MUMBAI — ZS PRIZE – a healthcare innovation challenge launched by ZS, a global professional services firm – just announced the winner of its inaugural program. The eight-month program received over 2,900 submissions from 33,000 registrations presenting various healthcare innovations, the best eight of which were announced for the latest edition. Industry experts at ZS and the eminent jury-Ravi Venkatesan (Founder, G.A.M.E, ex-Microsoft, board member Bank of Baroda), Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Biocon), Sangita Reddy (Apollo), Prof. Srinath Reddy (Public Health Foundation of India) among others-provided mentorship and ongoing feedback throughout the span of the challenge. Winners will each receive a monetary award that will help them take the necessary steps to bring their prototypes closer to reality.
The first-place award was given to team Stamurai. The team designed an artificial-intelligence-powered, mobile-based speech therapy application that acts as a personalized digital coach for those with a stutter. This innovative solution was built from the team’s personal experience with stammering. Current speech therapy solutions are expensive and inaccessible (fewer than 1% of people in India have access to speech therapy). Considering that individuals who stutter are prone to relapse, the solution has the potential to improve lives for millions across the globe.
The Runner-Up Prize was awarded to Padmaseeta Technologies, which designed OmniPD, a portable peritoneal cycle that enables renal patients to perform dialysis anytime, anywhere. This cloud-based patient management system sends alerts for better preventive care and storage of dialysis data.
Ameliorate Biotech is the second runner-up team, which developed a testing kit that identifies mosquito-borne diseases including malaria, chikungunya, and dengue in less than 15 minutes, using a single blood sample on the first day of the onset of symptoms. This low-cost innovation will save lives by avoiding misdiagnosis and providing timely medical help.
Other honorary mentions were given to CareMother, a fetal monitoring device for pregnant women, and MedPrime Technologies, a digital macroscopy machine that helps address the scarcity of pathologists in India. These teams also will be awarded a cash prize of 10 lacs INR.
ZS PRIZE was launched in October 2020 to bring affordable, accessible, and transformative healthcare solutions to the Indian and global healthcare segment. With a focus on advancing healthcare innovation using data, analytics, and technology, the program is a catalyst in driving innovation and creating a positive impact on the Indian healthcare landscape.
Sanjay Joshi, regional managing principal, and Asia head – ZS, said, “We congratulate the winners of the first ZS PRIZE edition and thank all of the participating teams for their contribution in making this a huge success. The jury was impressed by the sheer number of submissions that we received. The quality of the ideas along with the compassion to work for the greater good of the country is highly commendable. ZS PRIZE showcased the many sharp young minds in India who are working hard to create innovations that can improve healthcare accessibility and affordability. We believe the ZS prize will serve as a catalyst to further accelerate and promote such innovations to improve the lives of millions across India.”
Ravi Venkatesan, Jury Chairman of ZS PRIZE and former Chairman, Microsoft, said, “Prizes like the ZS PRIZE are incredibly important because they recognize good ideas and help teams behind them to take their ideas to impact. And that, in turn, inspires many others to start innovating.”
At the awards ceremony on July 2, Ravi added, “We witnessed India’s worst public health crisis, and while everybody was affected, once again, it is the poor, weak, and old who were disproportionately impacted. The second wave of COVID-19 highlighted the urgent need for a tremendous amount of innovation to make healthcare in India preventive, affordable, and accessible. This can only happen if many more people across our country are inspired to apply their minds and technology to solving healthcare issues with ideas both small and large.”
In addition to Ravi Venkatesan, the jury included Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon; Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals; Dr. Dipak Jain, President (European) and Professor of Marketing at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Former Dean of Kellogg School of Management; Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India; Vijay Chandru Reddy, Founder, Strand Life Sciences; Sandeep Singhal, Entrepreneur, Pioneer in Indian Venture Capital Industry; Dr. Ferzaan Engineer, Co-founder, and Chairman, Cytecare Hospitals.