“Waiting is so unusual that many of us can’t stand in a queue for 30 seconds without getting out our phones to check for messages or to Google something.” Indeed true.
In a country with the population hovering over a billion, we can’t help ourselves but wait at the queues patiently. As life throws us into various situations, sometimes queuing up makes us go mad. And when life plays fair with us, there are people who make us go lunatic over their habits like spitting and digging into someone else’s nose (sometimes theirs too :/) Imagine the ease we would experience if our physical queuing gets changed to digital one. This problem of waiting gets worst at the hospitals and the OPD area. Patients with various health issues visit the doctors for consultancy. We all have been a witness to this scenario at least once in our lives. The waiting time not only takes a toll on a patient’s health, it also makes our money go on a run. All of this was pondered upon by founding team of Q UP. They found out that OPD being the first point of contact for hospitals are not really organized and static appointment systems were not benefitting patients. Unavailability of doctors due to multiple shifts, emergencies and IPD rounds adversely impacted the patients at OPD queue. So they decided to solve this problem and came up with Q UP.
“Q UP” is a phone app & web-based online checkup booking system that lets user queue up for any registered doctor in a traditional way. Serving as a unique platform to encourage patient-doctor interaction and communication in the most unique way possible, Q UP has gone on to become one the most popular Healthcare management applications. This app provides real-time “time-management” to the patients so that they are well aware of their exact consulting time with the doctor. The founder and his team struck the common chords and decided to change the problem at the root level. Drawing his inspiration from Dhirubhai Ambani, Mr. Rahul Sawant with Mr. Vishal Bhosale, Ms. Santoshi Sawant, and Mr. Perukh Pastakia has taken the charge to dream big and change the traditional “doctor-patient appointment” scenario. This user-friendly startup has been creating a wave of change and is perfect for the millennials.
Here is what we learnt more in this exclusive interview with Rahul Sawant Founder & CEO of Q UP.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Q UP. Since we want to eliminate physical queuing, we would encourage people to Queue up digitally. Being into queuing solution we thought this name suits best.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Doctors and healthcare delivery entities as of now but soon moving into other areas where physical queuing is present.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Pune, Maharashtra, India & Geographical Target Areas: India as of now and go global as dynamic queuing solution.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
We solve the problem of Physical queuing and High waiting. Q UP is an intelligent mobile application(Android & iOS)where we use AI and IOT to solve the physical queuing and high waiting.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
The past background of working in HealthTech space and personal experiences made us think to address the issue. OPD is the first point of contact and a process where a person gets the tag as “Patient” and has to visit the OPD irrespective of stages in the health care he receives thereafter. We found that static appointment systems are a failure and do not work in case of the healthcare. The prime reason is that doctors have their own schedule and are tied up or have to attend multiple activities like Academics, Emergencies, multiple hospitals & IPD rounds. The dynamic schedule of the doctors makes it very difficult to address the appointments and that leads to the conflicts. The basic understanding of the appointment today in the healthcare delivery system simply means Doctor will see you for sure but when?.. is not certain. So, we thought their needs a system that should not only let people book the check-ups remotely but also keep updating them about their “Turn” on “Real Time” basis and so was Q UP born.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Practo & Justdial. They operate with a static appointment based system, which does not account for real use cases happening inside the OPD, which ultimately leads to a conflict and results in dissatisfaction. We are a Queuing platform that keeps updating the patient about real-time activities happening inside the OPD and alert Patients about their turn on a real-time basis.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
We are 4 co-founders and come from different backgrounds. We are known to each other for a long time and always wanted to work towards an area that not only comes as a solution to a problem but should also establish a new method. We all came together to work towards easing out this complex problem.
Rahul Sawant (CEO) – (Myself) I have done my computer science and completed my MBA. Have 12 years of experience in Software, Healthcare & Financial services domain.
Vishal Bhosale(COO) – He is a computer science graduate and has worked with companies like Tech Mahindra, Persistent in his earlier assignments.
Santoshi Sawant (Director)– She has done her MBA and has worked with companies like KPIT & Quick heal in her past assignments
Perukh Pastakia (Director)- He is a serial entrepreneur and has a strong track record in business management.
8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
We hired our first team member for the product development and through a normal hiring process. We seek to associate with resources that have an aim of building something that is going to change the life of common people and add value to their life. We are a firm believer that resources joining us should be self-driven, passionate & integrated towards the goal of the company. They need to feel the problem we are trying to solve and relate to it from a consumer perspective.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We are looking to spread across India to connect with all the Healthcare entities that serve a large number of Patient every day. We are confident of covering 20% of daily OPD visits in INDIA through Q UP.
10. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 10 years?
We want to be seen as a company that changed the way people met Doctors in a traditional way. We would give people a “Painless experience” to connect with Doctors & related entities. We truly believe that every stakeholder in the Healthcare delivery system works hard and goes through different Pain. Automating a few processes and in an Intelligent manner would make life simpler for everyone.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
We are targeting to have 25000 daily bookings through Q UP in next 1 Year.
12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Yes, we have raised Seed and angel funding.
13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
In our early days, It was very tough for us to explain to our target consumer that we are not an appointment system but a queuing platform that has highly accurate results for them. We had to make our Positioning that way and used every Interacting opportunity to make them understand our offerings and differentiators. Another issue in this Industry is with the front desk staff, where they have low willingness to change from manual systems to something that can help them Organize their work much better. This ultimately reduces their stress and hard efforts. We took their joint sessions and did a lot of handholding post which they built trust in us and followed it. We always believe that every clinic or Hospital that we associate is our own and we work to help them achieve their core objective.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
We would divide this into two parts:
- Product Development – We were trying to build that was required and not a “Me too” type of a product. Healthcare delivery is very versatile and every Doctor here is an entrepreneur. He has his own culture and Processes. Building a flexible product was the first priority and the real-time update factor was certainly complex. But we are glad that with new age technologies and Intelligent algorithm we can have that solution today.
- Sales- Today almost every Doctor meets 2-3 different types of vendors (IT & non IT – MR’s not included) who come up with some or other services and so they treat everyone same irrespective of how good and relevant your solution may be. We had a challenge of creating an excitement about the concept to the doctor in 5 minutes. We train our teams to excel in 5 Minutes. We did a lot of training and mock sessions to make the sales resources effective.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I enjoy playing basketball and I firmly believe that an entrepreneur is always working even if not physically in the office, the thoughts and ideas to make things better every day run in the mind.
17. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
Indian Food. Favorite holiday destination is HOME
18. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I consider Dhirubhai Ambani as biggest Motivator. His quality of believing in Big dreams and making them a reality is something drives me. I also get driven by Steve Jobs who had a non-conventional thought process which is a must for every entrepreneur.
19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
I feel Entrepreneurs are not expected to complain or crib on something as its the basic expectation or quality for starting up. Folks working for someone else have great opportunity to learn by owning things the way entrepreneurs own and can eventually jump into being part of start-ups or setting up one as this is needed for the country and society.
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
In this journey, I have made mistakes and learned a lot of things. I will make sure that I don’t repeat that and take few decisions early.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Entrepreneurship does affect your family and social life but then there are a lot of such professions that do so. I think it is all about balancing the action and setting up the right expectations.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
One should not get into entrepreneurship based on success stories that you read but it has to be backed up by firm belief, the genuine problem that you intend to solve and a strong passion for it.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I come from Army background where my father served the Indian Army for 32 years. I was blessed to attend the Sainik School Satara that taught us the real lessons of life. I did my computer science and management education after that.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
Our “Real Time” updating system & Intelligent Queuing algorithm that reduces High waiting time along with “No conflicts” makes us the preferred choice.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
There are multiple threats startups & small business have to live with. Right from attracting good talent to convincing Prospect due to low or no brand value apart from Funding challenges. When you are up to solving some problem that is complex in nature and needs a different approach you certainly need to innovate and build things that are not there and for the same you need good capable resources and they don’t come cheap.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Success is very subjective. We do not consider ourselves successful till date as we still see India wasting around 456Years of equivalent time every single day sitting inside the Waiting rooms for the Doctors. We should be successful on the day when we reduce this time by more that 75%.
27. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person.
Name: Q UP
Address: Q UP, 1 st Floor, Suwas, Beside Hotel Laxman, Opposite lane no 6, Prabhat road, Pune 411004
Phone no- 8999552906
E-Mail- [email protected]
Contact Person – Rahul Sawant