Over the decades, India has achieved significant progress in the healthcare industry and positioned itself as a leading market worldwide. The healthcare industry has witnessed revolutionary changes in terms of technology and with the advent of MedTech, the industry has been able to extend better and faster access to affordable and good-quality care to patients. The Indian MedTech market is at a nascent stage; however, it is expected to grow exponentially in the country owing to the rising ageing population, favourable government policies & regulations, increasing health insurance penetration, and growing medical tourism.
In our effort to share more knowledge about MedTech with you, we interviewed Krunal Prajapati who runs and leads ‘Brainiac Healthcare’, a medical device company that provides cost-effective and customer-centric medical devices to healthcare professionals in India.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I've wanted to make something for the people around me since I was a child. Engineering has inspired me to build great things. But, at some point in my life, I got tired of making projects for fun or submitting them to professors to pass exams. They served no purpose for the people. My previous job did not satisfy me because it did not emphasize execution. When I began applying for product development jobs at large corporations, they rejected my application. Maybe I was not the right candidate for them. I discussed this with my mentor (Prof. Bhavesh Parmar), and he advised me to start my own business in the medical device industry. Then, I founded my company and am attempting to disrupt the market with his guidance and my own learnings.
2. What is biomedical engineering all about? What motivated you to pursue this field? How did you begin your career after graduating?
Biomedical Engineering is a field of medical innovation and service provision. It is primarily concerned with therapeutic, diagnostic, radiology, and rehabilitation-based medical devices that help the healthcare fraternity do their jobs more efficiently. When I finished high school, I wanted to work in a field that is both growing and recession-proof. When I discovered this field (Biomedical Engineering), I knew I could contribute to it for a long time. So I decided to do it. The first wave of COVID arrived in my final semester of college. And the Indian government declared the first lockdown. During the COVID lockdown, however, my friends and I developed and patented a COVID Detection device. Our department, college, news channels, and reporters recognised us. A company also approached me with an offer to create a life-saving device for COVID warriors. I accepted that too. For ten months, I worked as a Research and Development Engineer - Trainee there. It took me 9 months to finish the product. However, COVID was down after that and the device was not useful. So I quit my job and began looking for new opportunities. After so many rejections from large corporations, I decided to start my own business, and my mentor was very supportive of that.
3. How was your experience as a trainee at Keepsake Welding Research & Skill Development Center during the pandemic? What were your responsibilities?
I learned so much from that experience. For example, how industries work, the
significance of timeliness, how products are developed from an industry standpoint, and the fundamentals that any industry expert is required to run the company. Mainly, my task was to create a life-saving respiratory device for COVID warriors. However, it was also my responsibility to manage the daily tasks associated with product development.
4. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur in the MedTech industry?
Many places turned me down when I was looking for new ways to achieve my vision. It also shattered my self-esteem. But my willpower enabled me to think big and bold thoughts. Because I previously worked with healthcare professionals, I was able to identify numerous healthcare-related issues. When I began discussing identified problems with doctors, I received a positive response. I chose one of the problems and began working on it alone. No one wanted to work with me because they were afraid of taking risks in the MedTech industry. Certain tasks take far too long to complete (Like clinical trials). But my mentor (Prof. Bhavesh Parmar) encouraged and pushed me to achieve great things.
5. Can you tell us about your venture ‘Brainiac Healthcare’?
Brainiac Healthcare is an Ahmedabad-based medical device company on a mission to implement a patient CO2 monitoring device on every bed. It is creating the world's first smart Capnometer device for hospitals and doctors who rely on expensive and difficult-to-access products. We have created a convenient, easy-to-use, accessible, and affordable device that can assist doctors in effectively treating their patients.
6. How did you raise funding for your venture?
Until October 2022, Brainiac Healthcare was a bootstrapped startup. C-CAMP awarded it the first government grant under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS). I have also received a NIDHI EIR grant from CIIE.CO (IIM Ahmedabad Incubation Centre). These funds enabled us to construct something worthwhile for society.
7. As an entrepreneur what are some of the challenges that you faced so far?
The most difficult challenges I've faced as an entrepreneur are: managing product development cycles during a semiconductor shortage; managing financial stability; and team building.
8. What does your regular day look like at Brainiac Healthcare? What is your mantra to build a successful team?
We set weekly, monthly, and annual goals to help us achieve our vision. We believe in the customer-first approach. As a result, we strive to iterate and improve our product on a daily basis. To build a successful team, we are primarily focusing on horizontal expansion and hiring the best talent for our company who believes in the same values that we do. We believe that delegating tasks increases company productivity if the tasks don't require creativity.
9. What is your advice for students/young professionals who are keen on entrepreneurship in the MedTech sector?
It is often said "just believe in yourself and your vision," because it’s the only thing that will encourage you to achieve your goal. But to make an impact in the MedTech sector, particularly, necessitates a great deal of patience and perseverance. Because product market fit, clinical trials, and regulatory approvals will all take time to complete before releasing the product to the public. Having a high level of consistency over a longer period of time can only help you achieve your goals.