Winning the TiE-Hyderabad International Start-Up finals that took place on December 15, ExBITS and Feel Good Innovation will now compete at the national level challenge in February, to have a shot at winning the $1.5 million grand prize, for the best, big idea. Christopher Isaac speaks to the teams.
What every rider needs
City commutes are always a nightmare during rush hour, and the state of Indian roads only makes it worse. But being stuck in traffic on a motorcycle for so long is exactly what led Feel Good Innovations founders — Samala Santosh Kumar, Viswanadh Malladi and Madhav Reddy —to create their motorcycle-seat add-on.
The device, which uses air bubbles as a cushion to minimise the effect of bumps and potholes on the spine, won the Investor Track award at the TiE event and the three National Institute of Technology, Surat, graduates couldn’t be any happier about it. “The bubbles are also interconnected, so if one is pressed, the air goes to another one,” says Santosh Kumar, explaining the working of their product, “So while you may feel numbness after riding for about 30 minutes on a regular seat, but with this seat, you can ride comfortably for about two or three hours.”
The idea was an amalgamation of thoughts from the three co-founders, of whom Vishwanadh is currently the only one working on the project full-time. Their “feel good” seat is currently in its prototyping phase and is being incubated at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.
Santosh adds that the seat will be market ready by early next year. “India’s biggest e-commerce giant has already shown interest in our product and has asked for a demo as well. So after our demo next month, that may be our first big order. So for us there’s also a big opportunity for us in the B2B market as well,” he says.
For a quicker diagnosis
When a team of academics come together to form a start-up, you know it’s bound to have a brilliant idea up its sleeve. So it’s no wonder that Excellence in Bio Innovations and Technologies’ (ExBITS) Right Biotic diagnostic kit promises to be a “disruptive” medical boon to the healthcare industry, being founded by a BITS Pilani — Hyderabad professor and two PhD research scholars: Dr Suman Kapur, Shivani Gupta and Anuradha Pal.
The device, which won the Student Track category, not just quickens the process of diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections but also makes it cheaper. Cutting down the process to about four hours, PhD researcher and ExBITS co-founder Shivani Gupta says, helps strengthen anti-bacterial immunity of the general public as well. “The device detects the presence of bacterial infections, and, then, determines the anti-biotic sensitivity,” she explains, adding, “Present-day tests do them manually and takes up to 48 hours for a report. In the meantime, doctors are sometimes forced to prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics, which may not be right for the patient. This practise increases anti-bacterial resistance, which is what we read about in the newspapers.”
Working on the device began as a research grant in 2013 at the institute’s Hyderabad campus — already being accepted as an incubate — but the idea formed way back in 2011, when Chair Prof/HOD in Biological Sciences Dr Suman Kapur thought it up.
“We know it’s truly disruptive and we know that most companies here would be hesitant to bring it out, because the only comparative technologies here are imported ones,” she says and adds that the device would help other developing nations too — “We’ve addressed many constraints with this technology — time, cost, user-friendliness and trained manpower. We hope that it fill a huge public health gap, not just in India but in countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, other South East Asian countries and African countries too.”