India is as unique a location as any place could be. Classified in 2015 as the world’s seventh largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity, India is one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialized country – although it continues to face the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and inadequate public healthcare. These key indicators are just some of the reasons why India is a highly strategic market in terms of Israeli innovation and why Start-Up Nation Central has a significant and strategic focus on this corner of Southeast Asia. Together with the ongoing endeavor to build fruitful economic connections, there is also exciting potential in the overall innovation and entrepreneurial capacity that exists on both sides. So, what exactly is Start-Up Nation Central doing in India and how is it doing it?
The Indian market is exceptional and highly distinctive, requiring a customized approach when it comes to all things business. Simply because something works in the US or the UK does not mean that it will work in India. For example, Indians in business typically prefer to see a ‘Proof of Concept’ and only after this will they begin to engage in formal consideration, in which will they make a yay or nay decision.
Start-Up Nation Central and India – How Does it Work?
The ultimate purpose of Start-Up Nation Central is to create a business model for start-ups to be able to successfully enter the Indian market. The way in which Start-Up Nation Central engages with our Indian partners is based on a “half-umbrella” approach, where we hold one half of the umbrella and they hold the other half – both halves together covering and including all the players at a grass-roots level. Partners are usually Indian companies, corporates and NGOs, with Start-Up Nation Central mapping the most pressing needs from the Indian side and bringing to the table those who can best answer these needs.
Another way in which Start-Up Nation Central offers assistance to Israeli start-ups looking to enter the Indian space, is a special Service Provider Program, in which participating service providers (regulation experts, international tax and IP specialists and so on) offer five free hours to a start-up, which provides a comparable “India experience” to help the start-up understand and identify the various challenges and India-specific customs that characterize the Indian space and allow them to adjust their approach accordingly.
The Main Emphases
By connecting leaders of Indian businesses, NGOs and governments with the heads of technologies in Israel, it is the aim of Start-Up Nation Central to identify and discover the best and most appropriate solutions to help solve the most demanding and critical challenges facing India today. As an integral part of our work, Start-Up Nation Central accompanies projects from concept, through pilot, to fully-fledged business cooperation. While many business opportunities exist naturally, Start-Up Nation Central is focusing on these main technological verticals in India: Agritech, Foodtech and Digital Health.
India and AgriFoodTech
The Indian workforce is comprised of more than 65% farmers or farming-related occupations. Since Israel is renowned for its strength in the field of agriculture, much emphasis is placed on helping small hold farmers implement technology and innovation that will help increase production and output, with the aim of helping them to grow their business and expertise.
In general, the Indian agricultural market seeks solutions which can help small farmers to increase their technological skill set and hone their abilities with the use of technology, including solutions that reduce the amount of pesticides used, those that extend the shelf life of produce, help increase product yields, as well as raise the quality of the produce for both local and export markets.
India and Digital Health
India’s middle class is expanding, and the standard of living is rising. This is leading to the need for widespread and prolific affordable health for the masses, and as a result, there is also a growing need, as well as a real interest, in innovative digital health technologies and solutions.
As a further result of the new prosperity being enjoyed by India, the need for health and life insurance is also growing. Until recently, the insurance market was extremely conservative, with no personalized insurance and a “one package fits all” approach, as there was no money to pay for customized and/or individualized insurance policies. The current aim, therefore, is to introduce technologies that partner insurance needs with digital health functions, to enable a broader community of eligibility for health and life insurance, while still considering the need for sensitivity to the cost of a product or service.
In India, digital health solutions need to be scalable and cost-sensitive. Solutions must also be easy to embed within the existing infrastructure of an Indian hospital or medical center and must answer the needs of emergency care and help improve the running and efficiency of the institution. Additionally, given the remote location of a large percentage of the Indian population, digital health solutions need to address the issues facing rural communities, and include an option of solutions via remote control.
There are many Israeli innovative digital health solutions which could be extremely effective within the Indian market. These include solutions that utilize patient smartphones and computers to enable early diagnosis and chronic patient monitoring from home, products utilizing advanced computer vision and machine learning technology for diagnostic capabilities, wearable monitors that enable non-invasive and accurate medical grade monitoring of a patient by remote and all manner of cloud-based initiatives.
For more information about India and the Israeli innovation ecosystem, contact Vered Mivtzari, Country Relations Director for India.