Neha Rastogi, Co-Founder and COO-Agatsa discusses with Prabhat Prakash, how Agatsa’s ECG devices are changing the ECG testing with high accuray products which are being widely adopted
What was the vision and aim behind the formation of Agatsa?
The journey of Agatsa, embarked in 2010 with the sole purpose of developing cutting-edge technology and mobile apps which can be used by consumers in their day-to-day life. Over the years, seeing the huge gap in the healthcare industry in terms of affordable and easy-to-use medical devices, Agatsa shifted its focus on developing affordable and connected health management platforms. In 2013, having understood the gaps in the early identification of cardiac issues and effective management, Agatsa started creating its first range of products to address this critical area. Called SanketLife, they are portable, wireless and simple-to-operate ECG devices which can conduct single lead, 6 lead and 12 leads ECG just by the touch of sensors. The devices do not require any leads, wires or electrodes and can provide a medical-grade 12-lead ECG just by touch. Agatsa’s SanketLife devices enable users to detect and monitor any concerns with their cardiac health. They have been highly successful, and the aim is to create more such innovative and cutting-edge-technology-based devices that cater to the need for diagnosis and management of various non-communicable diseases in India.
How much has Agatsa grown since inception?
Our innovative and cutting-edge technology-based solutions are portable, simple to use and highly affordable. These qualities, along with their clinically proven accuracy have enabled us to grow rapidly within a short span of time. Our SanketLife device is being increasingly adopted by users all over India and (as of May 2018), one device was being used every 45 minutes. Over one lakh users and 6000+ users; (doctors and heart patients) have used them to conduct over 400 hours of ECG, and the numbers are rapidly increasing. We have managed to clock a revenue of around Rs 3.5 crore in just 1.5 yrs of full marketing and commercialisation of our product.
Agatsa has won several ‘Best Innovation’ awards such as the Anjani Mashelkar Award, mBillionth award in Healthcare category, Frost and Sullivan Award for Cardiac Best Practices and Millennium Alliance, Apollo Hospital Best Rising Star, CII innovation award, etc. The company has a number of prestigious clients such as HelpAge India, TATA Trust and the Wish Foundation to name a few. Today, the SanketLife devices are being retailed online on our own platforms www.sanketlife.in and www.agatsa.com as well as on Amazon. We also have various B2B clients who have integrated SanketLife devices into their platform of Home Health services, remote cardiac monitoring services and elderly care, etc.
What are the challenges that your organisation has faced till date?
Initially, we faced many issues that most startups face. For instance, lack of funds, regulatory issues, and marketing of our products to the right audience. Given that medical devices startups are rare in the country and the inception and development cycle is too long when compared to normal e-commerce startups or mobile apps, the challenges were many.
Since our product is unique, there were many challenges including reducing the large conventional ECG machine to the size of a key chain and delivering the same authentic and accurate ECG that too at an affordable price. We conducted many doctor interviews to capture the voice of customers and improvising the design and technology before coming up with the first version of SanketLife in the market. This version was much appreciated by the doctors, patients and the startup community alike. Getting easy business credit continues to be another major operational challenge. There are times when we have to deal with shortage of resources and lack of adequate infrastructural support. The need of the hour is for the government to provide more support to domestic medical device manufacturers and healthcare innovators. Apart from this, there must also be more procurement of Indian products by the government to support innovations like ours. This would help us in bringing down dependency on imported healthcare equipment and make the services more affordable for the masses.
What are the growth plans in the next three years?
Our SanketLife ECG devices have rapidly gained popularity as the world’s only 12-lead wireless, portable ECG device, that are the size of a key chain and offer medical-grade 12-lead ECG on the go. In the years ahead, we plan to grab more market share and make the devices available all over the country in retail as well as B2B. Most conventional ECG devices are priced at Rs 50,000 and above, but our SanketLife device is priced at just Rs 6,000. We have received some angel funding and government grants and are in the process of raising more funds to boost our R&D and expand sales further. Our future strategy is to approach hospitals, cardiac rehab organisations and online healthcare startups to integrate the SanketLife platform in their platforms to provide superior cardiac care all over the country. We also aim towards helping provide preventive cardiac care and save as many lives as possible. Apart from this, we are also working on creating devices that can help in providing preventive care for other non-communicable diseases.
Will Agatsa be expanding its product portfolio?
As mentioned, we have been working on creating devices for the diagnosis of other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, blood pressure, etc. We also plan to expand our cardiac care devices portfolio as this is one of the growing epidemics all over the world. We will also be coming up with a wearable version of the ECG monitor which would record the vitals continuously and raise an alarm in case of emergency.
What makes your offering different from similar products available in the market, in terms of cost and features?
Agatsa’s SanketLife devices simplify the ECG process by allowing users to quickly and accurately check their vitals at home or anywhere else. SanketLife is a leadless, sensor-based digital device which can provide a medical grade ECG in 15 seconds and share the report to an ECG qualified doctor to receive the analysis within 10 minutes. SanketLife have been clinically validated and proven to deliver 98 per cent accuracy compared to conventional devices. Our devices are built using latest technologies such as Bluetooth, Mobile Apps, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence. The device also works as an EMR solution which stores past reports on Cloud for ready reference in future. SanketLife boasts to be the smallest 12-lead ECG device which can be used with minimal training and can be operated by anyone. Since it is connected with a smartphone, it can be carried anywhere and the report is shared with anyone within a matter of seconds. Our in-app algorithms give first-level interpretation followed by doctor analysis and makes use of AI to interpret ECG. Such advanced features and user-friendly nature of the devices make them the only one of their kind in the world.