Episode 11: Rahul Modi, Founder & CEO, Envision

Rahul is a health-tech optimist, serial entrepreneur, and biomedical engineer. His affinity for (sensible) innovation is only challenged by his predilection for building customer-obsessed companies. He's a dream-catcher with unbridled curiosity and a strong operator who enjoys delivering value in large markets ripe for change. Humble beginnings not only keep him anchored, but shape the distinct perspective he brings to the table.

Rahul has spent the better half of this decade researching, developing, and commercializing products across the continuum of care. Most notably with an emphasis on ophthalmic / optometric applications spanning biotech and medical devices to software. Through this journey, he's had the privilege of collaborating with respected institutions and distinguished leaders within our field and beyond.

His foray into vision care (besides his first eyeglass prescription) began at EyeGate Pharma. Back then, it was an early clinical-stage company using transscleral iontophoresis to administer optimal levels of therapeutic drug into targeted ocular tissue. One application of such technology is tackling anterior uveitis with improved bioavailability and reduced frequency of dosages. There, he was exposed to the sobering reality of startups and learned what it takes to bring medical breakthroughs to market. Today, EyeGate Pharma is publicly traded (NASDAQ: EYEG) with a second product in the pipeline that leverages CMHA-S (cross-linked hydrogel polymers) via topically-applied drops to manage corneal epithelial defects.

More recently, Rahul was the director and founding member of EyeNetra – an MIT Media Lab spinout recognized worldwide for pioneering smartphone-powered refractions to serve the 4.5B individuals in need of vision correction. It's commonly cited that more than half of said populace remains uncorrected to this day. At EyeNetra, he contributed to the development of 4 products from inception, honed their go-to-market strategy, and architected a successful platform for global growth. Thousands of units were both sold and shipped to eye care professionals in over 90 countries within a span of 36 months. By maintaining lean operations, the company eventually became cash flow positive – a rarity at the intersection of hardware, software, and healthcare in an overcapitalized climate. The team also explored a first of its kind model for teleoptometry and spent years in deep R&D, clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and manufacturing prior to commercialization. Confronted along the way were countless moments fraught with uncertainty including an abundance of failures. To-date, this technology suite has facilitated 5 million refractions and a quarter-million connected exams (and counting). It would be remiss not to mention the smiles conjured of millions more from the friends, families, and caretakers of patients.

EyeNetra is backed by an eponymous Silicon Valley firm alongside the largest vision insurance provider in the US. As they continue to scale, Rahul is thrilled to take a step backwards and announce his next chapter with the bootstrapped launch of Envision – a B2B marketplace for mobile diagnostics/care essentials. Go follow their adventures on Instagram. Rahul aspires to resuscitate his Twitter feed and curate his musings someday. You can reach him at rahul@envision.bz to share your ideas, feedback, and stories. He’d love to hear from you! Learn more.