About 10 per cent of the Indian population suffers from diabetes. Diabetes comes with various side-effects such as skin problems, swelling of the feet, eye disorders and weight issues. This Mohali-based startup claims that better self-care results in better health outcomes for people with diabetes. Cornerstones of good self-regulation include self-monitoring of blood glucose, healthy diet, increased physical activity and regular patient education. However, only 16 per cent of diabetic people report adhering to recommended self-management activities.
Two of the four co-founders of Diabeteazy, Tarun Sharma and Gurvinder Singh, were dealing with some medical emergencies in their families that made them think about finding solutions to otherwise fragmented healthcare market in India. Tarun, along with Gurvinder , Amrinder and Rajiv as co-founders formed an advisory panel to get the domain expertise to form Diabeteazy.
“I had a terminally ill father and I was struggling to arrange for all geriatric care for my father at home, while Gurvinder had diabetes running in his family - one of his uncles succumbed to the disease and his younger brother was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We looked at all possible solutions for both the areas (i.e., Geriatric Care and Diabetes Management) and then after a lot of research decided to focus on building a solution for preventing and managing diabetes using emerging mobile technologies,” Tarun said.
The company’s mobile application “DEAZY” – The Easy Way to Health, helps in increased patient adherence as it allow users to track daily food intake, along with activity, weight & other health vitals, get in-App feedback and consultations from their health coaches, get personalized diet charts on mobile, get daily health tips and articles to increase awareness and log their weight and activity automatically using our fitness band and wireless weighing scale.
Speaking about the app, Tarun claimed that the key USP of the company’s mobile platform is its proprietary food algorithm that helps people see the impact of their food choices on their health. “Unlike other apps, DEAZY do not focus on calorie counting. It rather focuses on assigning a personalized score for every meal taking into account the quality of food, portion sizes and gap between meals,” he said.
The app also provide break down of the food users log into key macro-nutrients (i.e., carb, fats, proteins and fiber) with an easy to understand “colour-coded view.
Finding the right team
It’s often advised that a healthcare startup should have co-founders with domain expertise. However, Tarun and team compensated that by appointing people with domain knowledge on their panel.
“It all depends on the kind of health tech solution that is being developed. For example, if it is a find a doctor, book an appointment kind of platform that is being developed, you don’t really need the domain expertise. But on the other hand if it is relating to a niche area of specific disease management (for example, Diabetes in our case), it definitely requires deep domain expertise,” Tarun said.
Small towns and big challenges
“We have seen an increase in start-up activity in Tier 2 towns such as Chandigarh, Jaipur, etc. Tier 2 towns serve as a good testing ground for a start-up idea before it can be scaled-up across India or other geographies.
Key factors that really helped us while starting in Chandigarh are:
1. A vibrant TiE Charter that provides all the support, visibility and even initial funding;
2. Opportunities to network with successful entrepreneurs who are willing to provide advise and help to first time entrepreneurs like us;
3. Presence of different kind of SMEs that helps in finding key inputs required for start-ups at low cost; and
4. Right mix of demographic population that serves as a good ground for testing a new idea.”
However, Tarun agreed that hiring good talent is really a challenge in Tier 2 towns and that at times slows down the pace of development and execution.
“ ....when you look to raise next round of funding, investors typically expect startups to operate out of a metro in close proximity so that it can be scaled up easily,” he added.
Tarun and his team are pretty satisfied with their connectivity to the metropolitan cities via events and startup conferences. However, they do plan to shift their base to the NCR region or Bangalore when they raise their next round of funds.