In an emotionally charged episode of Shark Tank India, Raghuveer, the visionary founder of Stem Tech Medical Device from Hyderabad, showcased his product that could significantly ease the ordeal of chemotherapy for cancer patients in the country.
His creation, the Eva Scalp Cooling System, is designed to prevent the hair loss commonly associated with cancer treatment, offering patients not just a medical solution but a beacon of hope.
Talking about the ideation, Raghuveer said that the idea came from his personal experience of witnessing his aunt's battle with ovarian cancer. His journey from an engineer with notable stints at Pfizer and Roche to an innovator is both inspiring and remarkable for the emerging entrepreneurs in the country.
According to Raghuveer, The Eva Scalp Cooling System employs a sophisticated pressure cooling technology that cools the scalp to a precise temperature, safeguarding hair follicles from the adverse effects of chemotherapy drugs. This isn't just about preserving hair; it's about maintaining a patient's identity and morale during one of life's toughest battles.
Raghuveer, in a pitch, detailed how this technology works, highlighting its ability to cool the scalp to 17 degrees Celsius, which helps in reducing the chemotherapy drugs' likelihood of reaching and damaging the hair follicles with an efficacy rate of 50%, which according to Namita is much lower than other medical devices which offer 95% efficacy rate.
He sought Rs 30 lakh for 1.2% equity, valuing his company at Rs 25 crore. Explaining the uniqueness of his product, Raghuveer said the design of the product is patented, and they are the first in Asia to launch it.
Discussing the customer base, he mentioned that the company has installed the machine in 12 hospitals across five states, and over a thousand sessions have been conducted. The hospital charges for one session with this device range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,000.
He added that the device can perform 100 sessions per month and costs Rs 13 lakh, which is nearly half of what competitors charge.
Despite the device's cost of Rs 13 lakh, Raghuveer emphasized its affordability and approval by oncology guidelines and regulatory bodies, making a strong case for its adoption.
The financials Raghuveer presented were promising, with revenues jumping from Rs 22.5 lakh in FY23 to Rs 59 lakh in the current year (April to November 2023) and a gross margin of 85%. He projected the company's revenue for FY24 to be Rs 1.2 crore.
Raghuveer also revealed his company's funding history, including a seed grant from the Department of Biotechnology and investments at increasing valuations, pointing to the startup's potential and the strategic importance of using the funds to get FDA approval to enhance credibility and market reach.
Beyond the numbers, Raghuveer said his mission is to change the narrative around cancer treatment, allowing patients to fight cancer with confidence and dignity.
The sharks were deeply moved by Raghuveer's pitch. Anupam Mittal praised his effort to change the identity of cancer patients, highlighting the emotional and psychological impact of the device.
Namita Thapar and Aman Gupta, initially skeptical, were convinced by the involvement of the former Pfizer India chief on Raghuveer's advisory board. They both initially offered Rs 30 lakh for 2% equity but Ritesh Agarwal said he will give Rs 30 lakh for 1.2% equity.
Besides investing, Ritesh Agarwal said he would introduce his two friends who run cancer facilities in Gurgaon. To which Namita replied, "Aapko pata hai aapke do dost hai aur mere 2000", which in English reads ", You know you have two friends, and I have 2000."
Anupam Mittal humorously said, "Chal bhai, bahut bahut badhiya... Kya baat hai, Raghuveer ji, aapne toh jaadu kar diya sharks par." However, Mittal opted out due to concerns about market size and demand creation in the country. Namita, too, backed out of the deal.
But Aman Gupta, Namita Thapar, and Ritesh Agarwal offered Rs 30 lakhs for 1.8% equity, which Raghuveer accepted.
You can watch the full video below: