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#213: Ankit Gupta: Overcoming the Stigma of Opioid Addiction Using Telemedicine

Healthcare Entrepreneur Academy Podcast

Release Date: 10/14/2021

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OVERVIEW:

Jason A. Duprat, Entrepreneur, Healthcare Practitioner, and Host of the Healthcare Entrepreneur Academy podcast talks with Ankit Gupta, founder, and CEO of Bicycle Health. Ankit looks back on his experiences with Pulse News and LinkedIn, sharing advice for people thinking about starting their own business. He talks about launching Bicycle Health and his passion for treating opioid use disorder. 

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Ankit grew up in Mumbai, India. He always enjoyed writing code and programming. He discovered his passion for user-centric design while working on his master’s at Stanford. 
  • Ankit noticed when people read news online, they had to open and toggle between different tabs across various publications. To solve this problem, he created the mobile app Pulse News. 
  • Pulse News started as a standalone app and later became the foundation for LinkedIn’s news feed, which creates a personalized newspaper for users. 
  • When it comes to solving a problem, Ankit advises entrepreneurs to take user feedback to heart. 
  • He also believes a small team of dedicated people can create more value than a company with hundreds of employees.
  • Ankit worked at LinkedIn for 3 years, integrating the news app and also working on startup projects on the B2B side of the company.
  • He left LinkedIn and traveled for two years, pursuing educational opportunities and spending time with his family. During these two years, he learned about the problems in healthcare and technology while working on a project with a nonprofit in India.
  • He launched Bicycle Health to treat opioid use disorder utilizing telemedicine. Ankit learned about the problems surrounding this disorder while shadowing an anesthesiologist.
  • A special license is needed to prescribe suboxone. Clinics offering this treatment can only treat 30 to 100 patients in the first year—275 patients max after that.
  • Ankit was the initial developer of Bicycle Health, but more than writing code, he enjoyed growing the business.
  • COVID accelerated the demand for telemedicine. Regulations have changed as well so Bicycle Health works with a law firm to be able to meet this demand.
  • Ankit created a nonprofit, Docs and Hackers, to improve the practice of medicine with technology. 

3 KEY POINTS:

  1. The Pulse News app, which aggregates news articles, started out as a school project, became a full-blown business, and was later acquired by LinkedIn.
  2. The stigma on addiction gets in the way of accessing treatment so Bicycle Health became an online provider of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.
  3. Building a solution and going into entrepreneurship is easy once you identify the population you want to help and understand what their needs and desires are.

TWEETABLE QUOTES:

“It’s more about really understanding who your users are as a human being.” - Ankit Gupta

“The issues around convenience, affordability, privacy, and access are something that telemedicine can really help overcome.” - Ankit Gupta

“Entrepreneurship is a really satisfying job.” - Ankit Gupta

RESOURCES:

Ankit Gupta’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ankitgupta00/

Bicycle Health: https://www.bicyclehealth.com/

Foley & Lardner LLP: https://www.foley.com/en

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