April 03, 2016

Three Network Innovators Collaborate to Help Others

Over the past five years, innovators attending the Innovations in Healthcare Annual Forum have forged new collaborations with investors, funders, policymakers, academics and most importantly – each other.

This year, three of our returning innovators to the Forum have joined efforts to create a new consulting firm– We Scale Impact—that aligns closely with the mission of Innovations in Healthcare.

 Ashwin Naik, the Founder and Director of Vaatsalya, a chain of hospitals in India, was looking for ways to contribute back to the community as he transitioned away from the day-to-day responsibilities of his growing company and had the idea of harnessing his experiences and connections to help other organizations overcome some of the hurdles he has faced in the past. Through a series of conversations, he discovered that Ting Shih, CEO and Founder of ClickMedix and Alden Zecha, Co-Founder, Director and former CFO of Sproxil, shared a similar urge to contribute back.

 As a result of those conversations We Scale Impact was born. Naik, Shih and Zecha hope to help other organizations – including global healthcare start-ups, investors, and others working in this space – to move ideas to impact. The three of them have expertise in public-private partnerships, fundraising, business model development and evaluation, scaling and growth strategies, process and systems planning, healthcare technologies, and investments, and have worked in more than 15 countries spanning every commercial continent.

When asked why he istaking this step of helping other entrepreneurs rather than moving on to a new business venture Naik said: “I have had the privilege of learning from so many of my peers during my journey of building Vaatsalya, and I was looking for concrete ways to share that learning.”  He added, “My interests are particularly in healthcare, social enterprise and impact investing and We Scale Impact made a lot of sense at this point in my life.”  While Naik continues to be on the board of Vaatsalya, he is no longer involved in day to day operations. He now spends most of his time at Ashoka as the Leadership Group Member, in addition to being an advisor to the healthcare fund at Unitus Seed Fund and few other startup initiatives like Disrupt Health.

“We Scale Impact is an initiative where Ting, Alden and I see ourselves providing help in scaling impact on a very selective basis to a key set of partners. So in a sense its not a full-time occupation for any of us, but we believe that this is in alignment with what we have learned and are currently engaged with,” Naik said.

Zecha currently serves as Executive in Residence at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and an MBA Career Coach at Brandeis University.  He sees a link between this academic work and We Scale Impact. “This year alone I’ve presented at both the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke Fuqua School of Business. All of my endeavors are focused on leveraging my international business experiences to help others, whether students, executives, government officials or patients,” Zecha said.

Shih said starting this new endeavor is in line with ClickMedix's vision of helping over one billion patients get better access to quality healthcare. “By working with fellow innovators, we hope to share our know-how to accelerate the adoption at scale of digital and mobile health interventions,” Shih said.

When asked what sort of impact the group would like to see in the next two years, Shih said, “I hope to have increased the reach of innovative and cost-effective health services by tenfold.”

Shih, Zecha, and Naik are excited to start this new initiative together. We at Innovations in Healthcare wish them luck and are curious to see which innovators connect, collaborate and learn together at this year’s Annual Forum. Stay tuned….