Noccarc’s MedEle Of Indian Smart Ventilators

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With its innovative smart ventilators, Pune-based startup Noccarc is spearheading the ‘Make Medical Electronics in India’ movement.

Man proposes, God disposes! Techpreneur and IIT Kanpur alumnus Nikhil Kurele is well-versed with this statement. From securing funding for a startup that built robots for cleaning solar panels to pivoting to smart ventilators during Covid-19, Kurele was driven by his zeal to manufacture a hardware solution in India that addressed a unique yet common problem for his country.

V310+
V310+
V730i
V730i

Eight months after shifting from a 18.6 square metre (200 square feet) room at IIT Kanpur to scale operations to build robots that cleaned solar panels, in June 2019, Kurele, along with his co-founders Harshit Rathore and Tushar Agarwal, watched the pandemic dent their plans. However, the roadblock did not last long, as in May 2020, the co-founders gathered their knowledge, resources, and funds to address local challenges and introduced ventilators, focusing on comprehensive care. Identifying the core issues in existing products: multiple patient devices, high running costs, and limited information accessibility to decision-makers, Noccarc developed the V310+ ventilator, which sold more than 2200 units during the second wave of Covid-19 and, by the end of the pandemic, the figure went up to 3600! The company launched a second category of smart ventilators featuring a digital platform that allows remote access to patient information, V730i, in June 2023, and has sold around 55-60 units. Focused on solving the challenge of data availability and correlating information from various devices, the ventilator comes with a high-end 1.4GHz quad-core ARM processor, with around 21-22 PCB boards employed in different sections. The device has expansion ports, allowing for potential upgrades or additional modules. Kurele explains that the company wrote and developed their operating system on top of a Linux system while incorporating machine learning to monitor the product’s health, allowing automatic alerts if any issues arise. “The accumulated data is used to enhance predictive capabilities while aiming for advancements in predicting ventilator performance,” he adds.

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(L to R) Co-founders: Nikhil Kurele, Harshit Rathore, and Tushar Agarwal
(L to R) Co-founders: Nikhil Kurele, Harshit Rathore, and Tushar Agarwal

“We stand out as the only ventilator company globally with an OTA feature to roll out software upgrades to end customers without needing on-site personnel, a capability lacking in our competitors. This does not require a constant connection. Even though it is possible to control remotely, we intentionally avoid making everything online, maintaining a level of control. We have implemented measures to prevent certain commands from being sent to specific hardware boards for digital security and hardware safety,” Kurele says. The startup uses an HIPAA-compliant platform, HorizonView, to meet medical-grade international compliance standards. The latest product, V370i, is a compressor-based ventilator with an integrated humidifier that addresses moisture needs, for instance when a patient receives a dry air-oxygen mixture. “In India, people often forget alarms from a separate humidifier, but our ventilator can control and monitor the humidifier, eliminating the need for continuous supervision, and addresses issues such as empty water, ensuring the patient receives proper humid air, etc,” explains Kurele. Kurele refrains from revealing the product’s price but vouches for its affordability. “Since we source raw materials instead of pre-assembled solutions, we in-house design and integrate a digital platform that allows remote access to patient information daily. For instance, our six-layer PCB board for the product’s internal computer is developed in-house. We get it assembled in neighbouring countries, send some components there, and then receive the assembled PCB, helping us combat supply-chain issues,” he elaborates. With nine patents in bag and 14 in the application stage, the company aims to achieve a revenue of ₹300-350 million in FY25. “We are set to close at around ₹120 million in this financial year, an increase from the approximately ₹100 million achieved last year,” states Kurele. Noccarc is currently relying on the automotive manufacturing ecosystem in Pune to manufacture its components. The startup produces 20-25 ventilators per month, including both models. “Facilities focused on electronics for automobiles are well-equipped for manufacturing medical electronics components. However, these facilities are reluctant to engage with us as vendors due to the significant difference in production volumes between automotive and medical devices,” he reveals. Elaborating on the startup’s revenue model, Kurele says, “We sell our products to distributors who, in turn, sell to hospitals. The distributor looks into lead generation and manages the credit requirement of the end customer. We are also experimenting with new revenue models such as leasing and subscription-based software in the future.” Post-Covid-19, with buyers focused on clinical accuracy, comprehensive features and affordability, Kurele envisions capitalising on the trend while maintaining competitive pricing with industry leaders. The startup aims to scale sales from 20-25 units to 100-120 units within the next two years by lowering the total cost of ownership through innovations and using generic consumables.

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Yashasvini Razdan
Yashasvini Razdan
Yashasvini Razdan is a journalist at EFY. She has the rare ability to write both on tech and business aspects of electronics, thanks to an insatiable thirst to know all about technology. Driven by curiosity, she collects hard facts and wields the power of her pen to simplify and disseminate information.

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