Fireside chat with Dr. Himanshu Bhatia and Piyush Sadana, Founders RICOVR


Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss about their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

RICOVR is a Princeton-based innovative company developing a highly sensitive point-of-care rapid diagnostics platform with broad applications from THC detection to COVID19. Company’s patented biosensor technology uses a small drop of saliva to provide high quality results in under 5 minutes. Company boasts a distinguished advisory board and management team of scientists and engineers committed to improving human health outcomes and making a positive impact on society.

Founder and CEO Dr. Himanshu Bhatia (HB) is a physician-scientist and has an extensive background in clinical medicine, basic sciences, and medical devices. He has also published many scientific publications & book chapters and is a Forbes author.
Co-Founder and COO Piyush Sadana (PS) is a Serial Entrepreneur with extensive background in Investment Banking, Business Development, and Product Management. He has successful track record of scaling new businesses for early stage as well as Fortune500 companies.

What’s the story behind RICOVR Healthcare?

HB: RICOVR, fitting with its name, was started to create diagnostic tools to help restore, regain and improve health. As a scientist and a physician, I saw a huge gap in innovation in the diagnostics space. With a background in research and with some luck I was able to find a robust technology with a huge potential. Combined with that and finding my cofounder it was a dream team that has been able to achieve great feats in a short time.

PS: I met Dr. Himanshu Bhatia 4 years ago at a coworking space in Princeton and was impressed with his background in launching healthcare products. I too saw the needs Himanshu saw for improvements in the diagnostic space and the need for companies and medical providers to have information faster and at a lower cost than previously available. RICOVR Healthcare was a direct response to that need.

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

HB: Bringing a new technology from a lab bench to the commercial space involves a lot of moving parts coming together. We are proud to be working on a futuristic technology, but each step has its challenges and a learning experience. This was particularly evident in the initial stages when the final product was not so clearly defined, and we needed investor support to move from idea to prototype. Explaining something that is markedly different than what exists and all its potential benefits to potential investors can be difficult. Fortunately, we were successful with that task.

PS: Building hardware products is tough, medical devices are even more difficult. It was challenging to convince early investors to sign up for our vision. We needed to find the right people who could see where this could go and were willing to take the journey with us.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

HB: Undoubtedly, I am immensely proud of the team and the people behind our venture. But I am most proud of the research and science behind our technology and to be able to give shape to a concept. Seeing the work and passion everyone put into creating XALIVA and its test has been the most fulfilling part of it all.

PS: The team and advisory board we have assembled. We have achieved years of work in just a few months. Even with the setbacks of COVID shutdowns, we have seen remarkable progress. The whole team is passionate about the mission and appreciates the societal impact of our products.

What is your vision for the future of RICOVR Healthcare?

HB: We want RICOVR to be the most reliable diagnostics technology provider that delivers solutions that can benefit the masses. We want to change the landscape of testing and help bring lab quality results at the palm of every hand.

PS: We want to be the market leader in point-of-care diagnostics. We started with THC and COVID, but the platform is scalable to other biomarkers for infectious diseases and drugs-of-abuse testing. Our north star is to improve the quality of human health with our innovative, accurate, and easy-to-use products.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

HB: Starting and running a business is never easy. These are certainly trying times for everyone but it’s not impossible to find the right opportunity and adapt to the changing world. Perseverance, patience, and passion will make the tides turn in your favor.

PS:  Be focused and don’t run after every shining object. It will take longer for your next sales or fundraising deal to close. Therefore, keep the burn low and maintain a runway of at least 18 months.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

HB: “Dealing with the Elephant in the Room” by Mike Bechtle. I am fascinated with this book that helps with the very crucial aspect of communication, which is the key in any relationship.

PS: Apple News is a godsend for me as I like to stay abreast with current affairs. I am a voracious consumer of WSJ and weekly magazines. I just finished Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and picked up Startup Land – Story of ZenDesk by Mikkel Svane. These books about the journey in people’s lives and careers are extremely insightful for me and my own journey.

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