S.L.Sivareena, Cofounder & COO – PregBuddy
S.L.Sivareena is the Cofounder & COO of one of the fastest growing healthcare startup in India called PregBuddy. It’s a care continuum platform between doctors and their expecting patients throughout their 9 months of pregnancy. They have helped over 60,000 expecting mothers so far.
Sivareena started her career in 2015 at a startup called Furlenco where she managed their supply chain and operations. During her tenure, she helped them grow 2x in annual turnover and expanded them to 4 metro cities in India.
A graduate in Engineering from the premier institute – IIT Kharagpur, she worked on 2 global projects at PepsiCo’s Global Innovation division during her college days. She also co-founded Public Relations Cell where they partnered with top media houses across India and abroad, to increase the digital outreach of IIT Kharagpur to over 10Mn students globally. She has been an active contributor to social cause by working at AIESEC where she led 3 community development projects in the rural villages across 3 states in India. She is passionate about the healthcare space and the possibilities to bring about a positive change in people’s lives.
“Everyday we’ve at least 100 mothers who are delivering their babies after using PregBuddy. I’m passionate about the healthcare space and the possibilities to bring about a positive change in people’s lives”, she adds.
Read the interview below to know more from her journey.
How did you get your idea or concept for the PregBuddy?
We started PregBuddy when one of my cousins underwent a miscarriage in her 4th 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 gynaecologist chambers. We connected them together on WhatsApp over a group, let it run for 5 months and observed what kind of support they were seeking from each other. We didn’t write a single piece of code until the WhatsApp group was crossing 100,000 conversations a month; we decided to go full time and built a pregnancy application by PregBuddy, which 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 worked more and more in this space, we also found out how there is a gap of continued care between a Gynaecologist and their expecting patients; which is when we built our second product called “Connected Care” for doctors.
Who has been your biggest inspiration? Why?
My biggest inspiration has been our users. Over the past 1.5 years we’ve seen the impact of our product on expecting mothers’ lives. We receive over 10 emails everyday thanking us for being their buddy and sharing their newborn’s images. This provides us immense satisfaction and boost to our team to do more.
Do you face any challenges as a women entrepreneur? How did you overcome them?
The challenges are same with people of both the genders. Entrepreneurship in itself comes with an indefinite set of challenges like hiring the right team, getting the right investors, on boarding more customers and more. It becomes a lonely journey until you find right cofounders, right mentors and constant peer to peer support that makes the journey easier.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to build a strong network in the startup community. When I and my team started getting recognised by Google, Facebook, NASSCOM etc, I got connected to more and more communities of entrepreneurs. These networks helped me build my business, my team, onboard the best angel investors and advisors and get access to resources from Google & Facebook.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
The one piece of advice I would give to anyone who is starting out is “to be bold & ask”.
The worse outcome would be a no. The startup ecosystem is so mature that everyone in this journey understands the challenges and is open to help. One cannot be an expert in all fields and the gap is filled in by asking this network.
Tell us about your most cherished milestone that makes you happy and proud.
Few 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 peer emotional support throughout her labour. She delivered a healthy baby and was thankful to our community and PregBuddy for the support and reassurance. This was a very gratifying moment for me.
Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
I’m extremely positive about the technological impact on the Indian healthcare system. With PregBuddy, we aim to improve the lives of over 10Mn mothers throughout their journey of motherhood by 2020.