Kazakh MedTech startup scales to the US, Italy and the UAE
A young neurosurgeon and founder of MedData.ai, Sheikhislam Sakhi, during his medical practice in hospitals in Kazakhstan, Italy, France and Germany, drew attention to the fact that the failure of digital systems to track the cause of the problem and complete remote monitoring negatively affects the quality of outpatient treatment for patients.
In 2019, together with a working group of doctors, he began developing indexes for the digital assessment of the condition of patients. Subsequently, he returned to Italy for training, where he became convinced of the need for the product and finalized the digital hospital management system.
MedData.ai solves the problems that exist in the digital and transparent management of the hospital and the improvement of the quality of patient care with the help of IT, namely with the help of artificial intelligence.
Established: September 2021
Current company valuation: $30 million
What is MedData's biggest achievement?
The team is growing dynamically, we distribute our product in Kazakhstan and have been able to attract customers in the US, Italy and the UAE. Both Kazakhstani venture funds and venture funds from near and far abroad are showing interest in us. We are currently negotiating with funds such as Startup Health, Ycombinator, Morgan Stanley Innovation Lab and Sequoia Capital.
As part of the Digital Bridge forum, we won in the “Discovery of the Year 2021” nomination. At the same time, we do not stop developing and are constantly working to improve the product. For example, now we are improving the functions of the system, we want to reach the level of full-fledged online management of our health so that the patient does not go unnoticed by doctors. We also automate the business processes of hospitals and medical services. We help doctors treat their patients more effectively and increase their rating based on work, not reviews, and managers to fully and transparently manage the clinic even from the phone.
Our product and constant progress is the achievement of our team. After all, when your product improves the quality of treatment and raises the quality standards of the medical institution, this entails a benefit to society.
What companies that solve the world's problems inspire you?
I am inspired by companies that create solutions for the digitalization of the city, the so-called “City Brain”. As well as technologies that provide decentralized healthcare. By the way, we are one of the 15 companies in the world that are developing decentralized healthcare and the first medtech product that has been introduced into the new Internet Web3.0
How can a startup quickly launch and scale their ideas? your advice.
At HealthTech, success depends on the value of the product, so scaling is therefore not an issue.
The most important thing in a startup is to identify the most important pain of users, to find a unique solution and the most important element that sets new standards in the field of application.
This is the very point of growth that will help to scale globally. With the help of our technology, any clinic in any country in the world can easily integrate the system into their enterprise.
By finding a growth point, setting new standards, solving user problems, you provide dynamic growth for a startup.
How did you start exporting to foreign countries?
As a result of the presentation to large foreign medical holdings, which manage hundreds of clinics, clients were convinced of our competitive advantage - in the flexibility of our clinic and treatment constructor, in the digital and transparent smart management of the hospital, in the patient and treatment tracker.
Based on our algorithms, we have made a product thanks to which a manager in a mobile and web application can manage clinics online. No one has yet fully implemented the full management of the clinic from a mobile application. The clinic manager wants to control all processes online, including all transactions and staff efficiency. We were able to reach such a level that the system itself analyzes business processes and sends recommendations to the manager to optimize the workflow.
And the most important thing is that patients want to protect their rights in receiving services in full. Our system is suitable for both the health insurance sector and the private sector. Usually, patients are limited to a paper form of treatment control, they are faced with the fact that they cannot track the dynamics of treatment, they cannot influence the situation when they are left without attention, and the doctor does not have time to monitor all his patients. Our system facilitates the work of the doctor, as well as the process of remote treatment of the patient. The patient manages his health from a smartphone.
The mobile application will soon be released to the public, now we are launching the product in several clinics in Kazakhstan, the USA, Italy and the UAE.
What part of the work in the implementation of a startup is the most time-consuming?
In our case, the most time-consuming is the creation of the product itself and the training of neural networks related to the protocols of treatment and hospital management. Technically, learning is about finding the coefficients of connections between neurons. In the learning process, the neural network is able to identify complex relationships between inputs and outputs, as well as perform generalization.
In general, there are 4 risks in startups: market risk, product risk, team risk and cash risk. We have closed the market risk because, as a result of product testing and hundreds of interviews with clinic managers, doctors and patients, we found that our product solves the most important problems and eliminates their causes. Therefore, we also closed the product risk. Team risk was closed by high-level specialists from different countries. So we have 13 developers from India, 5 medical experts from Kazakhstan, Italy and England. Advisors: Roberto D., chief medical examiner, ex-president of the European Association of Neurosurgeons. And the main team: CPO from the UAE - Islam M., and CPO from Kazakhstan - Yerbolat E., CTO from India - Rachit T. All that remains is the cash risk, which we covered by attracting investments from a business angel from Kazakhstan at a company valuation of $ 9 million. By Seed, we've grown to $30M, which was given to us by several VCs from the US.
In emerging markets, there is an important and growing importance of mobile applications. What are the mobile app development trends in 2022-2023, in your opinion?
Most likely there will be more superapps, you can build an ecosystem of several applications: then you can satisfy all the needs of the user, who does not need to leave the ecosystem.
We at MedData.ai are building an ecosystem, thanks to which the manager can manage the staff using only his smartphone, the doctor will be able to monitor the dynamics of the treatment of his patients, and the patient will be able to manage his treatment. Soon we will add insurance companies, medical equipment suppliers and inpatient services here.
What kind of development are you doing now?
We continue to train neural networks by digitizing treatment protocols and hospital management protocols. The clinic builder becomes more user-friendly so that the manager can set up all the business processes of his clinic in less than an hour. The treatment constructor will become automated, which will save the doctor's time filling in the data.
What difficulties do you face in implementing your ideas? The lack of what resources slows down the process of work? What failures did you have in the history of the startup?
Startups face development and sales challenges. We have no difficulties with the latter, but in the early stages of the project we lacked developers. There are few developers in Kazakhstan, especially Data experts. We managed to work with some teams at the MVP stage. But it wasn't what we needed.
When hunting for great developers, you need to consider what kind of product you are creating, in this case the product itself, the vision and the mission should motivate the developer. With the advent of recognition of our startup, so to speak in IT circles, I began to notice that more and more often I receive offers from development teams from different countries. As a result, 11 teams gathered, and I held a competition among them in the summer of 2021. During all 3 months, 11 teams completed tasks. As a result, we recruited a group of developers from India, at the moment we have 13 developers.
What lifehacks can you share that helped you organize your work effectively during the pandemic?
The pandemic has led the startup market to overinvestment and heightened focus on HealthTech startups. And the tools that are used now for online communication and team management existed before.
It is impossible to be limited by the place, mission and goals. The team must be assembled from the best, regardless of where you live: during the pandemic, everyone realized that you can assemble a team from completely different countries. The mission must be precise and large-scale. And the goals should be global, broken down into micro-goals and tasks.
And most importantly: the key success factor of a startup is not in a cool idea, but in execution.
What are your plans for the near future in IT?
We are definitely striving for the digitalization of management in other areas, but now the focus is on medicine, because this is the most important area of life.