At a time when rock-breaking space exploration and terraforming Mars are topically paramount, Ragav represents a new generation of entrepreneurs who bring the exploratory focus back to the equally important impact of the every day. Currently a fifth-year medical student at UCL, the young pioneer is the co-founder of Kickstart London, a company that accelerates student start-ups across the buzzing city.
The innovative projects the company has supported include: a subscriptionbased service for shared household essentials that allow students to fairly decide who buys the amenities, a niche dating site that caters to the specific nuances of the African community, and a property app that allows students to sublet housing both legally and safely, in accordance with landlords, while they are away. Before this, Ragav had also led the UCL Entrepreneurs Society “to raise £15,000 and managed the society’s fund to invest £7000+ in other student ventures.” This institutional body is now recognised as the Best UK University Enterprise Society. However, Ragav is more than a driving force, also in the midst of creating his own beneficial enterprise.
Again, along with a few fellow students, respectively from Oxford and UCL, Ragav observed the desperate situation when it came to heart failure in the capital’s different hospital wards, and is now “working to solve the monitoring of chronic heart diseases” so that prevention is optimal before that dire outcome. “The cost of managing heart failure is extremely high,” he told us, in addition of course, to the stress caused to individuals and their families. “As a result, we are working on a prototype which draws from the existing technology of smartphones and centres on data analytics. We will be able to identify the deterioration in patients early on so the sufferer can act quickly within their means.” On the subject of being influenced by wearable and portable technology, such as intuitive watches and mobiles, the ‘Medtrepreneur’ elaborated: “it’s useful to be able to measure clinical detail such as heart rates, how far you have walked and the amount of sleep one gets on the go, but at the same time there is an overwhelming amount of information. Part of our research into tracking heart conditions will be how we interpret the general data using our particular expertise. We will analyse the trends to help make a diagnosis. Another way of gathering sound information would be designing surveys that ask the patient to answer clinical criteria as if they’re sitting with their GP. We want to make the abundance of knowledge actionable.”
By addressing healthcare, the more immediate needs of people, and even revisiting established tech territory then, Ragav and his ideas forward the cause for invigorating quality of life. There can be a very progressive future if more traditional professions are practiced with their remedial digital solutions. Ragav commented: “it is certainly an exciting time because tech and business need not be at odds with older vocations such as medicine and law. A rapidly growing population means there will be an excessive number of people across the world where providing access to vital and ancillary services will be a challenge. If we do continue to be more responsible with our technology, we can democratise convenience, caring for people in rural areas and hyper-crowded cities. With effective regulation, electronic advances can prove a really powerful adjunct given the increasing strain on population.” Ragav’s precocious yet down-to-earth ethos extends to his natural journey into entrepreneurship: “my background is in medical physics and bioengineering, but when I moved to London I was exposed to so many different people that it inevitably broadened my perspective. I began to attend a variety of social events, from economic meet-ups to science and all the subjects in-between. Mixing what I knew and learning from new people allowed me to visualise anew. I will always place maths and physics at the heart of my work but other fields and skillsets will continue to shape it.” Thus, a young entrepreneur with an expansive outlook, Ragav speaks for an age where social consciousness begins to merge with more exclusive imagination, such as AI and academic pursuits.
“I can see myself moving to biotech,” he aptly finished. “It’s a very niche area as it stands, and I would enter into more training, but I'd love to be at the forefront of science, helping so many at once.” Tell us more about Kickstart London? It is the first student organisation that supports start-ups. I co-founded it with a couple of good friends from LSE. We saw that university goers were struggling to meet likeminded people who would nurture their ambitions and help bring their ideas to market. We back students from ideation of concepts to pitching by providing an intensive programme with senior mentors and industry leaders, and also give them an opportunity to present to investors at the end. So far, we have supported over 20 wonderful student start-ups. We match ideas to skills amongst the student population. You might have a great concept but not the ability. We help people work together to solve different problems.
What is a tip for young entrepreneurs who want to protect and grow an idea? When you’re starting out, you might want to protect your ideas, but the most powerful way to develop them is to talk to as many people, especially experts, as possible. The benefit of receiving valuable feedback far outweighs the possibility that your idea will be stolen. You’ll be able to detect flaws early on and maximise the potential of your thoughts, and have a concept that is worth patenting!
Is PR as important as having a really good idea? Some have a great product but trip up with social media etc. Yes, in that a good product should be put out into the world, but doing the full extent of market research is important too. If you don’t do that before you start marketing, you will most likely get stuck. Good research involves knowing your target audience really well, and who you are selling to. That informs the image and makes the product altogether more accessible. Finally, what’s your favourite part of your current work? It’s exciting, and I get to meet such amazing people with great talents. I also get to grow my own skills, discovering ability that I didn’t even know about. It’s rewarding to be part of something bigger than you.