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In Conversation With Aayush Rai, Co-founder Of Inito

May 31, 2020

Here are the excerpts from a talk with Aayush Rai, an alumnus of IIT Roorkee (2012), and the co-founder of Inito, the world’s first at home diagnostic device. Inito has been revolutionizing the Health Tech sector by introducing diagnostic tests on fertility, diabetes, high cholesterol and more on a single device connected to a smartphone. We joined him over Google Hangouts during this quarantine to get insightful knowledge from the world of tech, startups and YCombinator(Inito was selected for the YC as well!).

Watch Out!- What are the specific memories that strike you on reminiscing Roorkee? If you had to classify yourself according to Roorkee lingo, where would you place yourself?

Aayush- I was a people’s person back in college. In my first year, I was In Watch Out! I was very much into tech, and I was one of the founding members of Robocon. I also served as the secretary of the Electronics section in the Hobbies Club. All my memories of Roorkee are related to people. I rarely went to classes and to be honest I hardly have any memories related to classrooms! Looking back at those days, I had a close group of friends and an extended gang, as I believe is the case with most of us. And I had a very diverse set of friends as well, all of them now pursuing careers in different fields like administration, management, technology and politics.

Watch Out!- Have you been to Roorkee recently? What was the biggest change that you observed?

Aayush- Yes, I went to Roorkee for placements last year. I wasn’t there for a long time, just over a day. I observed a lot of changes, but the most striking change I saw was the frantic activity student cells are involved in. ‘Pehle Roorkee mein sarkari tareeke se kaam hota tha’, but now I found the aggression among students’ cells to get things done,it is very encouraging. I found the students of the placement cell very active, wanting to get things done.

Watch Out!- Were there any specific activities you did in college keeping in mind you wanted to start your own venture?

Aayush- I can’t say that I did things in college keeping in mind that I wished to do a startup. One thing that I was sure of was that I will be doing something in tech. So I took a job that allowed me to innovate in tech.

Watch Out!- What persuaded you to leave your job at Siemens technology and start your journey with Inito?

Aayush- It wasn’t like I woke up one day and said aaj se start up karna hai. At that point I just realised that Inito was something that I wanted to work on. Office became a burden for me at that point of time. I just knew that I had to work on this idea full time and I had no time to go to the office.

Watch Out!- Inito has been a part of the YC winter school. How was the journey, the experience?

Aayush- We didn’t go to YC for funding. We were already well funded by the time we applied for YC. What the winter school did teach us was how to scale our startup. They had us think in a more aggressive way on how to build our business from a global perspective.

Watch Out!- Why did you start a startup particularly in the medical field? What part of the healthcare sector acts as the greatest potential untapped market yet? Were there any trepidations in migrating from engineering to a new domain?

Aayush- To answer your question, let me tell you about the products that we build at Inito. We combine software and hardware yoake medical devices on which you can take your medical tests yourself. Also, the different thing about our products is that we allow multiple tests from the same device. Currently you have different devices for measuring your BP, or your blood sugar but we combine that in one single device.

The Healthcare system is currently geared towards one time testing. Now, we’re building products that’ll allow you to test yourself regularly, thereby making every home a diagnostic lab. Thus 85 percent of doctor visits can be simply handled by our machines. And thus doctors can apply their acumen to 15 percentage of the critical cases that actually require their attention. This is a win win situation, since the world is so short on doctors as the current pandemic has shown us.

Now I believe that Healthcare will be one sector that will receive more attention, considering the current pandemic. People building medical devices will be incentivised to make devices for testing.

Apart from that, the entire infrastructure of India will be digitised. For example, we today have shifted the banking system online. Similar revolutions will come in the field of other essential sectors, like health care, education.

Watch Out!- What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as a startup co-founder?

Aayush- As a startup founder I knew that my strengths lay in technology and management. At the beginning we did not know much about funding and other stuff related to startups. so understanding the entire startup ecosystem was one big challenge. The greatest challenge that I think we faced was team building. We were starting a long-term business, and team building was the most crucial part of it. Even then it was easy to convince other people to join our startup since most of our team is from Roorkee itself.

Watch Out!- How do you think the startup ecosystem has changed since when you first started?

Aayush- When I started my own venture startups were a relatively new thing in India. I did not know much about startups. But today India has seen a full cycle of startups. By that I mean that many startups started , got funded, some failed and some became successful.

Now bolder ideas can be seen persisting and thriving in the Indian market.

Watch Out!- What is your message to the young entrepreneurs out there?

Aayush- When I interviewed students for campus placements this year, I found that there were two kinds of students. One category were the students who were very bookish. They had sound theoretical knowledge but lacked project experiences. The other faction was the group of students who had a lot of hands on experience, but they lacked depth in understanding.

My advice to entrepreneurs or students out there is to have both. Have some hands on experience as well as sound technical knowledge of concepts.