Incubatee Case Study Series: Yostra

Business incubation is on the rise today. A study published in the ‘Sustainability’ journal two years ago assessed the impact of business incubation. The research said:

“We can say that a business incubator centre is an effective method of stimulating sustainable economic growth. It has a positive effect on social, technical, and financial indicators.”

How exactly does business incubation help? Read on to understand.

This case study highlights the journey of Yostra Labs Private Limited and its innovations, backed by business incubators who made scalability a reality. We spoke to the founder of Yostra Labs Private Limited, Mr. Vinayak Nandalike, to understand how business incubation helped solved problems for his organization. The same will be explored through this case study.

About Yostra

Yostra Labs Private Limited is a certified health technology firm that taps into innovation to make healthcare more effective, affordable, and sustainable. Made up of a team of designers, clinicians, and engineers, Yostra is a Bengaluru-based firm. The company’s innovative and practical products are tailored for the cost-sensitive developing market and aim at solving real-world problems.

Product In Focus

Yostra’s product NEURO TOUCH, a point-of-care screening device for peripheral Neuropathy, especially for diabetic patients. This battery-operated digital device was used to screen diabetic patients who showed symptoms of Neuropathy at Narayana Health, Bengaluru’s Endocrinology Departments for early detection, and advanced diagnosis. 

Challenges Faced

“We met Dr. Subramaniam Kannan from Narayana Health at a Diabetes Hackathon in October 2015. He gave us feedback on the prototype that helped us build the final product. It helped us understand the market need and commercialize it,” says Mr. Nandalike while talking about the inception of the product.

Before interaction with clinicians, Yostra didn’t have market-specific and user-specific feedback. After getting the feedback on their prototype, there were still some challenges that Yostra faced on the way:

Testing the efficacy of the solution, NEURO TOUCH in a real-world environment with actual patients.

  1. Find a clinician and customer-validation avenue to assess the product.
  2. Get access to a hospital eco-system and network with the stakeholders in the healthcare industry to understand the variables of the product when deployed at the end-user level.
  3. Having enough funding to go through the entire product lifecycle — from ideation to implementation.
  4. Having enough funding to go through the entire product lifecycle — from ideation to implementation.

Solutions Implemented

Yostra has been incubated by the MSMF TBI, wherein it received the collective ecosystem of Narayana Health, Villgro and MSMF who have supported the company in its innovation, vision, and business processes. As a result of being incubated, Yostra had opened doors to the following solutions:

  • Gaining the ability to secure government grants and seed funding for its initiatives
  • Gaining access to clinicians and the hospital eco-system
  • Gaining access to vital clinical and pre-clinical trial data
  • Gaining the ability to test and develop products in laboratories
  • Gaining mentorship to understand market needs

After getting feedback on the prototype of NEURO TOUCH in 2015, Yostra developed the first version of the device in 2018 and was able to get it adopted by Narayana Health at the beginning of 2019.

“Narayana Health gave us the opportunity to deploy NEURO TOUCH, generate feedback, validate the product and incorporate the feedback before it could be made available in the market. We deployed the device in the Endocrinology Department at Narayana Health and got the support of the consulting Endocrinologists and Diabetes Educators to conduct the study” shares Mr. Nandalike.

Active mentoring by the incubators during the ideation, design and product development phase enabled crucial product features such as battery-operated handheld device and cloud-based monetizable reports, which are the unique selling propositions of NEURO TOUCH. These design enhancements were also financially supported through the Technical Assistance Programs. Incubators have also helped Yostra with their IP strategy and implementation

User Study

A study was conducted at Narayana Health to check the feasibility of using NEURO TOUCH for the screening of Diabetic patients at the Endocrinology for Neuropathy complications. The study involved training the Diabetes Educator to perform Neuropathy tests on patients referred by the consulting Endocrinologists. Based on the results of the test, the patients were referred to the Vascular Department if needed. The study was conducted over two months, and feedback of the consulting Endocrinologists and the Diabetes Educator was recorded.

Over a period of one month, team Yostra screened over 150 patients at Narayana Health. This activity gave an opportunity to strategically place the product in the eco-system of this hospital where the patients and doctors were able to understand the value propositions that the product offered, its usage and impact. The Bionest program (under which Yostra is incubated) made this activity a seamless process to test the product on the ground with the customers and experience its impact. Without incubation, it would be challenging to access this eco-system at display the product to the users and stakeholders.

Results Achieved

Mr. Nandalike concludes by saying, “I am happy to share that that today NEURO TOUCH has been accepted by our customers across India, with more than 150 installations of the product and 12,000+ screenings for Neuropathy. This has been an achievement.”

With the support of business incubators, Yostra has the means and resources to redefine the healthcare industry. It has expert guidance from mentors, access to much-needed capital to develop new products, and the ability to beta test products through labs. It also has access to clinical data and a way to understand end-user expectations via hospitals. 

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