Our startup stories now share an interview with Argentinean entrepreneur Agustina Fainguersch, the creator of Muzi, which is an innovative platform that has been described as the “Uber of health” and aims at bringing medical clinics closer to patients.
When was the startup created? Which were its goals?
Muzi tries to democratize and decentralize medical diagnosis in a bid to detect and treat diseases in an early stage, beginning with developing countries. The first version of Muzi included the HIV diagnosis, since it was initially conceived to work in South Africa and this is one of the main problems in the region, but the idea is to eventually turning it into something completely independent from hardware and type of disease in order to have a positive impact on more people. Muzi was founded in June 2016 during the Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, at NASA’s campus in Silicon Valley.
How does the app work?
The app is a platform that combines image recognition with machine learning and artificial intelligence in an effort to put diagnosis specialists in contact with patients by taking clinics to the patients instead of patients to clinics. A diagnosis specialist can be called by a patient in a proper moment to go through different medical exams. Muzi uses those medical exams to generate a report on the patient’s health and diagnose diseases in an early stage, as well as to issue forecasts on the social-economic performance of the region.
Once the diagnosis test is done, if it’s necessary and by means of geo-localization, the patient is sent to the nearest clinic to be properly treated. After the diagnosis is issued, the patient must be treated and provided daily monitoring, so Muzi opens a medical record of the patient, sends reminders and tips. Moreover, Muzi generates jobs, since every time diagnosis specialists apply a test, they are paid a fee. The fee varies depending on patient’s location, so the system can pay higher fees to those diagnosis specialists that do their job in areas of difficult access, thus fostering their presence in areas that are not usually treated. This is an important value added, especially in some regions of Africa where the access is complicated and clinics are based far from areas where many people require their services. On the other hand, the patients that decide to have a HIV test are rewarded with some credit in their cellphone, thus fostering the early detection and treatment of HIV and other diseases.
What can you tell me about your main results in 2016?
In 2016 we were focused on putting our team together, validating some of our hypothesis and creating the first version of Muzi. We presently have a multidisciplinary team, distributed in several strategic cities. We also have a technological team with Wolox, who developed the first version of Muzi to be tested soon. We are already working on a second iteration with some modifications.
What are your plans for 2017?
2017 is going to be a validation year for us, a year of iteration and fundraising. The main goal is to test our product and see if it is accepted by the people, so we can work on future iterations to solve the problem. We’ll also try to test it in other countries to define common patterns and elements to be modified. We need a seed round to do this.
What do you make of the startup ecosystem in Argentina?
The Argentinean startup ecosystem is one of the most developed areas in Latin America. After I spent some time in Silicon Valley, I noticed that the Argentinean ecosystem has great potential. The country’s situation and context make things be more complex than they should, but the tireless fight to get what they want with low resources strengthened Argentinean entrepreneurs and their startup ecosystem. This is priceless and if we make work in a more collaborative way, it could gain momentum within a few years and position Argentina as a world-level hub for entrepreneur.
How was your experience in Singularity University?
Singularity was a unique experience and surpassed my expectations. One of the most important things to highlight is the human quality around you. Professors, the organizing staff and especially students make up the experience. The program wouldn’t be the same with the people were not the right ones. Each of them has a unique story and plays a leading role. Since there are 80 people from 41 countries, each activity triggers a debate. That’s because diversity provides different approaches and the need to be open for other opinions and cultures. Living in NASA is a one-of-a-kind experience, an inspiring one. Being in Silicon Valley helps you have access to key players on the matter you are tackling, so you get faster feedback and validate hypothesis.
On the other hand, the network of mentors and professors at Singularity University is exceptional and gives great value. It helped me grow as a professional and as a human. It was a truly intense, inspiring and fascinating experience. I will never forget it and I learned a lot.
5 TIPS TO BE SHARED WITH OTHER STARTUPS…
I usually give startups pieces of advice in a more customized way, after I learn what they do and meet the members of their team. My 5 general tips would be:
Having a good team: These people will accompany your routine and moments of stress, joy, frustration, anxiety, anger, and they’ll help you build your dream. I believe that having a good team is a key element, even more important than the idea as such. That’s why many investors put their money in people, instead of ideas.
Knowing that it’s a five-year commitment at least, full life: A startup is not something you create overnight, but you build it with sweat, passion and devotion. When joining this adventure, it’s important to know that you have at least five years of work.
Doing what fascinates you: If entrepreneurs don’t do what fascinate them, they die in the attempt. It’s very hard to work on something you don’t have a passion for, since you end up devoting most of your life to that project.
Formulating hypothesis and validating them before beginning to work: I like doing things as fast as possible, but there are certain hypothesis that need to be validated before you invest resources and time. An enterprising team should devoted the first months to the formulation of hypothesis and their validation, so they can later create a product to be tested and iterated until they get what they want.
Doing the right questions: Good entrepreneurs do the right questions. Beginning with the why and following with the what, how and who; those should be the questions. The “why” must be answered in any moment, since that’s the reason why the entrepreneur choses to be there day after day.