The most beautiful creation of the God on earth is Human being. God has given us precious life which is onetime game, if not handled with care in emergencies. Staying at different location due to work, family requirements, Traveling, Tourism, Pilgrimage, studies of children and so on are some of the most important reasons to stay away from home and settling in different cities, countries etc. In such new places we need lot many years to settle down and get acquainted with facilities available in our surroundings, that too in bits and pieces. Sometimes when medical emergency arises, we become completely stressed and look for a helping hand and trust whatever information and people we are getting for coming out of such medical emergency. But do we actually get the required information and people for dealing with such situation. That’s a big traumatic situation for us not only within country but specially when in other parts of the world. Looking at this problem Mrs. Poonam Jain has introduced a valuable venture called International Star Assistance Private Limited which has emerged as a solution to such complicated situation. This venture is an organized platform to deal with list of procedures and services in medical emergencies The services are not only limited to India but also to different parts of the world like Middle East, Australia, Canada etc. The core strength of venture’s is 3Cs of ‘Comprehensive’, ‘Commitment’ and ‘Compassion’ has made this platform a unique as well as trust-able source in handling medical emergencies. With a comprehensive association with embassies and insurance companies, International star assistance Private ltd has a complete set of required procedures and experience and capabilities at one stop with an organized path. This amazing concept is a big time life rescuer with a noble mission to be a trustworthy partner for each individual who is looking out for organized support services in dealing with complicated medical emergency.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
International Star Assistance Private Limited. We have the vision to operate from 5 international locations by 2018. The star shines day-night. The colors blue-red find presence in most of the developed economies of the world and we want to serve them.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
A person away from his / her home city and needs Medical assistance in a out-of-ordinary situation
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are headquartered at Delhi and partners at Australia & Canada. We work for persons of US, UK, Canada, Australia and Middle East. We limit our exposure to underdeveloped Asian countries.
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
A person in Medical distress of Traumatized in an alien location needs Quick and precise medical assistance. At times, it warrants an evacuation from current location to a Super specialty hospital in a large city or cross country. The criticality and terrain demands Air Ambulance, with specialist doctors. Being foreign national, the process, procedure, documents, clearances and facilities are different and do need a comprehensive approach. ISAPL combined experience of 60+ years handling foreign nationals is unique. We provide Air Ambulance, Medical Assistance team, Equipments and stretcher on commercial airlines. We also coordinate with embassies and insurance companies.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
India’s Medical Emergency response system is un-established. While it boasts as the world’s third-largest economy of global standards, government has less than minimum for the Emergency. Other southeast countries have a far more reliable and responsive facilities for its citizens. Worse is for the foreign nationals visiting / working at India. This is especially alarming, when India is the fastest growing global economy and many foreign companies are creating their base at India. India is still at the stage of managing basic hygiene and pre-medic facilities, there is clear expectation mismatch on Emergency services. The nation woke upto NDMA after major natural disasters. NDMA and CATS is pretty much govt initiative, with very limited access to public.
“Our roads are not ambulance friendly most often. It is difficult but we are managing ,” says Dr abcd, head of medical service, which is part of the ambulance service operated by the state government.
“There should be a model where the hospital can coordinate with police till the patient is picked up from the scene and reaches the hospital,” says Drxxx
In India, several roads are badly clogged and are difficult to negotiate, so the air ambulance could cut travel time by as much as 90%,
Poonam Jain, a former Diplomatic mission employee for 20+ years, was consumed by the idea of bringing in a compelling change in the Medical Emergency response sector that suggested her to leave her glass-ceiling cushy job and be the first lady entrepreneur. To her astonishment, she found there are no transparency and ethics in this industry and a medical emergency is ‘milked’. Country doesn’t have any guidelines or control mechanism. It was a completely un-organised industry, if we call it so. Something that foreign nationals could not come term to!!
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We have two kinds of competitors. One we love for their professionalism and structured approach in a transparent manner. They are near 90% comprehensive in their services. We look upto those and do seek secondary business from them as well.
The second kind is run-of-the-mill shops. They are on the prowl to hunt down the business. Such players adopt unethical means and are opportunist. No pricing strategy or alignment to any organised client base. They have potential to spoil the sector and our business too. Fortunately, the government is bringing guidelines to weed them off.
We are the most connected and resourceful to ‘pull a rabbit….’ anytime, anytime. We are the most acknowledged and credited by our clients. Two of those clients are now our regional representatives. We serve nationals from 34+ countries. The pricing and empathy is very compelling to both individual clients and foreign missions.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s
My co-founder is a person of great Vision, who can gaze at the horizon. He is someone who always identified the rising sector and built upon it. Coincidentally, I use him for bouncing my ideas and darts! A strong dart board is must for a start-up entrepreneur. Once, vision is agreed, I work on operational elements, he identifies opportunity to cement the backbone of the network, alliances, resources and processes.
8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
I was looking for few like-minded, similar experience members. I shared my ideas with few of colleagues from the embassy time. Since, I had learnt everything over the last 20 years and I believe that anyone can learn. The only quality needed is Empathy towards the person in distress and 360 degree view of the situation. I have Dolly as my buddy and Sam & Divika as my remote partners.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We have a simple mission of 2 evacuations per week, 20 able hands, 2 large corporate clients, 2 Insurance alliances, in the next 2 years. In 5 years, we shall have 5 divisions, 50 countries, generating 50 crores.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We shall be operating our own Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) in either India or Middle East. We will be integrating the e-commerce model into the operations.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Our immediate goals are to grow Medical Evacuation business by 50% over the last year. Massive marketing and capability building exercise is on. Our visibility is growing in-organically. We shall be building a strong referrals from the partners. Over the next 6-12 months, we shall be serving the complete value-chain of Travel-Health.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Ours are very lean operations. The Capex is minimal. We do need funds for our working capital. We shall soon be raising $1 million through private investors.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
The sector is replete with unstructured dog-eat-dog operators. Opportunistic-pricing, poaching, sub-standard quality is the rule of the game. While the complete sector is lead by men, ISAPL is the only company led by a lady. It was impossible for agencies and referrers to discuss ‘cash-back’ from me So, we were not getting business from them. We preferred to be slow, structured, transparent and forthright. We are moving up the value chain.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
In Medical evacuation I handle other’s challenge and mine become secondary. But, on a different note, the Medical Evacuating companies are run by Male Doctors. It is a man’s world. I am the only non-medical lady leading it. Having worked at US embassy for the American Citizen Services, every challenge is an opportunity to do something different. Dealing with people and govt offices across the world does need a…….. But, I decided to keep my business clean and transparent. I still struggle with those occasionally.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Married. And have a graduating son. My husband is all support to my business. He spends considerable time and energy in enabling my success.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Gardening, Society work, Latest movies. In the recent times, I am working alot on the community level. I am engaging with multiple authorities and moving few critical and urgent agendas on Water conservation, Swachh abhiyan, animal care, dust pollution control, common facilities for society etc.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I am a non-foodie and hence I can vacation anywhere from a simple farm-house to Europe. My favourite is among the natural habitat full of birds & starry nights.
18. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Myself. I live to my own benchmarks. My motivation is my own success. I empathies and own up the problem, till solved. I can hunt down anyone, when I am in-need. My motivation is my success.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Well, I have been in both the roles for long enough. Job for others has defined boundaries and limited earnings. The scope to exploit oneself’s potential is bound by the designation. When I worked for others, it was their process, system, earning, expenditure and gains. It was their brand and their recognition….shared a bit with me.
Being and entrepreneur brings in ‘ownership’ for my actions, growth, people, money and recognition. Although it a shift that takes time, but worth gold.
Now, I design a system that is empathetic and transparent. A model of ‘Partnership’ and not ‘serving’. A place of dignity and recognition. The gains and pains are proportionate.
Space and pedestal of my own!!
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Well, I love what I did for the last 25+ years. It has been satisfying, full of achievements. I am today, because of those days. So I don’t think anything should have been different. The God has a Master Plan for everyone. HE has been very kind to me. I am very happy with my past. Some sweet-sour-spicy episode are good flavours to have.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Oh! I love working to myself, my way and 100% ownership. I enjoy the flexibility and time-freedom. I decide when and where to travel. Economics of the life are much simpler now. I engage more with society and lately, I started formal participation in the community.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Enjoy the Roller-Coaster ride. The Down makes you scream, but opens you to embrace the Up. Product pricing is never a point of infliction, Empathy is! Being in customer’s shoes makes me learn the best.
Invest own money and efforts, since other’s money may hardly make you strive for success.
Always have a Mentor, who is not from your industry.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I am Humanity graduate of 1987, not knowing at that time that I shall be in the industry of Human-help. My birth, schooling and upbringing was in a middle class environment of south Delhi. My father was with RBI and my eldest sister set the trend to work for foreign missions at Delhi. All my siblings have been with various embassies and High Commissions.
We are inward-looking Vaishya family. May be the business was in the genes, but found fertile ground this late.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
Our 3Cs are ‘Comprehensive’ and ‘Commitment’ and ‘Compassion’. We are the only one Directly accredited by the industry stakeholders. We work on Partnership model. We build on core-strength and avoid sudden burps of fashionable ‘startups’.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
A new business is all about that super Idea and initial market-testing. The Small business and Start-ups have that idea, zeal, patience and hunger. They work like crazy on their idea. The big businesses offer bait to buyout the fructifying startup. Many fall for it. Other challenge is big business in the same industry feel threatened and they spread legal hurdles.
But, the worst is ‘valuation’ syndrome. A business and customer has to be in long-standing commitment. Changing guards thru VC, sell-off is not ‘business’. It is Trade. So, i strongly suggest to look at long-term sustenance of business, not short-term valuations.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Yes. I have always been successful. My measurement is my own satisfaction and my clients’ love. I consider myself successful, when I get repeat business and references from my customers. Any part of the world I go, I stay with my earlier customers (now family).
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person.
International Star Assistance Pvt Ltd,
Address:G-1, Upper Ground Floor, Ashirwad Complex,, Green Park, Delhi, 110016
Phone: 011 4659 4412
G-1, Upper Ground Floor. Ashirwad Complex Green Park Main New Delhi 110016
+91-9910335443 | +91 9810203415 | Tel: +91 11 46594412
Sanjay Jain(Founder Director)
G-1, Upper Ground Floor. Ashirwad Complex Green Park Main New Delhi 110016
+91 9810505080 | Tel: +91 11 46594412
Ginwalla Building E/1 Captain Colony, Tardeo, Mumbai (400 034) Maharashtra, India
+91 9820714429 | Tel: +91 22 2353 7580