Negotiating pilots and channels for healthcare startups: In conversation with Soumitra Das, Cofounder Soujhe Innovative

CIE brings to our Deeptech community,
Fire Up Founder Insights series, hosted by our Incubation head, Mr. Anubhav Tiwari. The series is brought to you as a part of Startup Gyan Blog series by CIE-IIITH  where we feature our founders and talk about their Startup status and the journey so far through conversation on specific topics useful for other Deeptech startups and the community at large.

In Conversation with Soumitra Das, Cofounder Soujhe Innovative:

 Inspired from the challenges faced by a close relative post-stroke to go through rehabilitation, Soujhe Innovative is a vision that reached execution after 5 years of its birth.

“We want to automate the rehabilitation framework and see how fast a patient could recover and resume normal life”

Soujhe offers an IoT Enabled Rehabilitation Platform with Integrated Games for patients with high Incidents of Stroke, Traumatic Brain & Spinal Cord injury, Ortho and Frozen Shoulders etc. The Startup has rolled out two products since Jan 2019, SIMPhyzee – a Smart Wearable solution which renders 35 games and 25 exercises across its four centres and Rmatics – Active & Passive Upper & Lower Limb Rehabilitation Device.

“While playing Games, a patient’s focus is more on the score than the pain area”

Imagine playing and jumping levels and enjoying the thrill of beating scores while it is the limitation, put by the disorder/Injury on your body, that you’re actually beating. We too are game for this!

What were some of the challenges faced in the pilot stage?

The first product was initially offered with a 1 year subscription model with 1 month of free trial but that resulted in poor quality of feedbacks and low engagements. As a trial, the Startup started a week-long pilot with live patients at the customer centre in the presence of an engineer from the team. That resulted in good number and quality of feedbacks, loophole where the product was not meeting the expectations and it also helped the Startup to finally get their Customer Profiling with, for instance, different age groups and different disorders such as Stroke, Ortho and Geriatric. The Customer Profiling resulted in addition of new features to the product and enhanced Value to Customers and Proof of Value as the pilots were witnessed by the Doctors, Therapists and Patients.

Why is it difficult to negotiate for Early stage Healthcare startups?

Not only for Healthcare but for every startups it is difficult as you start with no reputation and familiarity among the customers and in the market. There are a lot of questions, inhibitions to try the product and trust is zilch-0. Also, one very important thing is to allocate enough budget for your sales activities. Startups tend to undermine this aspect when it is of utmost importance.

One quick hack to smoothen the process:

Agile approach from start to end and try to accelerate the process of feedback to problem statement to enhanced solution to product with new features or a new product.

Keep watching this space for more under Fire Up Series.
Stay safe and sound!

– Sunita Kumari, Team CIE