Paul Basil | September 8, 2015

Why #hack2incubate at CAMTech’s Diabetes Hackathon

The excitement for the upcoming CAMTech Diabetes Hackathon is already growing at Villgro, even though the event is over one month away.

Why are we so excited to be part of this event?

First of all, diabetes is a huge problem in India, with 32 million people already diagnosed with the disease, and it is anticipated to grow rapidly in the coming decade, making it one of the most urgent healthcare areas in the country. Because of the chronic nature of the disease, there are many areas for improvement from prevention to diagnosis to treatment that are prime entrepreneurial opportunities.

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We know that the Hackathon is a great launch pad for entrepreneurs who want to improve outcomes for the base of the pyramid, impacting millions of lives and growing scalable and innovative companies while they do it.

Why hackathons?
At first glance it seems counterintuitive that the foundations for game-changing medical technologies that Villgro can incubate can be laid in the 48 hours of a weekend-long hackathon, and at first I was skeptical of the ability of these events to accomplish much of value. After all, we aren’t talking about putting together a bit of computer code in an effort to spawn the latest trending food ordering app in Bangalore, we’re talking about potentially cutting-edge medical technology. I’m happy to say that I’ve been proven wrong by the results of previous CAMTech Hackathons, which have produced some really interesting innovations, and some of them are even making their way to the market.

When you dig beneath the surface, it actually makes perfect sense, because the biggest issue we see with many entrepreneurs who approach Villgro for funding is a poor understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, which leads them to developing a solution that doesn’t solve the real problem faced in clinical practice. The CAMTech team does a great job of curating really well-defined problem statements from clinical experts in the field before the event, which is a great first step. They then make sure that there are numerous experts present throughout the hackathon to help teams make sure their understanding of the problem statements is complete.

Through the input of these mentors and other participants, teams are challenged to understand the problem really well, and then design a solution that really solves that problem, which actually builds a great launch pad for a successful product; it is then Villgro’s and Marico Innovations Foundation’s goal to help teams make the most of platform.

What do the hackathon teams get?
Villgro and Marico Innovations Foundation have teamed up to offer post hackathon support to the best teams who make a commitment to taking their ideas forward full time. Teams that apply for the CAMTech 30 Day Progress awards will be evaluated simultaneously for incubation support from Villgro. This will begin by offering 4-6 teams regular mentoring calls with Villgro’s incubation team. Those teams that fit with Villgro and MIF’s criteria and continue to make good progress will undergo a detailed evaluation process and the best teams will be offered one year of full Villgro incubation support, and Rs 20 lakh of milestone-based funding from Villgro.

Villgro’s incubation support will help these budding entrepreneurs continue to hone their customer understanding, product development strategy and go-to-market strategy. These entrepreneurs will also have access to Villgro’s pool of experienced and enthusiastic mentors to guide them along their entrepreneurial journey. Those entrepreneurs who continue to make progress through this year will be able to unlock further funding from Villgro (up to a total of Rs. 50 lakh) and continued incubation support for a total of 2-4 years.

All of this support is being offered with the goal of helping ideas that are spawned at CAMTech hackathons grow into successful medical technology companies focused on improving healthcare for people in India (and around the world) living at the BoP. We think that with a little help, these caffeine-fueled ideas can change the world for the better and we’re excited to be a part of the journey!

The CAMTech Diabetes Innovation Hackathon will be held on October 10-11, 2015, at ISB, Hyderabad. Apply here to participate

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