Updated 09 September 20
For those living abroad with an ageing parent left behind, trying to take care of them from a distance is hard. Especially, if they become ill. This experience can be emotionally distressing as researching services and medical professionals from afar can be difficult and time consuming. Knowing all too well what that’s like is founder, Bharat. Working with Nova he is developing ParentCare, a digital health platform designed to help expats procure trusted medical and care services for their relatives back in their country of origin. This is his story.
Including preparing for the arrival of his first child, In 2017 Bharat was struck with the devastating news that his mother had been diagnosed with Cancer. As his wife was heavily pregnant, he knew it would be impossible for them to travel back to India in order to be with his mother. “It was important to me that I support my parents but I could not have left my pregnant wife alone in London.” He explains, “How I wished I could have been at both the places at the same time!”
The months following her diagnosis, Bharat's mother’s time was filled with endless doctor appointments, diagnostic tests, as well as conventional and holistic treatments. Living in the UK, Bharat felt like he was never fully in the know of her progress and couldn’t contribute as much as he wanted to.
Organising home care and medical appointments overshadowed the family’s quality time together. Phone calls and friendly catch ups were replaced with coordinating appointments and communicating medical updates. “What my mother needed was not only the right medical treatment but also the time and emotional support from her loved ones.”
Bharat explains, “I had tried a couple of online platforms that claimed to support NRIs with long-distance caregiving. I expected these tools to help me organise medical and home care arrangements, so I could focus on emotionally supporting my mother.”
“They all only partially solved my problem. I had to jump from one platform to the other to sort out various appointments and I had to organise my mother's tests, taxis, and insurance separately. The constant coordination ate up a lot of my time - time which could have been better spent with my mother.”
“It made me wonder, when there are more than 17 million Indian diaspora globally, why organising care from long-distance isn’t easier?”
With only an idea and a small user panel, Bharat first came across Nova online where he enrolled onto the online mentorship programme. “It educated me on the fundamentals of Lean Startups and challenged my thinking about the initial business model.”
“I pitched my idea to Nova’s investment managers and partners at DeepBridge Capital and received investment all in under 2 months. That was the starting point of ParentCare.”
Since then, Bharat has been working with the team at Nova to develop an early stage MVP based on the feedback obtained from his user panel. He explains, “Our MVP is now across all the major cities in India and is set to be a one-stop-platform for expats to identify, compare and book a range of services for family. We are offering a holistic approach to parents' well-being and not a piecemeal approach with medical, healthcare and errand services that could be customised as per the need.”
But despite his company ambitions, Bharat defines his success from a more emotional standpoint, “It’s incredible to see my idea come to fruition. I can only hope that my startup will go on to help many other long-distance caregivers regain back the time spent on booking appointments, with quality family time.”
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