I graduated from IIM Bangalore in 1994 after completing my engineering from the Indian Institute of Science with an emphasis on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Power Systems. I have always had an interest in the intersection of technology and business. Since 1994, I have worked with various technology consulting firms like Cap Gemini, Infosys and Pactera on projects for Fortune 500 clients across North America, Europe and the APAC region. My primary emphasis has been using technology for transformation in the insurance industry.
nestCARE started because my co-founder (Sig) and I were looking to solve a personal problem. My co-founder is from Norway and I am from India and both have ageing parents and relatives back home. Ageing is a process – there is no medical fix for it – that needs to be managed. Out of the 5000+ waking hours in an year, only 2-3 hours are spent in the physician’s office. However, there are decisions and actions (and inactions) taken on a daily basis that impact health. From adherence to prescription medication to activity regimen, to regular monitoring of vitals and the most important continued social interaction with a geographically dispersed family. Healthcare (for all and especially for the elderly) is very paternalistic and non-participatory. Family and friends are not able to step in to take care of the individual – for different reasons in different markets. We set out to solve this problem when we realized that the capacity constraint in the healthcare systems is begging for a solution that puts health management along with AI based preliminary diagnosis next to the consumer – anytime, anywhere.
nestCARE is an AI platform for preliminary diagnosis. There are three fundamental tenets of nestCARE –
a)democratization of health data : we believe that health data should not only reside in the health system but should be with the consumer and should be free to “roam” based on consumer preference.
b)the role of health care advocates : before the doctor steps in, there are other individuals who have a vested interest in making sure that you are healthy - these are your family and friends. nestCARE tries to bring them together regardless of geographical separation to have a view into your data as well as participate in encouraging and motivating you to stay healthy
c) AI for predictive, preliminary diagnosis : nestCARE aims to look at 5000 hours of data outside of the doctor’s office to create a predictive health model. nestCARE provides better health outcomes and peace of mind through a) stronger ownership of health data and bringing family and friends closer and b) providing them with intelligent / predictive health monitoring anytime, anywhere.
We have a B2C and a B2B2C distribution strategy. We go live on B2C by 31st March, 2017 with our website www.mynest.care and are already working with partners like the American Heart Association. The pricing is structured to eliminate purchase barriers and for $9.99.month, we provide our devices for vitals as well as the app for medication adherence, wellness management and analytics.
nestCARE is a pre-revenue startup. While we are headquartered in Wisconsin, the teams are spread across Colorado, Maryland and Texas with suppliers in China and India.
We were founded in February 2016 and incorporated as C-Corp in April 2016. Choosing the right business partner was easy – someone I knew for more than a decade and someone who brought with him equal amounts of passion and a good heart to the table.
I also founded Startup Grind in Milwaukee, WI in 2016 with the goal of inspiring mid-to-senior level professionals to take the proverbial leap into the startup world. I believe the success rates of startups will be far higher with the injection of experience in the founding team. We have now created a goal to get Milwaukee to the top 10 tech hubs in the country in 10 year – ‘10-in-10’. Heavily influenced by Brad Feld’s book, we are trying to build a more vibrant community in the city. I enjoy the time that I spend with Startup Grind. It’s a break from the roller coaster ride of my own venture and allows me to network with some of the sharpest minds around. It’s a learning opportunity and an opportunity to give back to the my community.
I spent 23 odd years working for others and solving one client problem after other. I did some great work and some not so great - like anyone else. Worked with some good firms and some not so good. A lot of good people and some not so good.
This experience, however, is very different.
What drives you and motivates you is the fact that you are not just solving a problem - you are also creating a culture that will sustain the product for in the long run - and with very limited resources. The learning in the process of creating nestCARE has been far more significant than in the previous 23. Everything - and not just what you may have specialized in or what your favorite subjects were - that you learn in business school (and all that you were supposed to and didn’t) comes to application in the startup world. And that’s been phenomenally different from the corporate experience.
There have been so many moments which have given us goosebumps. But perhaps the most thrilling and exciting ones have been – a) the first investment check b) the first corporate video and c) the first customer contract. The common thread amongst all of them being “reality”. Each one of these events made nestCARE seem more and more real. While days (and nights) are made of equal parts confidence, hope, anxiety, apprehension, anticipation and gut-wrenching fear, these are the events that made us look forward to the next day and kept us going.
The biggest lessons that this journey has taught me have been all about people.
a) Network like hell. Meet as many people as you can – best way to find angels, evangelists, advisors, co-founders, employees.
b) Focus on the person and not the transaction with him/her.
c) Focus on the person and not the transaction with him/her. People are good but, obviously, have differing motivations. Focus on what drives them and you will achieve faster alignment with / participation in your venture.
d) Find and onboard your advisors early – if done right, they can be a major multiplier in your efforts to get your product out.
I am often asked if I have any advice for would-be-entrepreneurs. I don’t think I have reached a stage where I can start advising them. There’s still a lot to learn. A couple of things that I suggest are:
e) Do it only if you really want to and not because you did not have an option or it’s a cool thing to do. And once you decide, commit 100% to it and strap yourself in for a roller coaster ride. It’s not going to be easy but don’t give up – you will see it through.
f) Stick to your guiding principles. Why are you doing this? What will it achieve – as a company and for you? There will be lot of temptations to deviate from your principles but in the end you will be better off if you stick with them.
g) Don't forget to take a deep breath once in a while. You will need it!
Sanjay Mohan is a graduate of IIM Bangalore 1992-94 and is currently looking for a Chief Marketing Officer with experience in digital and social marketing for his venture - nestCARE (The views expressed herein are those of Sanjay Mohan and do not necessarily reflect the views of IIM Americas or its Board of Directors. IIM Americas, as a matter of policy, disclaims responsibility for any publication or statement herein.)
Founder & Ceo. NestCare