MEET Shelley: International-inventor and health-care-problem-solver
Imagine having a doctor or nurse available at the touch of a finger. Easily being able to submit information about your symptoms within days. Now imagine only paying a few dollars for that service. Welcome to Sevamob, a new insurance and healthcare subscription service available in India. The best part? This awesome idea started right here in Atlanta! We sat down with Shelley Saxena to learn more about his product and its possibilities.
Tell us a little about what you do:
Sevamob provides primary healthcare, insurance and advisory to low income consumers in India for a small monthly subscription. The service is delivered by field teams of doctor and sales rep that carry Android tablets with our proprietary mobile software which can operate with or without network in remote areas. The teams are supported by part time MBBS doctor, a 24×7 call center and a network of 3rd party service providers like Hospitals, Clinics, Pathologists and Insurance companies that pay us referral fees. We are fundamentally disrupting and transforming how healthcare and insurance are delivered in the developing world.
How did you get started with it?
We offer mobile apps for advisory to farmers in the US via University of Tennessee and University of Georgia. We wanted to replicate the same model in India but due to high illiteracy rates and lack of data capable smartphones in our target audience, we had to deploy field teams. In order to cover the cost of these teams, we took input from people about the services they would be willing to pay a monthly subscription for. Healthcare was mentioned by 80% of the people. So we started with healthcare+advisory. Life/accident/health Insurance was added afterwards since it was a natural fit with healthcare and people expressed strong interest in it once they understood the benefits.
What inspires you to do this work?
I was born in the district in India where we started this service. Friends, relatives, acquaintances and sometimes complete strangers helped me get to where I am today. By addressing basic needs of people in a state where illiteracy is as high as 40% and 79% of the population lives in rural areas, I can fundamentally transform the lives of people in a self-sustainable way.
What challenges have you faced?
Executing on ground in India is the easy part, convincing the investors that I can do it even though I am based in Atlanta is more difficult :0)
Are you collaborating with anyone?
We have partnered with more than 12 service providers like hospitals, clinics, pathologists and insurance companies to deliver end-to-end service to the consumers.
What impact are you hoping to have on our Atlanta community?
Various entrepreneurs from the VillageCapital program are a) In the process of licensing our mobile technology, expertise and infrastructure for their businesses b) Considering entering the Indian market by using our sales and distribution network there c) Looking at importing goods made by artisans in our subscriber base and distributing in the US.
Would you like to see the way you approach your work replicated?
Yes, we have received some preliminary interest in replicating our model in Latin America and even in places like Iraq.
What kind of help do you need to keep this going?
We have figured out and proven the model + technology. Now we need to replicate in districts through-out India and even in other countries. To scale this massively, we need investors and strategic partners.
What are some of the biggest problems you see facing Atlanta?
While Atlanta has great resources and networks, access to capital for early stage companies is generally easier in silicon valley than in Atlanta. An “Instagram” type success would be rare in Atlanta because the investors look for experienced entrepreneur + operating company + working product + paying customers + revenue model that goes beyond ad-supported mode.
What are some of your favorite things and organizations around town?
Where can interested readers find you?