We all say “prevention is better than cure” but what when it comes to our health, we all ignore it! And what if it’s detected too late? Ah worried! This is where Ecosense, innovated by Module Innovation, comes into the picture.
Every year on an average 8.5 million people is infected by Urinary tract infections. 760000 children die of diarrhea, due to expensive and delayed diagnosis. To tackle this menace, it is imperative to build a solution that is rapid enough to give quick results as well as cheap enough to be used by common man in developing countries like India. The module has thus come up with its proprietary strip called Ecosense which is based on a platform technology. Ecosense can detect bacterial presence in 30 minutes with colorimetric readouts. It will be easy to use just like a pregnancy strip. This strip will bring down the diagnostic time from 3 days to 30 minutes. Its speed of detection, coupled with affordability and simplicity makes it stand out of the competition.
How did the idea originate behind Ecosense?
The idea for Module was conceived when Sachin and Usman were doing their M.Tech internships at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Back in 2012 they presented their idea at ABLE-BEST a national B.Plan competition and received a second prize of Rs 3 lacs. This was a big boost to the entrepreneurial endeavor of these young people. They then received Rs 5 lakh from NCL, Pune to further continue their research. A patent was filed and a company, Module Innovations, was set up to realize the idea. The company was officially registered on 3rd June 2014 and received a funding of Rs 5 million under the Biotechnology Ignition Grant scheme of the Government of India. The company operates with a small team of 3 people at present with a strong scientific advisory team.
Birth of Module Innovations
The idea originated when Sachin went to get a diagnostic test done at a pathology lab in Pune. It wasn’t just the high cost that worried him, but also the time it took for the report was too long (2-3 days generally for the culture test done). Moreover, the test needed a dedicated lab and trained technicians who were scarce in the rural settings rest aside urban scenarios. It was back in 2012 when he was working on a project with Dr. Jyoti Jog at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune that they thought their technology could be of use for making affordable and rapid diagnostic strips. Sachin, Usman, and Dr. Jog then began to work on an idea that ultimately yielded a solution to this burgeoning problem especially for a developing country like ours.
Module Innovation, Journey so far
The lab to the market story is still in the making, but the journey so far seems very interesting. While still an idea the company has conducted a lot of surveying with hospitals, doctors and pathology labs in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The feedback received has been overwhelming and very positive for Module Innovations.
“It was good enough to pursue the research and the story began with winning a runners-up prize at ABLE-BEST 2012. The team was given a prize of Rs 3 lakh which helped kick start the formation of a company. We then came to NCL for incubation at Venture Centre and were offered Rs 5 lakh grant from them to test our idea for feasibility. We were then able to raise Rs 5 million funds from BIRAC to build a prototype. We have been conducting a number of market analysis and are hopeful the product with features unlike any other will make a dent when it hits the market. We were also approached by investors from Sequoia and IAN for a possible future funding”, said Sachin Dubey, founder and CEO of Module Innovation.
“Module has also won awards at the international level that includes Governors Giant Vision award in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. The module also has a US branch as Module Innovations, LLC registered in Rapid City, USA. Thus the story is still in the making but we believe the story so far would be interesting enough to be read by many”, says Usman Khan, co-founder of Module Innovations.
Competition against Module Innovations
In this fast moving tech-driven the world, this technology company is operating in the medical diagnostic space. The technology is a culmination of biotechnology and nanotechnology which is, undoubtedly, proven as a no-lose business when there is the target audience like -Hospitals, Pathology Labs and Individuals testing for Urinary tract infection already established their roots into the health care sector.
Module Innovations feels that Indian investment industry is more focused on app/e-commerce/IT based businesses. It gets significantly difficult to raise capital for a biotechnology company like theirs.
The support from the government especially BIRAC has been good. Sustaining the initial years of the company without capital was tough and without salary as individuals were even tougher. For some members, it was even difficult to explain their parent about their zero salary work while their friends were making lakh per month. But the passion for the product and the impact it could have on the market surpassed every negativity.
Module Innovations’ competitors
It’s the techniques that are our competitors and not any companies per se. The method of culture that is used the world over to detect bacterial infection seems to be a competitor. It is difficult to change the mindset of people when a new technology is introduced.
Strategies to expand customer base:
Module Innovation is still in prototype development stage and will follow a B2B model of sales targeting the organized diagnostic and hospital chains initially for the first 2 years of sale.
“Make in India” dream will come true for Ecosense in few years:
The next few years will see the advent of a new company making affordable diagnostic devices that can truly be called a common men’s. With a vision of “Make in India,” we see that the prototypes be ready by the end of this year, tested and validated to hit the market. In the next few years, Module Innovations plans to raise Series A, and Series B level of funding and expand the sales to a pan-India level. Soon after we believe that we will be able to make our mark in the US and European countries with strongly validated results and market alike.
The module is built upon a culture of freedom and independence with a moto “employees first”. Though we are still very young with an active team of 3 members but everyone has a say in the decisions. Sachin serves as CEO of the company, Usman as COO and Anuj as research Assistant.
Module Innovations culture
The module does not follow a hierarchy style per se. Everyone has respect for each other’s view and good suggestions are always welcome. Age is not a blockage to join Module and we encourage young and passionate people with a vision to take technology to masses to be a part of the team. Every day the team sits for a coffee table discussion to discuss new ideas, problems and how we can innovate more. Innovation is at the core of Module. The module is housed in Venture Centre, a technology business incubator of NCL. Employees enjoy flexible working hours with a vision to deliver results rather than hours. We are very much inspired by companies like apple to create a work space that promotes people to think more and innovate more. We believe that only with Innovation, evolution is possible.Hierarchy-less but team players as the team does not believe in the hierarchy but for the sake of Society.