Pulse Founder, Joginder Tanikella, at the Y Combinator event in U.S. (Source: Joginder Tanikella/LinkedIn)

Startup Street: India’s Healthcare Startups Are Making Waves In Silicon Valley

This week on Startup Street, we have two Indian healthcare startups which bagged support from the Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator—known for funding companies like AirBnB and DropBox. Tesla Inc. has filed a lawsuit against one of its ex-engineers for stealing information for a Chinese electric vehicle startup. Non-profit incubator N/Core is now also an accelerator after it announced a fund for not-for-profit startups. Here’s what went on.

Two Indian Healthcare Startups Get Backed By Y Combinator

Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based accelerator, backed two Indian healthcare startups—Pulse Active Stations and Inito.

Pulse is looking to scale its diagnostic kiosks—a form of automated doctor—which assesses a patient for 12 of the most commonly found lifestyle diseases. These kiosks are ideally placed in areas of heavy footfalls such as malls, metro stations, train stations and hospitals where people can access them for less than Rs 100 through the startup’s application. The kiosks generate a customised nutrition and workout routine.

In late 2018, Indian achieved the World Health Organisation-recommended ratio of doctors to people, standing at 1:921. However, one in every four Indians above the age of 30 is at an increased risk of dying from lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, all types of cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, a WHO study shows.

Founded by Joginder Tanikella, the Hyderabad-based telemedicine venture has serviced more than 1.6 lakh customers at malls and hospitals across Hyderabad.

According to Y Combinator’s website, “They’re growing organically at 30 percent month over month. The majority of Indians do not have access to adequate healthcare. By locating Pulse kiosks in public spaces like train stations and malls, Pulse Active Stations is the first point of contact that 1.4 billion Indians will have with healthcare services.”

As part of this program, Pulse will spend three months in Silicon Valley, where it will work with the accelerator to refine its pitch to investors.

And so will the Bengaluru based Inito. Also selected by Y Combinator in their 2019 Cohort, Inito’s flagship innovation is a small device that enables smartphones to perform lab-grade fertility diagnostic tests at home.

The device is based on the company's in-house technology and comes with a reader, application and test strips. The device, according to the startup, monitors two fertility hormones, Estrogen and Luteinizing Hormone in urine—allowing women to increase their chances of getting pregnant by 89 percent. The artificial intellegence-based technology understands the unique variations in cycles and gives accurate results, it said in a statement.

With the latest backing from Y Combinator, Inito plans to add the ability to track other hormones—a move which the startup said could disrupt the $30-billion fertility market.

"Being funded by Y Combinator allows us to think globally and access global expertise and resources which will enable our mission,” its Co-Founder Aayush Rai said in the statement.

Elon Musk Accuses Chinese Electric Vehicle Startup Of Stealing Secrets

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla.  (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Tesla Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer has accused one of the company’s former engineers of stealing confidential auto-pilot information before leaving for a job at XPeng—a Chinese electric vehicle startup called Xpeng Motors, according to a Bloomberg report.

The accusation comes at a time when the startup is already facing a lawsuit filed by Apple Inc. which says that one of its ex-employees tried to take sensitive robocar secrets to a new job with XPeng.

Tesla brought the suit on Wednesday against Cao Guangzhi, the ex-member of Tesla's self-driving team, in a district court in Northern California, according to report by Nikkei Asian Review.

The startup itself, however, hasn’t been accused of any wrong doing by Apple or Tesla

He Xiaopeng, chairman of Xpeng, called the lawsuit “questionable” in a WeChat post on Friday.

N/Core Announces Fund For Non-Profit Startups

N/Core, an incubator and accelerator for the non-profit sector, has announced a Rs 40 crore fund for non-profit startups in India.

The organisation will offer a grant of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2 crore, based on the stage of the organisation and allow N/Core partners and mentors to work with the startup founders.

N/Core has been working for nearly two years to create a supportive ecosystem for non-profit startups, it said in a statement to BloombergQuint. “Since September 2017, we have incubated 35 nonprofits, and helped 50-plus entrepreneurs to refine their strategy and raise early stage capital,”

"We hope this signal of availability of seed capital for nonprofits will encourage entrepreneurs to choose the nonprofit model to best serve customers at the bottom of pyramid,” the incubator said.

The organisation currently works with nonprofits such as Co Lans, Khushi Baby, Meraki, Tech4Good, Tarkeybein Foundation and more.

It is supported by a number of foundations including the Ford Foundation, Cisco, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation and Indira Foundation.