Over 1 in 5 couples in the reproductive age face difficulties in conceiving naturally, and to address this, Innov4Sight aims to create a chain of technology-driven fertility clinics across the world.
Vijaygopal Rengarajan lost his aunt to breast cancer after a six-year struggle amid other personal tragedies due to diagnostic errors. The lessons he learnt inspired Vijaygopal to set out on a journey to create a “technology-agnostic integrated healthcare ecosystem” to significantly impact clinical outcomes.
In 2014, he joined hands with Balachander Agoramurthy, Geetha Sanjay, and Gopinath Varadharajan – who had all had lost someone to cancer - and co-founded Innov4Sight with one aim: to reduce errors in cancer care. But Innov4Sight pivoted not long after, extending its horizon to exploit the boom in the fertility care sector in India and overseas.
The transition was natural. When the team got to the MVP of cancer clinical data analytics product Parsight, it realised it would need huge capital to solve the data-driven problem in cancer care. The medical, technological, and entrepreneurial backgrounds of the founders helped them make the decision to transition to fertility care.
Bengaluru-based Innov4Sight now builds solutions for reproductive health and infertility care, and claims to offer couples a greater chance of having a child when compared to traditional fertility treatments such as IVF.
“The reason we chose fertility was that the fertility care industry uses hormone replacement therapy (HRT) extensively, which has been known to cause cancer. Rather than going curative, we chose to go preventive. We built Innov4Sight Health and Biomedical Systems as a full-stack technology company focusing on sexual wellness, reproductive health, and fertility care,” Vijaygopal says.
The company partners with organisations or institutions that provide them with clinicians or consultants. It works on a B2B2C model; they take their products to fertility clinics who offer them to patients in need.
Innov4Sight, now a 29-member team, has signed up over 110 hospitals and clinics in the fertility industry. It works with around 30-odd clinicians.
Innov4Sight’s flagship therapeutic solution BAP.C uses regenerative medicine-based therapeutics to improve physiological conditions and functions of the reproductive system in males and females.
Fertilator, their haptics-based medical simulator for fertility procedures, helps in training, assessment, certification and pre-op procedures. Gift Hope is a digital health platform that uses wearables, IoT, and VR to offer personalised reproductive health and infertility care.
Facebook helped the team innovate its on-going project Sexual Performance Enhancer + Relationship Kindler (SPERK). SPERK, a multi-sensual simulation system, uses VR, wearables, haptics, IOT, and mobile apps to deliver personalised therapy for couples using methodologies and techniques defined in Yogasutra, Raagasutra, and Kamasutra.
“We initially wanted to test our product with eight doctors in two countries. Facebook helped us test it with 163 doctors in seven countries,” Vijaygopal says.
Balachander, a tech geek, handles technology development while Geetha, a cancer cytogeneticist, helps him take care of functional requirements. Geetha, a genetic engineer with over 15 years of experience in healthcare, is currently the Chief Scientific Officer. Balachander, a software and embedded systems engineer with experience of over 26 years, is the Chief Innovation Officer at Innov4Sight.
Vijaygopal, the CEO, is responsible for driving business and drawing up strategies. He comes with over 18 years of experience in the field of product ideation, conceptualisation, development and project management, implementation, training, and support.
Gopinath, a software and embedded systems engineer with more than 30 years of experience, is the company’s Chief Technology Officer.
Vijaygopal says their USP is that Innov4Sight is a full-stack company. This means that it works with clinicians and research bodies along with customers. Innov4Sight claims to be the only startup in the world working on the biotechnologies (for medication), biomedical engineering (for equipment), and digital health (software front).
The company, which has a presence in five cities in India, claims to have helped more than 600 couples so far and is actively working with over 100 fertility clinics across the country. “With a 70 percent success rate in terms of clinical pregnancies, our products have a 2-3 times higher success rate than what a standard fertility clinic offers,” Vijaygopal says.
It has started working with research collaborators in Singapore and Israel.
Currently, the company charges about Rs 35,000 for each dose of its therapeutics to fertility clinics. It is selling its healthtech suite to hospitals/clinics at an average price of about Rs 15 lakh.
Vijaykumar says India has about 3 crore infertile couples in the reproductive age group. “Japan is already facing negative population growth. Over 20 other countries globally are rapidly moving towards negative or rapidly declining population growth. Eighteen countries, including Singapore, Japan, Israel, UK, China, and India, are spending billions of dollars to address infertility as a public health issue.”
According to a report by Allied Market Research (AMR), the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) services market in India is projected to reach $ 775.9 million by 2022, with a CAGR of 16.6 percent from 2016 to 2022.
Innov4Sight is still not profitable, but they are hoping to get there soon.
Some of the other companies offering the same service include Cardinal Health and Meditech Health Services.
Innov4Sight has raised a total of over $2.5 million, with half of it funded by the founders themselves. For its next phase of growth, the founders are eyeing a big Series A round soon.
“Our biggest challenge is capital. So far, all co-founders have liquidated assets and poured everything into the venture. But we are very involved and have complete faith that we can make a difference in people’s lives,” Vijaygopal says. “In the future, we plan to work directly with customers, with the help of clinics. Our goal is to serve at least a billion people by 2022.”