it comes to being the king of all energy sources. Nothing that human technology could ever produce would even come to touch the dominance of the Sun. Even with a very small fraction of its energy reaching the earth, the capability, if harnessed, is 10000 times that of all the commercial usage on the planet.

Scientists are working hard to bring down the initial cost of solar, but it looks like it would require someone with the passion and zeal of Elon Musk to come and turn the whole industry upside down.

Affordable Housing for the masses

An ever-increasing population coupled with a steeply increasing lifespan, gives us our next big idea. Affordable and quick-to-setup housing will make someone billions starting in the next 5-10 years.

Affordable housing includes value housing, which is the need of every middle class family, as well as low income housing, where the most significant need of India lies.

Over one-sixth population of the world lives in appalling conditions. Over a 100 million people live in slum and slum-like surroundings in India alone. They could reach up to 200 million by 2020.

Building mass-scale housing by aggregating the waste land in the outskirts of the urban hubs is the simplest solution when it comes to tackling the problem of housing due to urbanization. To make it affordable, statistics suggest that the costs should be around 5-6 times the per-capita income of the region.

Advanced Health Information Systems & Better Medicine

Even as countries like India discourage patenting in the drugs business to offset the costs of medicine to the poor, companies like Ranbaxy take undue advantage of the system and dupe billions of innocent people into buying their generic but harmful drugs.

It is a long-known fact in medical circles that different people have different levels of susceptibility to diseases and so they respond differently to medicines. But, treatments developed have been adjusted to work for the masses rather than being individualized. Advances in Genetic Science changes that and can be used to develop better systems that will be able to do fast genetic profiling of a patient.

Now, collection and management of these massive amounts of data on individual patients presents us with another opportunity in the form of Health Informatics.

Medical records, today have a prevalent problem of, being mixed up in the form of old technologies (paper) with new ones (computers). Even within the same hospital, there would be usage of different programs and platforms for different data. Sharing information over regional, national, or global networks is rendered, almost impossible.

Future healthcare systems need to be engineered to facilitate seamless sharing of data. Apart from this there should be checks in place for ensuring that the updating of this data is absolutely correct and that the profile of any individual can be easily tracked using the system.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the next 4 BIG IDEAS as Part 2 of this series of articles.

Comment with your suggestions, on what you think are the big ideas, that could make billion dollar companies and change the world at the same time

India Needs More Entrepreneurs than Graduates ?

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Do you know that there are millions of unemployed youth in the country and by the time you graduate, this number would have increased substantially? Do you want to be part of that group which keeps knocking from pillar to post, checking with employment exchanges, relatives, friends, and neighbours and still not able to get a job to their liking and then settle for a second or third rate job?

You can also choose to be like Mr. Patel of Nirma who was a chemist’s assistance and has a Rs. 2500 crore company today. Did you know that the original Mr. Bata was a cobbler? And now has stores in more than 30 countries all over the world. Or you could be like Dhiru bhai Ambani who started life as a clerk in a French company in Aden. He was not born into a business family nor did he possess an MBA degree and yet, he is a household name in India and figures in 2 the Forbes list of the richest Asians. Lakshmi Mittal, the steel giant, Sabir Bhatia of Hotmail fame and Narayan Murthy of Infosys are some other names in the endless list you could choose from.
If your answer is yes then you can definitely opt for a career in entrepreneurship. We will help you to understand the process of setting up a small business, running it successfully and seeing it grow. And let us remind you that this career opportunity is not only for boys but also for girls – all those girls who think smart, are ready to act and script the story of their own life – like Shehnaz Hussain or Ritu Kumar or Kiran Majumdar Shaw.

If you have a desire then we will put your energy for solving the daily life problems faced by common man, and this will take you on the path of Entrepreneurship.