Why do some start-ups fail while others do exceptionally well?

In the last few years, we have witnessed many start-ups mushrooming in the healthcare arena; some of them do well, while majority of them don’t. What really causes these start-ups to flourish and grow; and what just remains a dream for most, is dependent on a lot of factors.

The vision and dream

It is not surprising that brilliant minds come up with brilliant visions, ideas and goals; but how far these can materialize are dependent on numerous factors. Some start-up ideas are inspired by the skills these entrepreneurs have harnessed, while for others, it is because some personal experience instigated them; Businessmen see a market and profitability of a certain product or commodity. So, with the driving force behind creating a start-up varying, their set goals may vary as well.

More often than not, big players also sometimes miscalculate their goals and targets and the one that started off as a brilliant idea still fails miserably. Healthcare is a different ball game altogether.

The leader

An entrepreneur with a good vision may have done a lot of research in the market and is aware of the demand or dire need for a certain product or service; however good a name she/he is in the field, one should still be wary to invest or be a part of a start-up unless they have assessed all the pitfalls, challenges, weaknesses and gaps.

The team

There is no hard and fast rule that a single investor or multiple investors steer the success of a healthcare start-up; both solo-run and multiple stakeholder-owned start-ups do decently well if the foundation is strong enough. Single stakeholder works well in certain type of specialities while multiple stakeholders work well for others. The teams have to work with a shared purpose and vision and set aside their differences. The right skill sets of the entire team play a vital role.

The investment

There are wonderful examples where an entrepreneur started with a humble, modest investment and built an empire and those that invest heavily incurred losses. The reasons for this loss are quite straightforward when it comes to healthcare; either one miscalculated and invested too much when they did not analyze that though there is a market, takers are few; moreover, when the investment is huge for a
certain service or product and charging the patient or the customer as per the current charging trends, they probably will not match up to the desired expectations leading to unrest amongst investors and each of them eventually pulling out of the venture.

At least for healthcare professionals thinking of investing in start-ups; be aware of what you invest and what you may gain in terms of quality of service as well as competitive advantage and profits.

The right strategy

Everything needs to be utilized efficiently; the investment, time, skills, mode of delivery, marketing, visibility, profitability; and cannot stress enough, a well-defined vision. The strategies used can make or break the deal.

The right timing

In this era, where services can be delivered to your doorstep, healthcare may slightly have a different view. During the pandemic, it was a boon that one was able to gain online consultations from their healthcare providers in the safety of their homes; but now that we are past the pandemic, most patients feel much at ease when they personally meet their doctors, in most of the specialities; they seek empathy and the healing touch and not to mention the assurance, that is gained much more in a face-to-face consultation rather than over a video call; True, AI may change a lot of things in future, but human emotions and the human expectation in sickness needs a personal touch to heal. A lot can be missed over a video or a teleconsultation. And with the prediction of a recession, for the next two years, start-ups especially those with heavy investments have to be wary and think of ways to tide past, especially the ones that do not fit under the emergency and the basic healthcare service brackets.

The market

The market for healthcare is wide, but what has to fall in place is the right investment of all resources, having good forethought into the future, consumer benefits and utilization of the services and consumer expectations.

By now, even the public as well as the medical fraternity are aware that creatives, videos, and advertising make one visible but need not necessarily reach people or strike a chord with the masses; it may be something one just scrolls by; that still does not guarantee or indicate the progress of a start-up; though this is trending currently; what really matters is if the start-up can deliver the services and gain the competitive edge to succeed in terms of quality service and profitability.

Dr. Pallavi Hoskote
MBBS, MBA, PGDip. Psychiatry
Director, MediLeaders.