Entrepreneurship comes with an indefinite set of challenges, regardless of your gender

Sivareena is transforming the way medical care is delivered by making it proactive from providers to their patients. She talks about her startup’s key achievements, entrepreneurship, healthcare and much more

Entrepreneurship comes with an indefinite set of challenges, regardless of your gender

Sivareena SL, co-founder and COO of PregBuddy, has set out to transform the lives of pregnant women in India and give them the much-needed reassurance and support in their journey towards motherhood. With more than 80,000 women already on board, this bootstrapped startup is charging ahead in spite of the ‘indefinite set of challenges’ coming its way.

With a strong belief that one should grab every unique opportunity that comes their way, Sivareena wants to change the face of care delivery across the globe. In a freewheeling conversation, she talks about her dream for PregBuddy, the challenges of entrepreneurship, enriching the lives of expecting and new mothers, and more.

Excerpts: 

Can you tell us about PregBuddy? What was the genesis of the idea?

We started PregBuddy when one of my cousins underwent a miscarriage in the fourth month of her pregnancy. Her entire family went through a period of mental distress. This is when we started working on this domain. As none of us were parents, we met 200-250 expecting mothers at hospitals in front of gynaecologists’ chambers. We connected them on a WhatsApp group and let it run for five months. We observed what kind of support they were seeking from each other. 

We didn’t write a single piece of code until the WhatsApp group started crossing 1,00,000 conversations a month. Based on our research and the data we gleaned from these conversations, we decided to get into it full-time and build our pregnancy application PregBuddy. This was the first peer-to-peer instant reassurance platform for expecting mothers based on their location, trimester, language, region, and past medical conditions. 

As we dove further into this space, we found a gap in the continuum of care between gynaecologists and their expecting patients. This is when we built our second product ‘Connected Care’ for doctors, by means of which expecting mothers get personalised care throughout their nine months of pregnancy. 

What have been the startup’s key achievements? Can you share a customer experience that strengthened your belief in PregBuddy?

Currently, we have over 80,000 expecting mothers using PregBuddy. Since the launch of Connected Care in April this year, we have onboarded three early hospital partners, which has been helpful in accelerating our learning. We now have two multi-city clients in the pipeline and will be going pan-India in a couple of months. 

Some months back, an expecting mother used PregBuddy from her delivery bed during her 12-hour-long labour. She reached out to our community and got constant emotional peer support throughout her labour. She delivered a healthy baby and was thankful to our community and PregBuddy for the support and reassurance. This was one of the most gratifying moments for our team. 

Being a women entrepreneur, did you face any challenges in your startup journey – societal and professional? 

I believe the challenges are same with people of both genders. Entrepreneurship in itself comes with an indefinite set of challenges – hiring the right team, getting the right investors, onboarding more customers, etc. It’s a lonely journey until you find the right co-founders, the right mentors, and constant peer-to-peer support. Thankfully, I’ve been able to build a strong network in the startup community. 

When PregBuddy started getting recognised by TechSparks, Google, Facebook, NASSCOM, etc. I connected to more and more like-minded entrepreneurs. These networks helped me build my business and my team, and onboard the best angel investors and advisors, and get access to resources from Google and Facebook. 

How is technology revolutionizing healthcare? 

The healthcare industry in India is in a nascent stage of technology adoption. We want to be the enabling platform for clinical communication between providers and patients, integrate into their workflows, and become a platform to plug in any care services – like Slack did for business communication. We’re transforming the way care is delivered by making care delivery proactive from providers to their patients. 

How have Indian mothers benefited from your services? 

Indian mothers are now connected not just with their own care providers, care team, and their hospital, but also with peers sharing a similar journey. It’s a one-stop platform for them to get medical and emotional reassurance throughout their nine months of pregnancy. 

What is your vision for PregBuddy? 

We aim to enhance the care delivery process by assisting the key stakeholders – management, care providers, and care assistants – in a hospital with our smart platforms. 

In the future, we aim to expand our offerings to other verticals as that has been a constant request from all our clients. We don’t intend to limit ourselves to care continuum and patient retention; we will also be assisting our stakeholders in care coordination, smarter patient outreach, faster care decisions, and care programs. 

We see great potential for our product in the global market as well, where care providers are moving towards more connected and accessible care delivery.

Note: PregBuddy is a startup backed by Rajan Anandan (MD Google India & VP South-East Asia), Jayant Kadambi (Chairman of YuMe, LP for US & India Venture Funds), Madhu Kannan (CBO of Uber India), Puneet Gupt (COO of Times Internet Limited), Bikky Khosla (CEO of TradeIndia.in), Rekha Menon (Chairman & Senior MD of Accenture India), Raman Roy (Chairman - NASSCOM), Pradeep JaiSingh (Chairman of HealthStart) and Indian Angel Network (largest angel network in India), they have been awarded by actor Akshay Kumar, DST- Govt of India and healthcare & onboarded few business experts as advisors. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the interview are personal and do not reflect the views of TomorrowMakers.

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