MUrgency is a financially viable project with a huge social impact : Shaffi Mather, serial entrepreneur, lawyer and a public policy analyst
Updated on: 25 May 2016
Besides being a serial entrepreneur, Shaffi Mather is also a lawyer and a public policy analyst. Last week, Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, invested in his new venture MUrgency, which was incubated out of Stanford ChangeLabs in 2014 and had backing of Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and S D Shibulal-led Axilor Ventures. MUrgency is a mobile app-based global emergency response network that offers fast, easy and reliable medical emergency help. The service was launched in February 2016 in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Zirakpur and Kharar with over 36 leading hospitals and over 350 medical professionals enrolled on the network. Mather, who had also founded Ziqitza Health Care Ltd to provide emergency ambulance service in India, which is now the largest for-profit ambulance company in the developing world and Lifesupporters Institute of Health Sciences, now Asia's largest pre-hospital care training organisation, spoke to Ashish K Tiwari about MUrgency, new developments and more.
The MUrgency concept is very pertinent to India. Do you see it making inroads into developed nations as well?
The concept is pertinent to not only the Indian market but is a global opportunity both in the developing and the developed world. That's because if you look at the developing world, almost all of South America, Africa, South Asia (including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), rural China, South East Asia and Central Asia, all these places do not have access to reliable emergency medical response service. In fact, just about 750 million people living in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and a few other cities have reliable emergency services. The 911 service in the US works pretty well in the urban areas but in the rural areas the time lag can be anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour. And more importantly in markets like the US, the issue is not just the time it's also the cost because an ambulance transport can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. That's pretty expensive for even for a middle-class American. And what is happening in a market like US is that health insurance is becoming more and more catastrophe linked. Insurance has high deductibles and a person has to pay from his / her pocket the first $2,000 to $5,000. So an ambulance transport can be actually a hit on a middle-class family. Thus, even in a developed market like the US, it (MUrgency) is an effective system for lower activity (non-life threatening) responses.
I understand you've rolled out this service in Israel?
There is a volunteering service in Israel with whom we did a pilot. So right now it's a voluntary service and we are working with them to convert it into an emergency network. That's an extremely high efficiency system and you have to understand that, that kind of a volunteering commitment is not available around the world. It's very peculiar to few communities especially the Israeli community who's always under threat.
Could you briefly tell us about the value proposition of this emergency service?