Founder Stories Vol 06. with Santosh Kaur of SmartHeal

Published on
December 12, 2022
Contributors
Olga Bubnova
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Dr Santosh Kaur, the Founder of SmartHeal and the winner of October’s Silicon Beach LivePitch Night, joined David Hauser for a chat and shared her exciting startup journey.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself; When did you come to Australia? How did your career journey lead you to your start-up?

 

I was born in India, and I came to Australia in 2009.

I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare. All my aunties and uncles have worked in hospitals. And I knew I wanted to be in health when grandfather had cancer; Doing my school and my exams and then going to meet him at the hospital… So it was very a lot of exposure to the sector.

I went on and studied to be a doctor. I had my practice in India, and it was a very good time. Then I realized, I wanted to go overseas; I want to go to the UK, but I ended up living in Australia.

 

So, you already were a doctor before you came to Australia?

 

Yes. I got my degree in India, and it took six and a half years. But when I came to Australia, I decided to be a nurse because I did not need to do the whole studying again.

I worked in hospitals, aged care facilities, and private and public practices, but ended up choosing aged care as my speciality. I also have a personal connection to wounds. When I was growing up, my nan had a wound on her spine. I remember how my uncle would dress her.

 

I also worked in the aged care quality and safety commission. I started as a registered clinician. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we were so short of nurses and the commission had to pivot. We ended up doing infection control monitoring visits. That interesting journey led me to start SmartHeal.

 

That amazing. You've been through so many stages in the healthcare sector, and you discovered this problem everywhere you went. And that's how you came up with the idea?

Please explain to us a little bit more about SmartHeal; what is it?

 

If you had a wound, regardless of which country you are in, what healthcare setting you are in, or whether you're in the hospital, aged care, NDIS, the way we provide wound care is very manual. If I have to measure your wounds, I will have a paper ruler. If I have to measure the depth, I put a dipstick into your wound. That's how we measure. And even how I keep track of that wound data is very manual.

There are a few main challenges; your privacy, your records privacy and the dressing process itself.

With SmartHeal, we automate the wound measurements. We allow you to do an aspect of telehealth for wound care. SmartHeal will assist you in making those dressing choices, which will be informed choices backed by research.

 

 

Is it purely created for professionals, or is there an end-user application as well?

 

It is not something you can download for your Android or iPhone. At the moment, it's an enterprise account with a B2B link. Next year, we will start a trial with the caregivers of the people who have wounds, for example, in remote and rural areas. They can take photos and send them to the wound consultants.

Eventually, we will launch it for B2C, for the end users. In Australia, if you have a spider bite and you don't want to go to your GP, you can take those photos. download the SmartHeal app, and then your GP can have access through their SmartHeal app to your pictures.

 

Is SmartHeal your first start-up?

 

I'm not sure if I would say it's my first start-up. My father has always been in business, he has never held a job. We've had an electronic shop. From a very young age, that's all I've seen is how you earn money by doing business. I also had a couple of my own. However, I had an interest in becoming a healthcare professional.

SmartHeal is more than a business or more than a start-up. I did not know what the startup world is. It was just a problem I was passionate about. I started asking: why don’t we do things in healthcare better when we have so much tech around? I think that was the question I was trying to answer. As a clinical entrepreneur, I did not know what I was doing. But it was just a problem I was trying to solve.

I would not have been where I am if it hasn’t been for the people who have come to help me for nothing in return. It is amazing how we've built a community around us. David, you and Silicon Beach gave us the opportunity, too.

People always ask me: “What do you get out of pitch nights?” It's always the community and the networking! One thing leads to another and that's something I didn’t know from other networking events.

 

What's coming next for you? What is on your roadmap for the next 3-12 months?

 

We've been accepted in a CEP program, which is an Australian clinical entrepreneurship 12-month program. There were 160 applicants, selected from all over Australia. It will take us through a lot of networking. The agenda of the program is to make sure that companies have the best shot.

As for the product, we launched last month. The goal we had was to have 10 customers by March 2023. However, we have already got five signed agreements.

We are also planning to have some partnerships out of the offset program.

In 12 months, we definitely would be wanting to go to the US to see how things are there because we are in conversation with some people from there.

We're doing interviews; We were interviewed by the Australian Health Journal while we were in Sydney. We're also going to do a piece with the Nudge Group in February and then another piece in November.

 

Is there anything that the community can help you with?

 

We are far from perfect, there's so much help we need. We need wound photos for developing further our AI model for SmartHeal.

We'll be opening a crowdfunding platform in January and then you can contribute and you can become an angel investor. However, we have a limit of five angels, and we have two committed already.

We're also doing the seed round. If you're a VC and interested in learning more about us, or are keen to invest in us, please chat with us.

We are looking into serving underprivileged countries such as India, Pakistan, and Rwanda and seeking for contacts who can help us in this matter.

We are also gaining more and more customers and NDIS wound consultants, but we have not gotten to everybody yet. So, if you have NDIS contacts if you have HK contacts, if you work in aged care NDIS, and if you'd like to trial SmartHeal, please get in touch with us.

In addition, if there's anyone who thinks they can get something from us, or we can add value to their projects, please reach out.

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