Category: STARTUP SHOWCASE

PregBuddy’s year with Google Launchpad by Sivareena S. L. @SarikaSivareena



We’re all aware about the Google Launchpad accelerator which selects pre-series A startups across the globe every year to assist them scale their business. Along with this, Google Launchpad has few more offerings where they have extremely well structured programs for various stages of startups. Pregbuddy has benefited from couple of these programs as we grew our product.



We started building PregBuddy from the end of 2016. In the first half of 2017, we were heads-down focused on co-creating our product with our early set of users. PregBuddy is India’s first peer-to-peer reassurance platform for expecting mothers. Along with personalised information, we connect them based on their trimester, location, vernacular language and medical condition. Our early set of users loved PregBuddy, we were growing organically via word-of-mouth and via discovery on Google Play Store.

A year ago, in July 2017, we got into Google Launchpad Build – a 2-day super-packed program for early stage startups that connects mentors to validate their product and growth strategies. This was one of the key events in our journey of building PregBuddy.
Let me share with you how it helped us:
  1. Early Product Validation: The fact that Google selected a handful of startups across India was a great early product validation that we are building something good, and meaningful for our users.
  2. Right Mentor-Startup Matching: Google Launchpad has a huge network of mentors from within Google and industry experts in the fields of technology, product, marketing, sales and design. The Launchpad team matches each startup with the right mentors based on the challenges we’re currently facing or based on our product roadmap.
  3. Expert Insights: Launchpad mentors not only shared their perspectives on our product, design, and growth strategies, but also shared their insights on how we can structure our business model, focus our efforts to scale faster and what may not work based on their learnings. This was very crucial at that stage of our bootstrapping journey, as it helped us save both time and money and not repeat mistakes which others did.
  4. Media Coverage: Google Launchpad Build literally helped us launch PregBuddy in media with their wide media coverage. We got covered both online (YourStory, Inc42, and more) and offline in print media (Deccan Herald, Business Standard, and more). It helped us reach a wide variety of audience – users from across India, talent who wanted to work with us, and get attention from potential partners and investors from the startup ecosystem.
  5. Inbound Partnerships: Apart for the fact that people got to know about PregBuddy, and we got some users, Google Launchpad helped us get inbound leads from hospitals and brands, who wanted to work with us.
  6. Continued Support: Being a part of the Google Launchpad alumni network, the Launchpad team provides continued support with the right introductions with mentors, businesses and technology support whenever we needed.
  7. Recognition & Growth: The fact that you graduate from a program like Google Launchpad really opens up doors. While working closely with our inbound partners, we were able to identify much deeper challenges which we are now solving in the healthcare space.Since 2017 PregBuddy has grown from being just a small project to a company, thanks to the support of Google Launchpad. We’re humbled to be awarded by actor Akshay Kumar and Govt of India, and onboard renowned angels from Google, Uber, Times Group, YuMe, and Indian Angel Network.
Earlier this year, we were fortunate again to be a part of the 1st cohort of Google Launchpad Solve for India program, where Google selected 10 startups who are focused on solving local challenges and building experience for the next billion users coming online from India. It was at the perfect time in our journey, where our first hires got a chance to interact and learn hands-on from the Google and industry experts from this 5-day structured Launchpad program. A really great exposure for your core employees.

I’m sure you’re wondering how you can be a part of Google Launchpad, well here is your chance. Google Launchpad has recently announced an accelerator program focusing on the startups Solving for India using AI/ML technologies. If you are one of them, do apply here. So, what are you waiting for? Get on the ride, and take your startup to the next stage with Google Launchpad!

Pregbuddy made it to the Yourstory’s 2018 Tech 30 Startups
Author
Sivareena S.L

Co-Founder PregBuddy (Google Launchpad)

How do we value your #startup?  Part 2 by Arpit Agarwal, @arpiit


In the previous post we talked about how VCs perceive valuation and how to broadly deal with it. It was aimed to dispel some misconceptions most first-time entrepreneurs may have about this very important aspect of our business. This posts builds on that and another and gives you actual numbers to play with. Before you go on, it maybe a good idea to take a look at the way I define stages of a startup.

Round sizes and dilution benchmarks in India

Now that you know the only two thing that matters to a VC is the stake she’s getting and the amount she’s investing, it is best that you play accordingly. If you’re seen as obsessed too much about valuation, you’re likely to be considered a hard-nosed founder. So be smart and play for ‘lower dilution’ instead. In case you argue that these are one and the same thing, think again 🙂
The table below presents a broad structure of startup funding in India today. This is what is considered ‘average’ in our industry. Please note that all these numbers are only representative in nature and deals frequently happen on both sides of these extremes. Also, like any well-functioning market, these prices represent only a momentary equilibrium and this changes over time:
© Blume Ventures, 2018 — Please don’t republish without permission. Write to aa+help@blume.vc
What are the Terms and Conditions?
  1. At any stage of investment, the investor is making a forward judgement on the exit outcome. Hence, it is common for investors to bake the exit scenario in the way you are being valued. For example, if a Series A investor, who’d typically expect a startup to exit at $500M, may value a startup which may exit at only $250M (in their minds) much more harshly than a startup which could easily build a $1B or more as an outcome.
  2. All the rules of the market —namely, demand and supply — still apply. It is not uncommon for serial/exited entrepreneurs to raise money at 5–10x valuation than first-time entrepreneurs.
  3. Valuation remains the last step. Hence, if you don’t pass any of the filters a VC has in their model, your willingness to price yourself very attractively doesn’t count.

How can you use this information?

First, it is always a great idea to know what’s the playbook on the other side. At the same time, smart people would know that such discrete classifications can’t be taken for granted. Second, whenever you have term-sheet on offer, you should know that valuation is largely formulaic for a VC, hence pay immense attention to the terms that come along with it. That’s the detail most first-time entrepreneurs struggle with!
Finally, as most experienced entrepreneurs will tell you,

forget valuation and focus on creating things of value.

If there’s value, valuation cannot be far behind. And creating anything of value is incredibly hard in any economy, doubly so in India. Once you are past your curiosity about valuation, you’d notice that life after raising VC money becomes much harder. In fact, the more you raise (by corollary, the higher your valuation) the more complicated it will get!

What’s more?

Hope these two posts satisfy a lot of your curiosities. As you can imagine, the art of valuing a startup is much deeper than what we covered here. Do post your responses and ask me if I skipped a step in my explanation.

The article was first published in the Arpit’s Medium Blog here,  and has been republished here with the Author’s permission.

Author
Arpit Agarwal

Arpit has been involved with promotion of startups and ecosystem since 2006 when he co-founded Headstart Network, today India’s largest early stage entrepreneurs’ network with over 20 city chapters.

Arpit has been with Blume for last four years as a Principal, responsible for scouting science-led and hardware businesses, apart from managing a portfolio of about 15 companies, which include companies in a variety of sectors ranging from used goods market to IOT to Healthcare to Enterprise services.

He’s based in Delhi, in an MBA from IIT Bombay and holds a BTech from NIT Trichy

How do we value your #startup?  Part 1 by Arpit Agarwal, @arpiit


This is the favorite topic of every single startup entrepreneur in early stages of their evolution. It also incites an academic curiosity in a large number of people who, like the 3 adorable dads in this video, have a highly misplaced notion about it. A big reason why this happens is because we don’t write about it so often in India and, perhaps, everyone understands this quite well in US or China.


Before I begin talking about it, I must put the usual disclaimers — this applies mostly to a tech startup in India, comes from our colored experience of valuing companies and often reflects the mood of the industry at this point of time. Each of these are important as we will see below. Also, please read my prequel post on stages of evolution of a startup to get the context and definitions right.

Valuation is in the eyes of the beholder

It won’t be a hyperbole if I say that startup valuation is more of an art than a science. There are only a handful of thumb-rules and rest everything is a highly subjective item. Another thing to understand about valuation is that while a general thumb rule is widely accepted, there are several well-known exceptions that prove the rule that this is a very subjective exercise.
In most cases, it will appear as if you have been valued less by your investors and the startup run by your friend was valued much higher. Please note that getting a round itself is relatively rare event. You can do your best to optimize on the available options, but once you are past it, look ahead and move on. Basically,

A high or low valuation is not simply a function of you, your business or the traction. Raising money is a highly subjective topic and by no means should a founder value her ‘true worth’ by it, because it is not.

Valuation is the final step

In my sales job, I learned a very key lesson that applies to many things in life: pricing is always the final step. Why? Because pricing is something that brings the deal to a Yes or a No situation. It is also a true test of how well the value has been explained to the buyer. Most institutional investors won’t even talk about valuation and deal structures unless they have gone through several rounds of discussions, both with you and internal. Our process mirrors a series of filters. There are easily tens, if not hundreds, of filters that we apply before we decide to roll out the term-sheet. And you should know that this is a Series of filters and it is rare that someone is able to bypass any of them. But that topic deserves a post of its own.

Demand-Supply rule

Let’s assume that you fortunately passed through these filters easily and there’s strong expressed intent of the investor to invest in your company. One dirty secret that you need to remember is — there’s no real science behind valuing a startup, in any economy, leave alone India where the availability of market data is quite shallow in itself. Coupled with the fact that technology is going to, sooner or later, disrupt existing markets (think book retailing) or create completely new markets (think local taxis), it is nearly impossible to accurately value early stage startups. Hence,

Valuation of a startup is a function of the demand it is generating in the investor market

As simple as that! Now, if you argue that at some point this valuation should catch up with the public market multiples, you are right. But that will happen at least 5–7 years after the first round of funding. A lot of technology, regulation and other macro factors can change in this period. Hence, experienced investors have come up with thumb-rules that they use to propose a deal.

A word on the VC business

Each institutional investor has a clearly thought-out strategy to deal with investments. This determines what kind of companies they like (think of filters, as above), the kind of exit value they seek and what is the minimum they want to make as a return per investment.
For example, Blume Ventures loves all things tech — both B2B and B2C. Conversely, we have tried and failed in building consumer brands. Hence, we don’t like to invest into your apparel brand or restaurant chain or even a niche e-commerce business. If we choose to invest into a company, we expect it to deliver at least a $100M exit value and we want to give back our LPs at least $10M at your exit. This means we need to be holding at least 10% at exit. Given 3–4 rounds of dilution after our first check in, it is possible to hold 10% at exit only if we start closer to 18–20%. Further, as a constraint on our fund size ($60M) and the number of companies we want to invest in (40), our ticket size per first check is about $500k-1M (₹3.5–7Cr) or thereabout. Our ideal scenario is that we start with approximately 20% stake in the first round. Some of our recent term-sheet reflect this strategy exactly as I described.
But, did you notice that we didn’t even think of a valuation so far? That’s because

Valuation is a derived amount in VC business

We don’t obsess about valuation so long as our stake target is met and the check size doesn’t exceed our comfort level.

Stay Tuned

This post must have given you some food for thought on how to deal with investors and funding rounds. In Part 2, we will talk about the benchmark numbers, round sizes and, most importantly, how can you use all this knowledge to your best advantage.

The article was first published in the Arpit’s Medium Blog here,  and has been republished here with the Author’s permission.

Author
Arpit Agarwal

Arpit has been involved with promotion of startups and ecosystem since 2006 when he co-founded Headstart Network, today India’s largest early stage entrepreneurs’ network with over 20 city chapters.

Arpit has been with Blume for last four years as a Principal, responsible for scouting science-led and hardware businesses, apart from managing a portfolio of about 15 companies, which include companies in a variety of sectors ranging from used goods market to IOT to Healthcare to Enterprise services.

He’s based in Delhi, in an MBA from IIT Bombay and holds a BTech from NIT Trichy

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Made Affordable and Accessible by Piyush Gupta @Ambrosia_Sys

Living with diabetes comes with many challenges. At the top of the list is monitoring glucose levels to avoid a health crisis. Monitoring can be inconvenient and expensive, but thanks to advances in technology, these issues are being addressed like never before.


Dealing With Diabetes
Diabetes relates to the body’s ability to produce and process the hormone insulin. Without it, cells cannot absorb sugar, or glucose, which we need for energy.


Diabetics are typically diagnosed with one of two types of the disease: Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 is when the body produces no insulin. The immune system destroys the cells that release it. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is not producing enough insulin, or the levels produced are not sufficient to help the body generate energy.

In either case, the person diagnosed must make lifestyle changes to ensure glucose levels are kept in check. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should work out at least 2 hours/wk spread over 3 days/wk with no more than 2 consecutive days without exercise. The ADA also recommends nutritional counselling to address eating patterns, including lowering carbohydrates, fat intake and adding fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy to your diet. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all program, and it’s important to consult your doctor to determine the dietary, exercise and behavioural changes that are best for you.

By The Numbers

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the US population has diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for the largest group of people who have diabetes.

Another 86 million have been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic.

Globally, according to a 2016 report by the World Health Association, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. In fact, the global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. Diabetes is on the rise not only in the United States but also around the world, and the complications from diabetes are impacting individuals and their families.

Behind these numbers are people coming to terms with the emotional and physical realities of managing their disease. We mentioned the importance of activity and exercise as well as healthy eating habits. Stress is also an important considering when managing diabetes. Learning to live with diabetes can weigh down the strongest amongst us and that stress can raise your blood sugar. Learning ways to lower stress, from yoga and deep breathing to gardening and listening to your favourite music, can keep your mind in a healthy state. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends acquainting yourself with the ABCs: your A1C, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol. Considering your ABCs can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems. When it comes to your blood pressure, monitoring it is a necessary addition to your daily routine. The key to the lifestyle changes diabetics undergo is having options to monitor glucose levels that are both effective, and affordable.

Technology Makes Monitoring Easier

Active management and monitoring of glucose is neither convenient nor cost effective for many. Some medical professionals recommend up to 10 tests per day. Assuming you have the schedule and discipline to stick with it, most diabetics have had to resort to testing their glucose levels through frequent, invasive needle pricks on their fingers.

There are saliva-testing devices under review by the US Food and Drug Administration, and Google was rumoured to be testing smart contact lenses that could monitor glucose levels as well. But a finger sticks remains the most common test despite the pain of a prick, the need to record readings and do so multiple times per day.

More convenient and accurate methods of testing glucose levels are becoming more readily available. For example, Abbott Laboratories invented the FreeStyle Libre system.

The device has been hailed for its convenience. Placed just under the skin, the sensor continuously measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid that bathes the cells. Those wearing the device can use their smartphones to get immediate readings. According to Bloomberg, FreeStyle Libre users scanned their sensors an average 16 times a day; some exceeded 45.

While the repeated checks help diabetics lower their glucose levels, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems are costly. Prices can range between $3,000 and $4,000/year, limiting the accessibility of life-saving monitoring. However, companies like Ambrosia Systems are reinventing the wheel, bringing cost savings and convenience to glucose monitoring.

Introducing BluCon
We invented BluCon to build an affordable next generation continuous glucose monitoring like system for diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. Our iOS and Android apps work with Abbot’s FreeStyle Libre sensor, sending glucose readings to any Bluetooth enabled connected device.

Today, two factors prohibit active monitoring and management of diabetes: cost and inconvenience. BluCon quickly reads data from Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre sensor and sends that data to the LinkBluCon mobile app on your phone for less than half the annual cost of available solutions. Our battery life is also twice as long, adding to the convenience and cost savings brought by BluCon.

Living with diabetes entails constant glucose monitoring, which, as we noted, can mean significant lifestyle changes. Checking glucose levels, and keeping an accurate record, can be complicated. BluCon is meant to simplify glucose monitoring and ongoing management of your type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Author
Piyush Gupta

Several years experience in product management worked at Abbott Diabetes Care, Kaiser Permanente, Capital One Bank and a couple of healthcare startups as senior product management executive. Helped companies in building next generation platform, iOS and android mobile products

The Formula of Driver and Demand- Indian Startups story via @drruchibhatt

Author: Dr. Ruchi Dass

Health Innovator (HIT, BigData, IoT, Analytics and Cloud) | TED Speaker | Investor and Mentor
15.Feb.2016, India

The healthcare industry is currently experiencing change at an unprecedented rate. Change is not only occurring in the technology used in diagnostics and care delivery, but this change is so fundamental that it could, and likely will, fundamentally alter the business model of the industry.
Today we have fitness bands, healthcare apps, appointment schedulers, health chats and several such means to access healthcare but one thing that all of this does not necessarily correlate with high quality of care or better outcomes.
We need to understand that “Not even a Ferrari will get us to our destination without a driver.”
Formula of Driver:
Driver = (Need + Incentive) where;
Incentive = (Value + Reward)
Need = (Gap + Demand)
To define the best drivers, we need to first address the need. Need might not make economic or business sense but it is the best opportunity to leave an impact. No one remembers how much business a “Mughal-e-Azam” or “Usual suspects” did but everyone remembers that these were great movies with splendid performances.
In India, we have several such needs today. A survey conducted by HCG on several pressing issues in the field of health and safety highlighted the following:
  1. Women safety
  2. Elderly concierge services
  3. Child safety
  4. Personalized nutrition
  5. Health Insurance for OPD services
  6. Cancer support/ early detection
  7. Infertility
  8. Fitness (scientifically monitored) and performance 
This list is not exhaustive. I don’t need to look at statistics to confront the horrid truth. News stories of women from all over India being raped, beaten, killed are flashed across us day after day – and we all are aware of it. The fatal Nirbhaya gang-rape saw an outpouring on the streets of Delhi – protests decrying the fragile status of women in India. Candle light marches, editorials examining the patriarchal and sexist traditions of our country, an awakening on social media – even conversations on streets revolve around the night they cannot forget: the night that took Nirbhaya. We need to do something about women safety. Devices, trackers, processes, helplines- whatever little or more we can do. 
 If you are an innovator in this area, please get in touch with me.
For elderly even small accidents can be deadly. While simple falls, such as slipping while walking off a curb, may seem relatively harmless, they can actually lead to severe injury and death in elderly individuals, according to a new study published in The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. As the population continues to age, it is important for physicians and caregivers to be aware of and prepared to deal with this issue, which could significantly impact the overall health and wellbeing of older adults. 
In addition to it, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, heart attack and other things can be very worrisome and need constant monitoring. Innovators call to action here is to come out create and raise awareness about such bracelets, devices and jewelry that can be adorned for a purpose.
Without calorie count possible, limited heart rate tracking and availability of other vitals; performance management and fitness efforts are less effective. Measuring your heart rate using a heart rate monitor is a good way to gauge the effectiveness of your workout because as you strengthen your body through exercise, you also strengthen your heart.
Measuring the rate of your heart during exercise can help you determine when you’re pushing your body too hard or need to push it harder to achieve the level of fitness you are seeking. I love the work Hexoskin and Kenzen are doing. I am looking for something more affordable and focused for Indian market.
Health tech is blazing hot right now and there’s no shortage of companies working on innovative products designed to change the face of healthcare as we know it. That’s a good thing, considering Indians are as unfit as ever and bureaucracy continues to muck things up for physicians and patients alike. As technology evolves, it could upend some of these problems. One thing that’s certain: Consumer-driven healthcare is coming. And these companies are helping make it happen.

All the best !

Author

Article By: Dr. Ruchi Dass

Digital Health Influencer & Health Innovator (HIT, Big Data, IoT, Analytics and Cloud)| TED speaker | Investor and Mentor
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