Coming from diverse backgrounds, Dr Ashish Bondia, Manish Ranjan, Ramanathan Lakshmanan, Aditi Vaish and Pranav Kumar Maranganty would have never met each other. Not only did their paths cross in ISB Hyderabad, but it’s also from here that they are that much closer to making history.
“We came across this year’s Hult Prize challenge, set by Bill Clinton, which focused on healthcare, and our shared passion is what brought us together as a team,” says Dr Bondia, a primary care physician.
The ISB team is the only Indian team to make it to the finals of the prestigious Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition wherein the winner receives $1 million in seed capital. With this year’s challenge being “Healthcare: Non-communicable Disease in the Urban Slum”, the competition received more than 10,000 applications from over 300 global universities. After screening, 170 teams presented their ideas at the regional round held in six cities London, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Boston, Shanghai and San Francisco.
“We presented our idea at Sao Paulo and came to know about our selection for the finals last week. The other six finalist teams are from France, Spain, USA and Canada,” says Pranav Kumar, technology design expert. The regional winners were chosen by a panel of more than 100 people, many of whom were CEOs of top companies.
And the idea they presented was of their social enterprise NanoHealth. “In India, diseases such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and heart diseases are silent killers, as many people don’t even know that they are suffering. Our enterprise aims to bring intervention at an early stage, where people from urban slums will spend only $1 per month,” says Manish Ranjan, a business process re-engineering consultant. “According to the global perspective, the economic cost of healthcare will be $47 trillion in the next 15 years; and the biggest challenge will be for people like the slum dwellers...
“We are working on reducing the burden by eliminating the aspect of under-diagnosis, non-standardised treatment and poor prescription adherence,” adds Manish Ranjan.
The group is both humbled and excited by the thought of presenting their idea at the Clinton Global Initiative Summit. “While we were confident of clearing the regionals, we didn’t know what to expect because there were teams from all over the world. We were humbled when the judges picked us,” says Pranav.
The team will be going to Boston for a seven-week accelerator programme in July where they will receive mentorship and support.
“NanoHealth is based on a lot of assumptions, so till the date of the finals, we will be focusing on testing this theory. We will also be launching pilot projects. The details have not been finalised yet,” says Aditi Vaish.