ACT For Health renews its support to Periwinkle Technologies

Cervical cancer is a critical public health issue in India, which has one of the world’s highest incidence rates and ranking as the second-most common cancer affecting women in the country. It leads to over 67,000 deaths annually, claiming a woman’s life every 8 minutes. Limited access to screening, a shortage of healthcare resources, and a lack of awareness regarding preventive measures, particularly among women from marginalised communities, are some of the factors leading to this alarming situation.

Recognising the urgency of addressing this issue, ACT For Health has been supporting Periwinkle Technologies, a medtech startup that is on a mission to make India cervical cancer-free. Their innovative solution, the Smart Scope® CX, is an AI-powered handheld point-of-care digital device that enables health workers to detect cervical cancer at an early stage. This device serves as a single-visit alternative to traditional methods like pap smear and colposcopy, which are fraught with issues such as high dependence on trained professionals, cost-intensive infrastructure requirements, and lengthy turnaround times.

In stark contrast, the Smart Scope® CX efficiently captures images of the cervix and eliminates the need for electricity, space, or additional infrastructure. Its built-in AI component analyses these images to deliver results within 10-15 minutes and significantly reduces the dependence on trained professionals. The device can be easily used by healthcare workers at the last mile and allows for remote triaging of the results by experts. The Smart Scope® CX enables early detection of cervical cancer, reducing the morbidity and high mortality caused by late-stage diagnosis and propels significant technological advancements in addressing critical gaps in public health systems.

Over the last year, Periwinkle has demonstrated the efficacy of its solution by successfully screening over 1500 women in Chattisgarh. These early pilots helped validate the effectiveness of Periwinkle’s solution and provided learnings on how this can be deployed in public health settings.

ACT For Health is excited to renew its support for Periwinkle through a follow-on scale-up grant. The aim is to build on the learnings from earlier pilots by conducting on-ground cervical cancer screening in Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across both rural and urban settings across multiple states in India. The objective is to showcase the benefits of using Periwinkle’s Smart Scope® CX device in public health settings, esp. PHCs, and achieve scalability within the public health system. This grant will play a pivotal role in expanding Periwinkle’s deployments in Maharashtra, Manipur, and Jharkhand in collaboration with ACT For Health’s implementation partners to unlock state-wide takeup within the public health system.

Bridging the healthcare divide: How technology is bringing a ray of hope in rural India

In the most remote areas of rural India, affordable and accessible healthcare continues to be a challenge for underserved populations even today. With proper hospitals often located several kilometres away, the significance of timely diagnosis cannot be overstated. This critical aspect came sharply into focus through the stories that recently emerged from MAHAN Trust – an NGO serving tribal communities in the Melghat region of Maharashtra and catering to their healthcare needs.

When 27-year old Geeta* from Dharni village found herself battling tuberculosis for a third time, her very life hung in the balance. She had discontinued her TB treatment twice before, as travelling to the nearest hospital for regular check-ups would have meant forgoing daily wages. Due to this, Geeta was already vulnerable to a multidrug-resistant form tuberculosis (MDR-TB) when the disease struck again. This time, it spread to the rest of her body, led to multiple organ failure and she eventually slipped into a coma.

Geeta hasn’t been the only one in such a predicament. With 70% of the region’s mortality rate attributed to treatable infections such as TB, Melghat has long been deprived of high-quality diagnostic facilities that accurately detect infections and enable PHC doctors to effectively prescribe timely treatment. Caregivers bear the responsibility of submitting test samples to the nearest pathology lab in Amravati – a journey that takes 4-5 hours – and the subsequent waiting period to secure reports frequently results in delayed or, tragically, no treatment at all, eventually leading to the loss of lives in critical cases.

Recognising this as a significant challenge, the MAHAN Trust team collaborated with Medprime Technologies in early 2023 through the ACT Implementers Network, which aims to bring private innovations to public healthcare. Medprime’s digital microscopy solution allows pathologists to remotely analyse test reports for patients living in low-resourced areas, eliminating the hassle of transporting or storing the sample slides. Soon, the MAHAN Trust team began using the telepathology devices at the local PHC’s to begin addressing the issue.

It was this advanced diagnostic capability that helped the doctors diagnose and treat Geeta’s condition without the need for her to travel to a hospital, which has ensured the woman’s survival against all odds.

In another instance, Nandini* found herself in MAHAN Trust’s ICU in a coma due to cerebral malaria. Medprime’s solution facilitated a conclusive and accurate diagnosis that helped doctors prescribe the correct treatment. Despite facing their own economic challenges, the local community rallied together to support Nandini, showcasing the strength of solidarity in times of crisis. With their help and the support of donors, the medical team ensured she received treatment free of cost and came out of coma. Her remarkable recovery, just in time for Diwali, became a symbol of hope for the entire community.

These stories of success are just a few of the many that MAHAN Trust has brought to the fore – telepathology has enabled the team to detect multiple cases of malaria, tuberculosis, and even suspected leukaemia in the region in a timely fashion – thus saving lives while reducing the cost burden on the patients themselves. They underscore the transformative potential of technology and innovation and we’re proud to see the transformative impact it is slowly starting to create!

*Names changed to protect patient privacy

Neurosynaptic joins the ACT For Health portfolio

In the ever evolving quest to provide quality healthcare services to rural populations, the emergence of tele-medicine has ushered in a new era of healthcare delivery. With just an internet connection, individuals can now access doctors and receive consultations from the comfort of their homes. This technological leap has been a game-changer for remote and rural communities that have historically struggled to access medical professionals. eSanjeevani, a government-supported tele-medicine platform has become a household name post the pandemic, facilitating millions of consultations to date.

However, in its current form, tele-medicine comes with its own set of limitations. Often, it falls short as remote doctors lack real-time patient information such as vitals and test results. This information gap can result in significant challenges in follow-up care. Doctors often rely on auxiliary healthcare workers like ANMs/GNMs to gather basic diagnostic data. Even when these data are available, issues like manual errors and data sharing with remote doctors burden frontline health workers, thus limiting the current utility of such platforms. Furthermore, a staggering 70% of patients seeking care at primary health clinics require diagnostic tests for the doctors to make informed treatment decisions. However, even the most basic, high-quality diagnostic tests are not often readily available at many PHCs. Nearly one-third of these centres lack the diagnostic facilities altogether and among those who do, the availability of tests is often limited, and supply chain issues lead to frequent downtimes. As a result, patients are forced to turn to private labs, causing delays and higher out-of-pocket expenses.

To address these challenges and ensure access to quality healthcare services for rural populations while reducing manual errors and ensuring continuity of care, there is a pressing need to strengthen tele-medicine offerings at PHCs. This requires a system where digitization and data logging happen seamlessly, facilitating the flow of data between healthcare providers and users.

Neurosynaptic is a digital health technology company focused on improving primary care at the last mile through integrated primary care models. Founded by an alumnus of IISc and incubated at IIT Madras, their ReMeDi® kit offers comprehensive coverage of the diagnostic tests required at the primary care level, including Maternal & Child Health (MCH), Communicable Diseases (CDs), and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Additionally, their team brings decades of experience in tele-medicine and integrated diagnostics solutions.

Our grant aims to pilot the integration of the ReMeDi® diagnostics kit with the eSanjeevani platform across PHCs in 2 districts. Our hypothesis is that it will increase the utilisation of the eSanjeevani platform and enhance access to essential tests at the last mile care, thereby improving overall health outcomes. This collaboration will also enable them to understand the key strengths and pain points of the eSanjeevani workflow and get strong data evidence to enable their adoption at scale in HWCs across multiple states.

Dvara Health Finance joins the ACT For Health collective

Across urban and rural adult populations in India, there is a substantial prevalence of health concerns such as diabetes, prediabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. While a national program for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) has been rolled out nationwide, it faces challenges stemming from inadequate funding and staffing. Despite the presence of 1.2 lakh Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) and 25,000 Primary Health Centers (PHCs) serving 72% of the rural population, a quarter of these facilities lack sufficient care providers, leaving space for informal providers to fill the gap. Additionally, a shortage of specialist doctors in around 85% of Community Health Centers (CHCs) exacerbates the situation. Furthermore, while approximately 70% of the population is covered by public or private health insurance, Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) remains notably high at nearly 50%, driving an estimated 6 crore Indians into poverty annually.

To address these pressing challenges, a multi-pronged approach is required, blending innovation in both healthcare and financial products. A key strategy involves leveraging CHWs empowered by a protocolized tech platform, thus enabling scalability and effectiveness. The transition from Fee-for-Service to Fee-for-Value models serves to place user needs at the forefront, emphasising preventive care. To that end, ACT For Health has welcomed Dvara Health Finance to its portfolio, with the shared objective of addressing critical gaps within the primary care continuum. The grant seeks to transition from the prevailing fee-for-service model to a more effective fee-for-value model, facilitated by the utilisation of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and technology at scale.

ACT and Dvara’s NEEM program presents a distinctive combination of health and finance offerings to tackle the above-mentioned issues. The success of initial pilots in Maharashtra, spanning over 6 months and covering 1,000+ families, underscores the urgency of this initiative and through our collaboration, the aim is to increase the reach to 10,000 families.

This collaboration will also include an experiment with returnable grants, where grant funds circulate for a specified period, aligned with mutually agreed-upon goals. The expectation from this collaboration is that it will reshape the landscape of primary health care delivery, paving the way for enhanced accessibility, improved outcomes, and financial resilience!

ACT For Health welcomes C3 Medtech to its portfolio

India faces a daunting healthcare challenge with an estimated 270 million people experiencing vision loss. Among them, 9.2 million individuals are burdened with irreversible blindness and shockingly, 90% of these cases are preventable. The lack of access to quality eye care, especially in rural areas, has exacerbated this crisis, leaving millions without the opportunity to see the world around them. This has huge implications on quality of life and the overall economy of the country.

We strongly believe that there is a pressing need for Point-of-Care (PoC) devices in peripheral settings that can be easily operated by any frontline health worker with minimal training. That’s why we have decided to support C3 Medtech’s eye screening solutions to help bridge the gap on quality ophthalmology care for underserved communities and facilitate wider adoption of the solution in primary care settings. C3 Medtech’s solution plays a crucial role in the early screening of conditions such as cataract, corneal opacity, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, which are the major causes of blindness in India. By doing so, it significantly contributes to the fight against preventable blindness.

Traditionally, both slit lamps (used for anterior eye inspection) and fundus devices (used for retinal examination) have been bulky and expensive, requiring trained ophthalmologists to operate. However, C3 Medtech has developed a portable slit lamp and a fundus imaging device, which are powerful eye screening solutions that empower primary care settings to conduct efficient screenings, facilitating early detection and timely treatment for various eye conditions. The best part is that these innovative devices can be easily attached to smartphones, allowing healthcare providers to capture high-quality eye images and receive remote consultations from qualified ophthalmologists.

They are simple to operate with minimal training, making them ideal for use in primary care settings in remote regions. They effectively address the challenges faced in reaching underserved communities and offer a cost-effective solution for resource-constrained environments, where access to advanced eye care technology has historically been limited.

ACT For Health will support the deployment of 30 sets of C3 Medtech eye screening devices within our implementation partner network and charitable institutes operating in low resource settings. Our support will help them in getting real life market feedback and pathways to scale in peripheral settings and we’re excited to collaborate with them on enabling better access to quality yet affordable ophthalmology care!

ACT For Health brings Adagio VR on board in collaboration with MITR Trust

In India, research indicates that almost 50% of the prevalence of mental disorders are observed in transgender communities and that there is a visible reluctance to access support due to the real as well as perceived inaccessibility and stigma. In fact, transgender people face a 4x higher risk of mental illness along with unhealthy coping mechanisms due to:

• Stigmatization, oppression, cis-sexism, discrimination, violence, poverty as well as issues such as gender dysphoria and trauma
• Lack of spaces that are sensitive to the needs of the community
There’s a clear need for comprehensive and targeted mental health support for trans communities that is effective, preventative, private, and accessible.

ACT For Health has partnered with MITR Trust to support Adagio VR in delivering a 4-week program for the LGBTQI+ community in India. Adagio VR, an innovative startup co-founded by a British psychiatrist and a serial entrepreneur, offers a preventive wellbeing and behavioural change solution that leverages Virtual Reality (VR) to create impact. The program integrates this technology with cutting-edge clinical techniques, with a 97% success rate in addressing issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, and more. With researchers from renowned institutions like Cambridge University, PGI Chandigarh, and the London School of Economics, the solution’s design is backed by expertise and empirical evidence.

Adagio’s users are able to identify and overcome the root cognitive processes that create stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, psychological addiction, sleep issues etc. quicker and more effectively than any other non-clinical intervention in the world. With immediate relief in the first 30-minute session, there is observed systematic transformation in just 4 weeks of regular use. Delivered in Virtual Reality, the user experience is powerfully immersive, uniquely private (does not require users to disclose the details of the issue they are experiencing) and highly engaging.

Our grant will impact 70 individuals, with an additional 70 acting as a control group for research. Participants will be those dealing with distress, mild-moderate trauma, and chronic issues, excluding severe mental illnesses. A community member will be recruited to ensure program delivery is rooted in lived experience, trust, and empowerment. Beneficiaries will receive specialist consultations, VR program tests, educational workshops, access to VR programs, self-led and community exercises, and online support if needed. This research aims to help Adagio VR in establishing clear outcomes for the program to enable scalability in the future.

Overall, this collaboration hopes to bridge the gap in mental health support for transgender communities in India. By leveraging VR technology and expertise, the program strives to provide effective and accessible solutions that address the root causes of distress and disorders resulting from successive trauma.

ACT Implementers Network: Bringing private innovations to public healthcare

In September 2022, ACT For Health conducted a Needs Assessment study with medical professionals to understand their perspective on the healthcare innovations landscape. This study helped us identify and understand the broad categories of challenges faced by healthcare providers and assess where technology-based innovation can potentially play a role in improving healthcare delivery systems. A key insight that emerged for us was that the most critical need is to strengthen primary care centres with high-quality screening and diagnostic facilities along and to build the capacity of general physicians. This is how the idea of the ACT Implementers Network was born.

With 13 partners on board – eGov Foundation, Transforming Rural India Foundation, CureBay, Last Mile Care, Ambuja Cement Foundation, Mahan Trust, iKure, Karuna Trust, Parinaam Foundation, Swasti, Dvara Health Finance, FPAI & Clinikk – the network aims to strengthen the healthcare ecosystem by matching the tech needs of such social enterprises working among underserved communities with ACT supported innovations and launching pilot projects to address identified need gaps. Such pilots are co-designed with our partners based on their needs and our goal is to demonstrate evidence-based deployment models which can be further contextualised by other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.

An example of such a pilot is the one we catalysed between ACT For Health grantee Medprime Technologies and Mahan Trust – an NGO that works in the remote Melghat district of rural Maharashtra and serves the tribal communities in the area. With 70% of the region’s mortality rate attributed to treatable infections, a key challenge that emerged was the lack of trained microscopy technicians who could enable timely diagnosis.

“Currently, local lab technicians can only prepare the sample slides, which have to be transported to a pathology lab 4 hours away in Amravati. In fact, even the onus of transporting the slides is on the patients themselves – which often results in them refusing to go because of the costs involved. Even if they do go, it takes 4-5 days for results to come in – which often delays timely diagnosis. So more often than not, patients are treated on the basis of their symptoms which may not be accurate,” says Dr. Ashish Satav, Founder – Mahan Trust.

The Mahan Trust team leveraged the ACT Implementers Network to collaborate with Medprime, who is piloting Cilika – a digital microscopy solution that allows pathologists to remotely analyse test reports for patients living in low-resourced areas without the hassle of transporting or storing the sample slides. Ever since the introduction of the Cilika device in February 2023, physical samples are no longer needed to be sent to Amravati and they are able to get 5 samples a day, which are diagnosed by the pathologist remotely from Amravati.

“Thanks to ACT providing Cilika to us free of cost, we’re able to diagnose many poor tribal patients who would otherwise have received empirical therapy. This will improve patient management and reduce morbidity and mortality. Its successful implementation in MAHAN Trust will also help develop replicable models in other tribal areas of India.” Dr. Ashish concludes.
A similar pilot that we are currently running is with the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Bidar to establish their women’s cancer detection centre. ACT For Health matched their needs with Niramai and Periwinkle from its portfolio – Niramai’s affordable breast cancer screening device is portable, radiation free and non-invasive while Periwinkle’s AI-led Smartscope solution helps detect cervical cancer without the need for electricity and can be used by healthcare workers without extensive training.

Since the inauguration of the cancer detection centre in early May 2023, the FPAI team has been able to screen more than a hundred women for cervical cancer within their first month, and are slowly starting to screen for breast cancer as well.

As we explore more pilot engagements with other partners in our Implementers Network, an important learning for us has been the need to develop robust M&E frameworks and mechanisms to help measure the success of each such intervention. Simultaneously, we are also trying to engage with state governments to introduce such innovations in the public health system at scale.

Our hope is to create scalable models of interventions that use the power of technology and collaboration to improve health outcomes in our country.

If you’re a grassroots public healthcare organisation who could benefit from being a part of the ACT Implementers Network, download our Implementers Guide to know more.

ACT For Health supports Open Health Care Network to enable their journey from tele-ICUs to Smart ICUs

Recognised by the UN as the world’s 50th Digital Public Good, the Open Health Care Network (erstwhile Coronasafe) has been supported by ACT For Health since the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, the solution enabled the National Health Mission to manage 355K patients through 130K ambulance shifts and 200K tele-medicine calls between March 2020 to May 2022.

Last year, ACT expanded its support to help OHCN develop tele-ICU capabilities – a solution that’s being institutionalized in 7 states to cover 200 district hospitals. Today, our focus is expanding to enable their journey from tele-ICUs to Smart ICUs as a way to enhance its ability as a Digital Public Good that’s integrated with national healthcare programs.

What are Tele-ICUs and why are they important?

When the nation ran out of oxygen during the Delta wave, it was also realised that around 300 rural and remote districts out of 766 overall districts in India don’t have ICU beds with oxygen capabilities.

The 10BedICU project was born to fill this need with a goal to set up 3000 ICU beds in 300 district hospitals, and the original CARE platform was adopted as the solution to build the necessary tooling.

In rural and remote hospitals, there are barely any healthcare professionals who understand how to use critical care equipment and so, along with the supply of physical medical equipment, ACT For Health supported the development of tele-ICU capabilities which could ensure that medical professionals in rural areas could remotely leverage the expertise of critical care specialists anywhere in the country.

How did OHCN develop this tele-ICU capability?

36 engineering students, who were selected and trained in a full-stack industry curriculum, worked under 2 senior software engineers at eGovernance Foundation to build the tele-ICU Capabilities. These students worked with Srikanth Nadhamuni, the founding CTO of Aadhaar, as well as intensive care doctors from Kerala to scope out the design requirements and engineer the feature set – which was piloted at KR Hospital in Mysore.

Today, the solution is deployed to manage 410 ICU beds in 41 district hospitals and has supported 4498 patients as of May 2023.

The road and the vision ahead

The most significant difficulty in creating Digital Public Goods has been the availability of software engineers. The full-stack developer curriculums supported by ACT are now approved as the National Model Curriculum. 18 institutions from 13 universities across 6 states have now adopted the curriculum that is creating a direct path for the industry to get highly skilled talent. The top students from this talent pipeline are being inducted to build and upgrade Digital Public Goods, post which they graduate into the industry.

Thus, by creating a scaling pipeline of high-quality engineering talent, the capability to build and upgrade digital public goods is being directly institutionalized into the nation’s higher education system.

The OHCN software has also completed 2 of the 4 milestones in integration with the ambitious Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) program. Once completed, partner hospitals will have the ability to create unique health IDs for patients, deliver care and get reimbursed under the PradhanMantri Jan Aroya Yojna public insurance scheme; thus streamlining the access and delivery of care for citizens depending on public health infrastructure.

The learnings from tele-ICU deployment indicate that regular ICU beds can also be converted into Smart ICUs i.e. empowered with a digital monitor for remote care. A smart ICU solution is a versatile system that can be seamlessly implemented in any hospital, offering a range of benefits. One of its key advantages is the ability to configure hardware, independent of manufacturer specifications.

This means that even low-resourced hospitals can integrate the Smart ICU solution with their existing equipment, regardless of the brand or model. Such hardware agnosticism ensures compatibility and flexibility and enables healthcare providers to optimize their ICU operations without the need for extensive equipment replacements. By leveraging this technology, hospitals can enhance patient care, streamline workflows, and harness the power of intelligent data analytics to improve overall efficiency within their intensive care units.

During our analysis, we conducted a comprehensive comparison of the development cost for the Smart ICU solution from various commercial sources. Remarkably, we discovered that the OHCN model offers a significantly more competitive option. Not only does it provide an affordable solution for hospitals, but it also addresses the education aspect by incorporating an industry-ready curriculum for training senior engineering students.

This dual advantage ensures that hospitals can adopt the Smart ICU technology without straining their budgets, while simultaneously contributing to the education sector by equipping future tech talent who are familiar with health-tech, ABDM etc. with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the field.

By merging cost-effectiveness with educational impact, the Smart ICU solution becomes a compelling choice for continuing our support to the Open Health Care Network and we can’t wait to be a part of their journey ahead, as it unfolds its numerous possibilities.

ACT For Health and India Health Fund collaborate to support Salcit Technologies

India continues to be the tuberculosis capital of the world, accounting for every 1 in 4 TB cases worldwide. Although we have made great strides in identifying and treating TB patients with innovative policies and aggressive testing, we still miss millions of TB patients who are not caught by the public healthcare radar. Because while active case finding (ACF) is an established measure for the systematic screening of TB in high-risk populations, there has been a lack of affordable, rapid response and sensitive screening tools that can help find undiagnosed active TB cases.

Addressing this need, ACT For Health and India Health Fund (IHF) are co-funding the development of Swaasa® – a mobile app by Salcit Technologies that records cough sounds from suspected TB patients using a phone’s microphone and analyzes them to decode unique cough signatures to detect the possible presence of pulmonary tuberculosis using a proprietary AI algorithm and give a report in just a few minutes.

Salcit’s non-invasive innovation can run on any smartphone, requires no additional equipment/consumables and offers the key advantage of being used by patients themselves in the confines of their households, without the risk of infection spread or the need of trained staff. It can also be easily used by frontline health workers in low-resource and remote settings and thus, promises to be easily scalable to enable early detection of the disease.

The co-funded grant will aid Salcit Technologies in the technical validation of the Swaasa®’s AI algorithm – the six-month long project will include the collection of cough sounds from about 5700 subjects (TB and Non-TB), the technical validation of the platform across 6 public health centers and the enhancement of the platform to reach an accuracy of 90% for detecting the likely presence of TB.

We believe that our support will help Swaasa® emerge as a gold standard TB screening tool that could supplement and strengthen existing Active Case Finding (ACF) in low resource settings and herald a new era of cutting edge technology being deployed for tackling the public health problems at scale to create a playbook for AI based mobile health solutions!

ACT kicks off Tech Advisors For Social Change 2.0

When we first launched the Tech Advisors For Social Change program in 2022, we hoped for it to address a big gap that we had observed in the tech capabilities of social enterprises. Through our engagement with multiple such organisations, both in and outside of our portfolio, we realised that they often didn’t have the deep expertise needed to build a scalable tech architecture – something that hindered their ability to grow.

As an organisation that’s rooted at the cusp of the venture capital and startup ecosystems and deeply believes in the power of collective action, we instinctively knew that leveraging external tech experts could not only give social enterprises the advisory they needed, but also give such volunteers an opportunity to contribute towards creating social impact in a meaningful way.

It all started as a tweet by Mekin Maheshwari, our ACT For Education investing committee member, that invited fellow techies from his network to apply for the Tech Advisors For Social Change program – that single tweet catalysed 80+ tech experts to raise their hands and our journey began in the most serendipitous of ways!

Our first cohort had 8 senior tech experts, each of whom we matched to a social impact organisation in the education space that had identified a very specific tech challenge statement. The 3-4 month engagement saw these advisors collaborate with their respective matched organisations on areas that ranged from restructuring backend operations to influence scale or creating effective data dashboards to gain user insights.

Saraswati Chandra was one such Tech Advisor who helped Rocket Learning, an ed-tech non-profit working on early childhood education, create a product testing framework that gamified their Whatsapp based solution and accelerated the participating children’s engagement!

“Building products and technologies that work at scale is hard. Through my startup journey, I have benefited from advisors who inspired me to pay it forward. It was great to apply product-building concepts to solutions that are designed for Bharat,” she says.

Our experience with the first cohort bolstered our conviction in our approach and we focused on fine-tuning the program structure to enable a better experience for both sides involved. Our biggest takeaway was the need to foster a growing community of tech experts that could go beyond short-term 1:1 relationships to become universally accessible to social enterprises when they encountered challenges and needed custom-focused mentorship.

So this year, as we get the 2nd cohort in gear, we’ve fine-tuned our approach to match a resident advisor to each participating organisation as well as match a visiting advisor for specific use cases. We have also expanded the program to organisations within the healthcare and climate action spaces and are working with the social enterprises to hyper-define their tech challenge in a way that it’s realistically solvable within a 3 month time period.

Tech Advisors For Social Change 2.0 has greatly benefited from a strategic collaboration with Vidyasagar Bedida, who has helped us evaluate the submissions by social impact organisations on product scope, urgency of the problem statement as well as the founder’s vision. We’ve shortlisted a diverse group of 10 organisations solving crucial issues through telemedicine solutions, personalised learning platforms and renewable fuel production etc. that need support with optimising data architecture, building data analytical capability and improving the UX/UI of the platform.

Simultaneously, we leveraged ACT’s community to invite seasoned tech experts from the for-profit/startup world and received 90+ signups from folks across companies like Groww, Amazon, Google etc. They were invited to join demo sessions by participating social enterprises to give them an opportunity to understand the challenge statement with the founder and gain insight into its complexity. Finally, we facilitated the final matches based on the skill requirements for the project and the preferences indicated by the advisors.

We’re excited for the 2nd cohort to deep dive into their 12 week engagement and hope to build this program into a thriving community that takes ACTion!

ACT Capital Foundation For Social Impact is a not-for-profit company incorporated and registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. All donations made to ACT Capital Foundation are eligible for income tax deduction under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

ACT Capital Foundation For Social Impact © 2021 | All Rights Reserved

Site handcrafted by:  TWN