How One Man Brought Health Care to India’s Poorest Populations
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Shelley Saxena, a mobile technology entrepreneur in Atlanta, had a head start when he launched Sevamob, a distribution system for low-cost preventive health services across India. But that didn’t save him from having to make a few strategic pivots as his new business grew.
Shelley used capital and intellectual property from his earlier startup, Saasmob — which provides tools for mobile-app developers — to launch the health service in his original hometown of Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The Cornell MBA and his founding partners scraped together $46,000.
SaasMob, his U.S. company, developed a platform to provide information to farmers. But to fulfill the need for primary healthcare in mostly poor, mostly rural regions in India, Shelley knew the model had to be adapted for communities where literacy rates and smartphone use are low.
Sevamob is now providing services — basic primary healthcare, diagnostics, medicines and insurance — to more than 7,000 subscribers in Uttar Pradesh and four other states including Karnatka and the National Capital Region around New Delhi.
Last year, he raised a bridge round of $227,500 as a step toward expected Series A financing to help it expand to three more states and test a model in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sevamob’s model “is innovative, scalable and replicable,” said Andy Lower, founder of ADAP Capital LLC, which led the bridge financing. “We believe in the massive potential of Sevamob’s disruptive primary healthcare model.”