This female entrepreneur’s startup monitors heart health with a device the size of a power bank

Srushti Adani comes from a family of physicians driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. Her parents opened their own hospital when she was five.

As money was tight and free time was minimal, they decided to move to the top floor of the hospital in a one-bedroom doctor’s ward where they lived until they were 14 years old.

“I grew up in and around healthcare – I saw deaths and miracles and everything. My nine years in hospital inspired me to become a biomedical engineer, from especially since my father saw enormous potential in the ability of medical technology to transform the lives of millions of people,” Srushti recalls.

Therefore, she went to the University of California, Berkeley on a scholarship for her undergraduate degrees in bioengineering, industrial engineering, and South Asian studies. She returned to India in 2018 to start Wellnest Technologya startup that aims to enable rapid diagnosis and analysis of heart health from the comfort of home.

Srushti found Wellnest’s sore spot at home.

When her father, an urgent care specialist who had seen people die from delayed care, chose to ignore her very obvious heart attack symptoms, dismissing them as acid reflux, she says she knew that something was wrong with the healthcare system.

She explains: “While it is true that the delay in diagnosis is often due to the lack of 3As: awareness, affordability and accessibility, this incident of my father, someone with access, awareness and ability to afford, the minimization of his symptoms brought me to the realization that the healthcare system mimics anxiety and stress, even among seasoned healthcare professionals.

“I have realized that the current system is extremely complicated which leads to unnecessary waste of resources. Moreover, it also creates fear and aversion to medical care which ultimately leads to delays in care to patients.”

Srushti knew that if her father, a careful and competent doctor, could ignore her symptoms, most people would.

“I tried to find solutions that would help to easily determine whether a certain symptom was severe or not, but when I could not find such a solution, I decided to start Wellnest. I decided to create a hardware-driven ecosystem to untangle this healthcare maze. When users have a medical issue, Wellnest will provide personalized, data-driven guidance on next steps, so the impact of fear and delay can be reduced in the diagnostic process,” she adds.

At the heart of health tech

The pandemic has only added to the need to merge technology across companies to solve problems, leading Wellnest to focus on creating products that improve reactive care.

“We are investing in AI-based, IoMT/App-enabled medical devices that will help us gain more active users on our platform. Additionally, it will allow us to expand opportunities for upstream and downstream integrations to achieve our vision of a holistic care platform,” says Srushti.

Its first product is the Wellnest 12L, an app-enabled, 12-channel ECG solution system that is accessible and easy to use and requires no cardiology training.

Designed, developed and manufactured in India by experts from IIT-Kanpur/IIM-Ahmedabad, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, MIT Institute of Design and National Institute of Design, Wellnest 12L is a Bluetooth-enabled electrocardiograph that captures quality images medical patient heart data. With a 500Hz refresh rate and the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, ECG capture is simultaneous, smooth and accurate.

How it works

The Wellnest 12L Pro comes with a one-size-fits-all ECG electrode belt with nine out of 10 electrodes pre-attached: electrodes V1 and V2 should be evenly centered on both sides of the sternum, the straps placed around the arms, and the belt loop attached . The app is connected to the device to record the ECG. The PDF copy can be shared via WhatsApp, email or even printed on a Wi-Fi printer.

It has two co-founders: UT Arlington graduate Arjav Dave, who leads its software and data science team and has over a decade of experience building software solutions for global clients, and Niral Desai, an IITK-IIMA alumnus, who leads Wellnest’s product experience team.

The health tech startup’s target consumers include NGOs, PHCs, and CHCs. The devices are manufactured in Gandhinagar and assembled in Ahmedabad; prices start at Rs 31,500 and go up to Rs 50,000.

Srushti shares that 60% of the existing user base is located in remote locations or serving underserved areas. Of the remaining 40%, 20% are located in metropolitan cities and 20% in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. These are mainly cardiologists, physicians, diagnostic centers, and BHMS physicians.

Wellnest Technology 12L Pro is offered at a one-time hardware cost and then optional add-ons or subscriptions for other services.

Srushti claims that their introductory solution, Wellnest 12L, has helped “save over 175 lives in 16 months”.

“A significant portion of our devices are used in rural areas where medical care is hard to come by. With new product launches, we expect to serve over 500,000 people in the coming year.

Srushti is aware that they are in competition with industry giants like BPL, Schiller, Philips and GE. But she thinks that while they’ve created the category’s gold standard, they’re bulky and haven’t yet adapted to new technology.

She says her strategy is simple: make high-quality products, sell them at competitive prices, and provide extraordinary after-sales service.

The founders chose to stay bootstrapped.

“I am a strong believer in the belief that the customer’s money is the best income. We’ve generated about $500,000 in revenue over the past 16 months and we’re looking to grow that number exponentially,” she says.

As a 26-year-old entrepreneur, Srushti believes that ambitious women are always scrutinized for being selfish or not being “family oriented” just because they want to be independent and make a difference in society.

“Women face major discrimination in the tech space and as a result the ratio of male to female applicants for tech jobs is abysmal. It is imperative that as a society we create a system that enables women to take on more leadership roles and start their own businesses,” concludes Srushti.