The man behind Aktivolabs’ vision of creating healthier and happier societies, CEO and Co-Founder Gourab Mukherjee, is a computer science engineer with a passion for scaling and commercialising high-impact technologies towards population health and longevity.
Constantly attempting to solve real-world problems by bringing together people, ideas and networks, Gourab decided to build his business at the intersection of health and technology.
At Aktivolabs, Gourab and his team are building digital behavioural modification tools using best practices and scientific methods, to improve the health of people across cultures and continents.
About Gourab’s Early Life
A Bachelor in Information Technology- a double major in Computer Security and Network Administration and Design, coupled with a passion towards the thriving HealthTech industry, has led Gourab to drive innovation and build business lines globally in the digital health space with firms like Napier Healthcare, MindWave, IBM and Infosys, for nearly a decade.
He realised early on, that commercialising innovation in healthcare is a challenging feat. However, seizing it as an opportunity to empower and mobilize individuals around the globe towards a healthy way of living, Gourab decided to play a more active part in this ecosystem, as the Co-Founder and CEO of Aktivolabs, a digital health startup.
As a visionary leader who understands the rising permeation of digital technology in everyday lives, particularly through the proliferation of devices with the ability to capture physiological data, Gourab was convinced of the enormous impact it could have on humanity. As he embarked on his journey, determined to yield the right insights to improve the lives of others, the concept of Aktivolabs was soon turned into reality.
The beauty of Aktivo is that it enables one to take charge of their own health, by providing easy and intelligible insights, and Gourab particularly looks forward to the widespread adaption of the Aktivo Score®, the company’s proprietary digital biomarker for health and longevity, among consumers.
With the understanding that taking the enterprise route through insurance companies, corporates, banks and telcos increase their reach to consumers, Aktivolabs has been actively enhancing relationships with enterprises and their customers by providing an assessment of their health risks and nudging them to healthier behaviour.
Journey of the HealthTech Startup, Aktivo
This exciting journey of Aktivolabs began in 2016 when Gourab met his co-founder Professor David Lai at the Ageing Asia Innovation Forum at Marina Bay Sands. Apart from directing surgical research at the National University Hospital (NUH), Professor Lai was engaged in projects concerning sustainable ageing.
Sharing a common understanding that chronic diseases today is not just a function of age and genetics, but also a function of the unintended effects of one’s lifestyle and longer lifespan. Having deeply resonated with Professor Lai’s work, Gourab began to play with the idea of delaying the onset of chronic diseases across populations by accelerating the self-quantification movement In health and wellbeing.
Professor Lai’s growing interest in Gourab’s work led to a series of late evening rendezvous at the hotel bar in Shangri-La, which finally resulted in the co-founding of Aktivolabs and the genesis of Aktivo Score®.
These two ingenious minds with contrasting specialisations certainly complement each other, as is shown from the success and growth of the Aktivolabs family in both Singapore and India, over the past 3 years.
Insights that are generated through the use of Aktivolabs platform and its proprietary scoring make it easy to start measuring and quantifying oneself on a daily basis. Fun journeys are created to drive the users to delve deeper into their lifestyle, understand their health, and make behavioural changes, where necessary.
For any enterprise wanting to engage its consumers around health and happier living, Aktivolabs’ technologies can help start the conversation at scale and in a meaningful manner, by generating data that can tell them in a unique and novel way what is happening in their consumer pool.
An Inside Look into Gourab’s Personal Life
Running a successful startup is certainly demanding and requires a steady dose of inspiration. To keep the creative juices flowing, a typical day in Gourab’s life pre-COVID-19 involved tuning into podcasts and audiobooks as he commuted to work, and a game of squash or two over the weekends.
The enforcement of work-from-home, however, brought with it the challenge of maintaining a work-life balance, and more importantly, a decent Aktivo Score®! As making time for himself to unwind and refresh remains a priority, Gourab often goes for a long run by the coast, to enjoy the cool evening breeze.
As a passionate cricket lover, Gourab developed an athletic mindset and the discipline of a sportsperson, early in his childhood. He accredits his ability to maintain his composure in stressful situations to his role model, cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also known as Captain Cool. As a leader with exquisite calmness and in-depth knowledge of his field, Dhoni exhibits excellent leadership and vision, which Gourab often looks up to.
One other individual who inspires Gourab immensely is Bill Gates. Following his fight against polio, Gourab is in awe of how GPS technology is used to monitor the movement of vaccination teams in Nigeria, hence reducing the chances of overlooking an area that harbours the disease. As an engineer who tackles real-world problems with technical skills, witnessing the eradication of polio through the use of digital mapping technologies and data analytics inspires and motivates Gourab to excel in the HealthTech industry by creating an impact on humanity, through Aktivo.
True to his Calcutta roots, Gourab is an avid reader and recommends one of his top reads, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, which highlights the struggles of entrepreneurs and provides essential advice on creating a startup from the ground up. The lessons learnt have certainly paved the way for Aktivo’s success.
Thoughts on the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic ensues, Gourab recalls the unfortunate delays of scheduled launches from March to September. Despite the delayed launches, Aktivolabs saw the accelerated progression of conversations with various clients.
With new conversations streaming in, Gourab has between 15 to 20 clients, a healthy and active pipeline for a young startup, indeed. Tiding over unprecedented times has made Gourab increasingly aware of cash flow management, for he aims to constantly innovate, maximise gains and prioritise engagements with promising leads.
The adoption of HealthTech is clearly inevitable in our near future. With the silent killer COVID-19 still on the loose, telemedicine and digital health has gained prominence amongst patients, providers and payors alike. Having medical access at one’s fingertips has truly been a game-changer for healthcare systems. Coupled with high efficacy and minimal physical contact, the adoption of digital health services have skyrocketed.
Aktivolabs has been completely snowed under the work since the start of the pandemic. From endless Zoom calls to rushed deadlines, Aktivo was working day and night as the date of their launch with Sunlife Hong Kong drew nearer. Given the short amount of time, the launch of their application Glucolife, for raising awareness about diabetes, is an impressive feat indeed.
This success is accredited to Gourab’s steadfast leadership, which is witnessed in his complete transparency with the Aktivolabs team regarding cashflow and the outcomes of having their goals achieved. With certainty given to the team during unprecedented times, Aktivo thrived in achieving its milestone of launching the application.
New Developments and Partnerships During Unprecedented Times
Aktivolabs recently announced entering into a product and distribution partnership with one of the largest reinsurers in the region, who will, in turn, be one of their main distributors to around 50 of their local life and health insurers. Specifically, Aktivolabs aims to complement its proprietary risk analytics engine for smarter underwriting with its solutions.
Aktivo recently collaborated with Rak Bank In the UAE where they would be providing a white-labelled solution to the bank’s customers. This would be the first partnership In the region and an integrated commercial launch with a bank.
Aktivolabs aims to develop the Aktivo Mental Wellbeing solution which will be modularly Integrated with Its suite of digital health products. The solution will be launched in the last quarter of 2020. This suite of services would Include Aktivo for healthy lifestyle features such as adequate physical activity and sleep and the Glucolife application for the prevention of prediabetes and diabetes. Aktivolabs Is engineering an analytics risk engine to predict long-term health outcomes from Aktivo Mental Wellbeing, Aktivo Score® and Glucolife.
Gourab’s Thoughts on Innovation
Looking at the transformation that many industries are going through, Gourab is proud to have Aktivolabs right at the intersection of Healthtech, InsurTech and FinTech, driving and creating value across this amazing journey that he and his team have undertaken. By building a platform to enable financial services companies to have a conversation with their customers about health, insights generated can be used to drive innovation, push the boundaries of customer acquisition and retention, and even create new products in the future, all of which are all powerful tool for many industries.
As a 2020 Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort member, Gourab remarked, “As a startup, we don’t have a big marketing team and what Galen Growth does, which I have always been a big fan of, is help us bridge the gap between startups and corporates and enable us to go outside of our operations and gain more exposure. Certain conversations have progressed because of our exposure through Galen Growth, which is crucial for any early-stage startup. To be in the Galen Growth Cohort is a signal to the industry, and we feel privileged to be part of the 2020 Galen Growth community.”
About the Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort
Live2Life is part of the Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort, the only acceleration programme built to scale digital health startups to be the next generation powering healthcare innovation in the New Normal in Asia. In 2020, Galen Growth is working with 25 HealthTech startups which will benefit from Galen Growth’s long-established and unmatched curated community of investors, corporate leaders and innovation teams and other essential stakeholders through our proven multi-channel tools. For more information, visit Galen Growth’s HealthTech Cohort webpage or read this article on the launch of the Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort.
Read last week’s interview with Shi Hailiang, CEO & Co-Founder of Life2Live here.
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