An anesthetist checks information displayed on electronic screens during an operation (Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)  

Startup Street: This Startup’s Making Life Easier For Doctors

This week on Startup Street, a venture that’s helping Indian hospitals streamline operations; the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion seeks suggestions to make it easier for startups to apply for exemption from angel tax; and increased collaboration between India and Israel has brought a new scholarship for Indian startups. Here’s what went on:

Navia Life Care’s Mission

Navia Life Care wants to make Indian hospitals more efficient, streamline their operations and make it easier for doctors to keep track of patients.

“Hospitals have relied heavily on manual processes, right from taking patient records to scheduling, and from managing internal processes of patient movement to communication between different stakeholders,” Kunal Kishore Dhawan, co-founder and chief executive at Navia, told BloombergQuint. “We are developing solutions that work on deep learning and would aid a healthcare provider in every aspect of their work.”

Navia Life builds IT systems for hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and even patients. It boasts of customers like Dr. Lal Pathlabs, Seagull Pharmaceuticals, Radix Healthcare and Park Hospital.

“Unlike some other big health-tech companies, we operate on a B2B (business-to-business) model, focusing on empowering healthcare providers, ranging from small clinics to large multi-specialty hospitals,” Dhawan said. “We help them promote their brand by white-labeling our offering, instead of being front-and-centre with patients. Further, the product itself is modular, which solves multiple problems for the same player.”

The 16-member startup, founded in 2016, offers its flagship healthcare suit Navia Smart, an asset light queue management system called Navia QM, and an upcoming voice assistant for doctors called NAVI.

Navia Life Care chief operating officer Gaurav Gupta and CEO Kunal Kishore Dhawan (Source: Company)
Navia Life Care chief operating officer Gaurav Gupta and CEO Kunal Kishore Dhawan (Source: Company)

NAVI will allow doctors to just speak into their phone to create a prescription for a patient without needing a pen or paper. “It automatically saves a patient’s records in the system, which are retrievable by the doctor by click of a button. The system also helps the patients by reminding them when to take their medication.”

Their offerings begin at Rs 500 a month and can go up to several thousands of rupees based on the customer’s need. “Usually, our customers renew the licences every 12 months—we have about 100 percent renewal rate right now,” Dhawan said.

He said a 75-bed multi-specialty hospital in East Delhi streamlined processes and boosted its top line using Navia’s product. “They have significantly improved their patient engagement, increased the care quality and improved revenues by using this easy-to-use dashboard for doctors, administration, marketing and front office teams.”

The startup has raised Rs 1.3 crore in two funding rounds so far with investments from Benori Ventures and Evalueserve co-founder Ashish Gupta, among others.

But profitability is still a fair distance away. “We are aiming to breakeven sometime in 2021.”

Dhawan said the startup is constantly on the hunt for “credible” partners in the health and pharma industries that can help them increase their reach. Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s Ayushman Bharat scheme would also open up the prospects of tying up with health insurers, he said. “Bringing health insurance to the masses would also drive adoption of technologies that help in patient management, ensure data integrity and lead to better clinical outcomes.”

Also read: Angel Tax: Revised Provisions Have No Real Substance

DIPP Seeks Views To Ease Angel Tax Anguish

After a recent attempt to ease the burden of angel tax for startups, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is looking for ways to make it easier to apply for an exemption. The department sought views from stakeholders for better implementation of the procedure for startups to seek the relief announced on Jan. 16.

This comes after a number of startups expressed disappointment over the measures taken. Those associated with the startup ecosystem had said the way the government sought to make amends for tax notices sent to startups on their angel funding is cosmetic in nature and doesn’t address the core issues.

The government had said startups that are seeking the exemption won’t require certification from an inter-ministerial body, but new applications must be routed through the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which will be evaluated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes in 45 days. Also, the notification doesn’t help those who have already received notices on the angel investment.

Section 56(2) (viib) of the Income Tax Act provides that the amount raised in excess of a startup's fair market value is taxed at 30 percent as income of the firm from other sources.

More than 150 startups received a notice for angel tax in mid-December. This isn’t the first time that these notices have been issued. Many received them last year too—for which litigation is pending in some cases. The issue, according to Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder of Indian Angel Network, could kill the startup ecosystem. While the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, NITI Aayog and the Securities and Exchange Board of India are doing a lot to enable high traction in startup ecosystem, tax is the real devil in the pact, she had earlier told BloombergQuint. “It’s completely crippling the entire work the government is doing overall for startups.”

New Scholarship For Indian Startups In Israel

A non-profit organisation in Israel just announced a $50,000 scholarship for Indian startups, amid growing collaboration between the two nations for technology and innovation.

The fund, created by MassChallenge Israel along with Deshpande Foundation and the National Association of Software and Services Companies, will also provide a unique opportunity to win up to half-a-million Israeli Shekels in cash prizes, PTI quoted a MassChallenge spokesperson as saying.

MassChallenge was founded by John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam in 2010 to make it easy for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures. Headquartered in the U.S., its has offices in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas, and the U.K.

The selected Indian startups will join the other 2019 MassChallenge Israel finalists for a four-month equity-free accelerator programme in Jerusalem, the spokesperson said. Apart from the cash prices, they will also get a chance to join an all-inclusive international business trip which is aimed at providing access and exposure to U.S. markets, along with four months of free office space in Jerusalem. In addition, they will get a chance to network.

The partnership is the result of initiatives launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, during their meetings in Israel and India.

“MassChallenge Israel is excited to offer a platform to connect India’s highest impact innovators to the best of the Start Up Nation,” said Yonit Serkin, managing director of MassChallenge Israel, in a press release.

MassChallenge Israel has accelerated 13 Indian companies, including four startups that were MassChallenge programme winners. “These companies continue working with mentors, investors and substantial institutions in the Israeli ecosystem long after the programme has ended and we are thrilled to have a part in building the bridges between our two economies,” Serkin said.

Kheyti, a Hyderabad-based agriculture-focused startup, was one of the winners of the last round of MassChallenge Israel contest.