An Excerpt from the Interview:
• What made you start your venture?
We made a decision to use our experience as technocrats to ‘prevent avoidable blindness’. We had to come up with a solution that could address the issues of preventable blindness. The product that was conceived (which is now called 3nethra classic) was a consequence of this problem solving exercise. A few software and hardware engineers were hired and small apartment was rented out in Bannerghatta road, with the help of an Angel fund.
• What has been the key to your business’s success?
There are three ‘I’s that drive our success – Innovate / Implement / Impact First key to our business success is our ability to understand why we exist. It is the purpose that drives innovation. 3nethra was built to solve a problem and not to compete with existing technology by producing newer and better features. The design and features of our product is focused on the need – this mind set helped us to create a compact, portable and highly affordable technology solution. Identifying new innovative business models to implement this technology is the second key to our success.
The social impact the technology has created is the third key that is driving our success. As of today we have more than 400 installations across 5 continents and 15 countries. Since 2012 we have raised capital twice – Series-1 $5 Mn in 2012 from IDG Ventures and Accel Partners and series-2 $8 Mn from Asia Health Fund, IDG and Accel.
• What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Market acceptance is probably the major challenge we faced in the early days. The existing ophthalmology market in India was used to big names from Europe, USA and Japan. There was not even a single company in the ophthalmic imaging space and was predominantly dominated by Japanese manufacturers. Our focus was not to go on a head on competition. We were targeting a market segment that was not fully served – we gave them a technology that served the need at the most attractive price.
We enabled more medical segments apart from ophthalmologists to benefit from our technology. Identifying eye problems was only restricted to ophthalmologists, but we also know we do not have enough eye doctors to solve the problem – so we took the technology to other market segments such as General physicians, Diabetic centres and Optometry chains to increase the access of eye screening. We did not stop at the experts, we went beyond them.
We developed a technology that can be used by all medical practises, and using our cloud software we connect all these devices to an expert ophthalmologist for final diagnosis. We used the power of the internet to increase access to eye screening – It’s the implementation of the technology that differentiates us from other tech companies. 3nethra has become a recognisable brand in India since its official launch in 2011.
• Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Predominantly our investors – IDG Ventures, Accel Partners, Asia Health Fund.
• What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Key to customer satisfaction is giving attention to them. Spending time with customers not only improves their satisfaction but contributes to product development as well. We have built a good sales/service team across India. In India, our expansion plan is built on direct sales. We have regional and territory heads pan India and our sales are being driven at a run rate of 100 units per quarter as of today. Our international sales team is, at present, focused on expanding the South East Asia and Latin American markets.
• What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Resilience, Focus and a little bit of arrogance to reject conventional thinking. Visit their Website: http://forushealth.com/