India startup helps track diabetes with smartphones

Mumbai-based startup, Diabe.to, aims to make it easier for diabetic patients to monitor their condition by offering tools that run on Android and iPhone devices.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

Diabetes is one of the most common conditions a lot of Indians have. In fact, India has been the world's diabetes capital for a long time. According to the latest report by Bristol Mayers Squibb, India has over 61.3 million diabetics which is about 8.3 percent of the total population. Worldwide, there are about 366 million people suffering from the disease.

With diabetes such a major problem especially in India, I caught up with Hemanshu Jain, co-founder of Diabeto, who shared some details about the startup. Founded in 2012, it is an early-stage startup with origins in New Jersey, and Mumbai.


The company aims to enable medical devices to leverage mobile technologies including hardware and mobile software for disease or disorder management. Diabeto's first product, also named Diabeto, is a Bluetooth-powered device which enables the transfer of glucose readings taken from a glucometer into mobile app.

Asked how the startup came about, Hemanshu said: "There are a lot of people in our family who are suffering from diabetes, including our parents. We have seen a lot of cases where some of them have lost their readings and doctors complain about managing their readings so they can understand where they are going wrong--whether their diet is a problem or their lifestyle.

"We immediately thought that this is a problem which can be solved with the help of technology and started designing a solution," he said. 

He noted that about 366 million people globally suffer from diabetes which doesn't have a cure yet, so the only option for these people is to better manage their disease.

Currently, diabetics monitor their blood glucose and write their readings in physical diary, and take these to the doctor. It is a very tedious process filled with faults, he added. 

According to Hemanshu, there are products in the North American and European markets which serve as a new glucometer for an iPhone or a cable to transfer readings to an iPhone. Diabeto saw a new market of smartphone users emerging who not only use iPhones but also the Android devices, he said.

"In fact, the number of users on Android in India has drastically increased in the last few years. Hence, we made a product which can be used by most smartphone users of both iPhone and Android, and is not dependent on a single technology in terms of smartphones and the gulcometer devices," he added.

He described Diabeto's key features as follows:

  • It's compatible with both the iPhone and Android devices;
  • The app allows you to choose from a list of 20 compatible glucometers, and another 30-plus glucometers will be added in future as an update;
  • It allows users to include additional information which a traditional glucometer doesn't offer, for example, diet (carbohydrates) intake, physical activities (exercise), moods, stress level, and so on. These are very important factors related to a patient's sugar level;
  • All these data points can then be analyzed graphically;
  • It allows you to create a goal recommended by your doctor and track it easily;
  • It also allows you to share your data with your doctor directly from the app; and 
  • It allows you to store the data on the cloud so your data is never lost even if you device.

Hemanshu plans to sell the Diabeto device directly to patients and also will be tying up with health insurance companies. "Moreover, we will be charging hospitals and other mobile app developers for using our API (application programming interface) so that their electronic health systems would be compatible with our hardware," he added.

The startup also plans to add multiple new features to help users reach their goals and manage their disease more effectively, he said.

Within Diabeto, Hemanshu manages the company's operations, while other core team members include Shreekant Pawar, who's also a co-founder and chief marketing officer handling marketing and sales for the product. Amir Shaikh is co-founder and CEO, overrseeing technology and online advertising.

It sounds like an interesting startup, especially now when health and technology are interspersed to such an extent these days, with apps popping up daily to help you manage your fitness. This one is a very specific app useful for an audience that can be thankful for such a product to come their way. What do you think?

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