In Conversation with Gajanan Nagarsekar of Kallows

As the managing director for Kallows Engineering India Pvt. Ltd., Gajanan Nagarsekar works in the emerging field of advanced mobile health technology. The so called mHealth sector deals with providing diagnostic and public health support through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In doing so, Kallows focuses on developing inexpensive and innovative lifesaving technology. Their flagship product, the MobMon (Mobile Monitor), is a smartphone based device with a capability of streaming live diagnostic quality ECG, bpm and SpO2 to a phone or a tablet via Wi-fi/3G. MobMon has been making waves in the mobile healthcare industry, and has been awarded at the India Innovation Growth Program 2014, among other honors. After a stint with General Electric, Gajanan came back to his hometown Ponda to set up Kallows in 2007. We had a small chat with him about his venture and his journey as an entrepreneur. Here we share it for your benefit.

You were educated in Goa, Manipal and Milwaukee. Did you plan on being an entrepreneur at an early age, and how did your education help you in that decision?

?Yes I suppose Business was always on my mind but the channel set forward by my parents was academic i.e a career in academia. I did get some initial guidance from some senior gentlemen who told me to take up marketing but I never realised nor they explained WHY they think so? Hence I decided that since I am so good that people think I am a strong seller then the best thing for me to educate myself was technical so I went and got more technical degrees.

Technical education has 2 advantages:

  1. It gives you a confidence in what you can do, provided you have applied even 20% of it.
  2. It gives you a fallback option, lets say if I didn’t become an entrepreneur I would have definitely taught Engineering.

(a small stint at PCCE, and a full fledge course at UW Milwaukee for 3 semesters — had enough credentials)

Working at a prestigious company like General Electric must have been an interesting experience?

Awesome, lucky me I did not end up in a Software only system. We did work on a proprietary software but the work involved understanding MRI physics and its medical / image quality related constrictions e.g. you cannot run the machines Electrical Gradients to Highest peaks as that would result in heating the patients skin — something similar to a microwave. ?

What lessons did you learn and implement from the experience when you started up on your own?

Made every mistake in the book. May be a MBA / guidance from Mgmt profs would have been great.

Why the decision to start up in Goa, and not a more industry-friendly place like Pune or Bangalore?

Home advantage, and I do not mean fish curry n rice. Lower cost of operations, enough resources to run the business, didn’t have any great connections either in or out of Goa, so technically didn’t matter. Had to carve my way out and so did it.

What do you, as an industry expert, think about the future of Goa as a centre for entrepreneurial development?

Has great potential, requires solid FUNDS — well mentored but without too much pressure. In short ability to FAIL and then succeed is something we require from the Investor and Entrepreneur. In our country and state we require it more from the Investor point of view. Govt. needs to educate more on the facilities and avenues and funds available to the common man.

The flagship product of Kallows Inc., MobMon, has been making waves throughout the industry. Tell us more about the product.

The India Innovation Growth Program award changed our game. I think and understand that just having a great product is not enough, that is only 30% of the story, 70% is marketing and sales of the same in the entire world. That is one thing we Indians and Goans lack. Marketing!

The healthcare industry in India is growing at a fast pace, but there is still a long way to go. Your company vision states that medical care is a right for all humans. What steps do you think India should take in terms of research, development and execution to achieve the goal of free medical care for its citizens?

I would say FREE is a wrong word. So lets say that at least No Citizen across the various classes and masses we have, should be denied Healthcare Support for any disease/ailment if prescribed/diagnosed for, irrespective of the cost. RnD is there, but there is nothing beyond that. So RnD in Indian institutes if for publishing papers, not to make successful businesses or delivering a solution for the larger masses.

Govt. is a holy grail for this, there is not accountability and hence no need for them to initiate anything novel and new. So why worry Every month they get salary for pushing files and paper. Private industry and Govt. projects can work together but again only big MNCs can pull that due to the cost and connections required.

A start-up can go only a few miles in that direction, simply due to the simple fact that the Bureaucrat/politician/SYSTEM in a whole would not like to FAIL. And if you even prove to them that they failed and this time they won’t, it is more with the people who will use the system versus the one who approves it, e.g. Our machine was not touched when we put it in the Emergency at a Govt Hospital in Goa (sub-district) simply bcoz the junior doctors found it easy to sign a paper and route the patient to Hospicio/GMC in case of emergencies. We require serious discipline in our Healthcare Admin.

How do you envision the future for Kallows India?

Kallows India is definitely the fore runners of next generation Indian Medical Tech companies and we will collaborate with partners to move forward in the Global scene. Tulip is one big example from Goa which has made a mark in the healthcare space. ?

You can get in touch with Gajanan here, in case of further questions.

StartupGoa is an online community for startups and entrepreneurs in Goa.