Entrepreneurship: from idea, to launch, to exit, with Thiv Paramsothy

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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Thiv Paramsothy, an entrepreneur and founder of several companies including his newest startup, Hera Fertility. They talk about innovation in healthcare, Thiv’s experiences with creating his startups, and offer advice for public health professionals with ideas for change and an interest in entrepreneurship.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Thiv found his way into public health
  • Where Thiv’s love for technology first started
  • Thiv’s experience with promoting the adoption of electronic medical records in Ontario
    • What challenges arise with implementing new changes in healthcare
  • What opportunities in E-health are available for public health professionals and how sometimes, we have to create our own spaces
  • Advice for public health professionals with big ideas for change and an interest in entrepreneurship
  • How a solid team and support network is essential in creating new products and services
  • What Adracare is and what motivated Thiv to form the company
  • A quick peek into Thiv’s newest startup, Hera Fertility

Today’s Guest:

Hi  👋🏾 I’m Thiv. I love working with or founding startups to make real change happen in healthcare. My life’s mission is to help patients, and providers get the care they need from the health system. The last startup (cofounded) was a telehealth practice management software (Adracare) that was sold to WELL Health Technologies. I’m on to my next startup – Hera Fertility – to revolutionize fertility financing. UWaterloo Alumni. When I’m not working, doing something with basketball or trying to be funny.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript

Thiv 0:00
If there’s some risk takers out there who will have that bucket of ideas that they want to experiment, I really hope that they just take the first step and, you know, share that idea with other people that simple don’t think about how am I going to set up a corporation or who my co founder is, is just talk about these gaps that you see right now, where you may feel like it could be better executed or better done.

Sujani 0:27
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us Weekly right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva, from PH SPOT.

Hey, good morning, Thivaher or Thiv, I guess I can call you and welcome to the PH SPOT podcast. So nice to finally get to meet you even though it’s virtual, but I’m hoping we can meet in person one day.

Thiv 0:55
Yeah, likewise, and thanks for having me. It’s gonna be fun.

Sujani 0:59
Yeah. And to our listeners, Thiv and I, again, once again met through the beautiful world of LinkedIn, as we figured out this morning, it seemed like we were connected for a number of years. And they finally reached out. And here we are to have a great discussion about your journey. And I’m super pumped to just hear about your entrepreneurial journey as well as you know how that combined with public health and just hear about the work that you’re doing now. So one of the first questions I really love hearing my guests answers to them is their discovery of the world of public health. I think, unlike a lot of my guests, it sounds like you knew about the world of public health, I assume just because you got a Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo within the School of Public Health, and a lot of my guests I’ve had, they kind of go into a different undergraduate program. And while they’re in the institution that they’re at, they discover that there’s this area of work called Public Health. I’m curious to hear you know, what kind of drew you to this field? Were there experiences when you were much younger, that kind of led you to want to pursue a career in public health?

Thiv 2:09
Yeah, it’s a good question. And when I reflect back, like, I think when I was younger, I was very passionate about health care. I, when I was really young, I had a scare with pretty much a life threatening kind of condition. And, you know, everything’s good now. But it really opened my eyes to the healthcare system in general, and how things run, how important public health is. But I didn’t really get into the meat of it until I went to Waterloo. It was really after stumbling into the program and realizing there’s a program called Health Studies, it wasn’t called Public Health at that time, it just recently changed to that name.

Sujani 2:49

Thiv 2:49
Yeah. After that, once they started learning more and more, I was like, This is what I’m really passionate about. I think you don’t- you don’t just have this eureka moment. I think it’s when you’re sitting there after hours, forgetting that you’re hungry, and you’re still learning about it, or really reading a textbook and just trying to soak in as much as possible is when you’re like, Okay, I think this is, this is what I’m really interested in. So yeah, that’s kind of how I would say I stumbled into public health.

Sujani 3:20
Do you feel like you, I guess were aware of these little indicators that this was your area of passion or interest in the moment? Or is this kind of a reflection that you’re having years later?

Thiv 3:33
I think it was in that journey to elaborate a little bit more, I went into university saying, Oh, I’m going to become an engineer. And that didn’t really work out. It wasn’t a good fit for me. I then was like, Okay, what am I really going to do? Because my parents were like, Look, you got to figure out what you really want to do. We want you to finish university, it’s important. And then at that point, you know, help was always in the back of my mind. And I started doing more research, and then I started getting more interested. And I talked to some of the professors there and started to learn more of the courses that we’re doing. And I was like, Okay, this might be something I’d be willing to do. I think it was really also a co op I did in a health care company that was in healthcare, and I was there working till 9pm, 10pm. You know what I mean? And-

Sujani 4:20

Thiv 4:21
I was really passionate about it. So I was like, you know, what the hell? I’ll try. I’ll try it out.

Sujani 4:25

Thiv 4:26
And then yeah, I took a I think there was one particular course I think everybody has this one particular course that really gets them motivated.

Sujani 4:33
Oh, yeah.

Thiv 4:34
And it was a social determinants of health course taught by a great, great professor at Waterloo named Kelly Anthony. I was in love after that, you know, I usually never went to classes and went to all of our classes front row. So- So I think that’s when I knew I was in the right place.

Sujani 4:52
Tell us about your interest in like the tech space because I noticed that you know, you also work work Working in the area of tech, whether it was as a computer support intern or tech support, or IT, and if I’m like calculating the years correctly, based on your LinkedIn experience, it must have been much earlier than your bachelor’s degree, right?

Thiv 5:16
Oh, yeah, I was always in tech, I was the guy who broke the Family Computer multiple times, trying to fix or improve it. Yeah. And in high school, I had a job and, you know, fixing computers, my friends would always tell me to go fix it. That’s all I’m going to reveal about that. But I was very much the guy who would ask for whenever they had computer problems. And so yeah, I just love tech. And I know every part of a computer. And yeah, that kind of got me interested. But I just wasn’t that that person who would write code or want to build the chip, which is interesting. A lot of people think, you know, if you really liked computers, you’ll go into that part of it. But I realized it was more of a person who wants to figure out how the user should feel when they’re using the system and how to make it easier for them. And the psychology behind it, versus you know, actually writing out the code or building out the hardware. But yeah, till this day, people still message me and ask me questions about fixing the computer. And I’m like, I don’t know, I have a MacBook, it’s fixed.

Yeah, I think I’m kind of in a similar boat, as you were, I love technology. But nowhere near being able to write code or build anything. I love taking computers apart when I was younger, and I think that was just like, love for the tech. And now it’s about seeing how we can use technology to enable the work that we do. And for me, it’s about like, how do I support public health professionals in the world by using tech, right?

Exactly. And I think this is going into the last startup I had. But you know, when you’re surrounded around other people who are maybe better at that stuff, then you can actually make some great and bring some of these ideas to life. Right? I don’t think you have to be the person who does all of it and programs it and builds the hardware. And, you know, you could be Steve Jobs.

Sujani 7:11

Thiv 7:12
So as long as you have a good team that you work with, and I think that’s important, but if you try to tell me to write code, I’m terrible at it.

Sujani 7:21
Okay, so you graduate from that Bachelors of Science degree at the University of Waterloo, and then what happens after that for you?

Thiv 7:29
Yeah, I was at a crossroads. I was like, Oh, what am I going to do? Am I going to do public health? Like within a public health, there’s so many parts to it. And, or am I going to go into tech, like digital health, health informatics? You know, I really wanted to get a job. I’ve been going to school all this time. And then I was like, Oh, I can do medicine. You know, I the common problems that every recent grad has is like, what am I going to do with my life? These decisions are so important. Yeah. So what ended up happening is I got a pretty sweet internship at this innovation center at Western University. There was someone there that I really, when I looked at her CV, her name is Xena, like, wow, I really got to work with her. And she had this like breath of like, oh, dead public health work kind of really thought through from the system’s lens, but appreciate it technology. So yeah, and I got to do some cool projects. It’s a really innovative tack that they were working on and doing studies on and evaluating did that for four months, pretty bored in London, Ontario, because it was summertime, Western University is nothing compared to regular university and gave me a whole bunch of experience allowed me to get a job at a couple family health teams in Toronto.

Sujani 8:48
Wow. And while you’re there, are you thinking about okay, is this wearing in a state? Am I going to like maybe pursue medicine still? Or are you content in the path that you chose?

Thiv 8:59
Basically, if you wanted to find me, I’m never content kind of thing. It’s hard. I kept my options open, I think a little bit too long. And I think what’s important is trying to have that balance, trying to have your options open, because you never know when maybe the dream job or career comes up. But yeah, less than that. I think I was doing medicine for a couple years, you know, roll my MCAT and everything and then realize, I can’t even apply but it really isn’t, I think where my strengths are at and what I wasn’t passionate about, because I realized it was doing really well like figuring out the digital health side. But it was just it’s a tougher road with the digital health one and startups in general because you have to make up your own opportunities. You go find the jobs that may give you the experience, let’s say like my first full time job was at those family health teams. I was lucky enough like I wasn’t most experienced, but I was lucky enough to have someone who believed in me and gave me that opportunity. That allowed me to learn so much more about how technology could be used in not only healthcare, but improving the health environment or social determinants and public health, which is important. I think you need to have experience and not just theoretical. So that really enabled me to think about what else can I do, how else can I think of a business that’s like filling in a gap,

Sujani 10:20
looking at the years that you were there at the Family Health Team, and that was 2013 to 2016. And you were, I guess, like looking into EMR adoption at that time. And I’m like, thinking back to that time, and I’m almost certain that it wasn’t used so widely, right, EMR.

Thiv 10:39

Sujani 10:40
Were you hired to do that sort of work? Or was that something that kind of evolved with your role when you were there, and maybe like, also, tell us a bit about the history of EMR adoption, especially because you’re in Canada, and that’s probably what you can speak to, and how your time was edging away at trying to convince people to adopt technology to serve their population a lot more effectively.

Thiv 11:03
I think we’re, I need hours to do the whole breakdown. But

Sujani 11:07

Thiv 11:08
It’s a very interesting topic, because I think EMRs are the perfect example, not only in Canada or elsewhere, where it proves out that technology can make an impact, but it’s very hard to be successful in healthcare, I elaborate a little bit more. So by the time I started that role, which was like a, it really yeah, it was trying to improve the adoption of EMR and use the data for quality improvement measures. What was interesting was at that point, there was a good amount of adoption in the family medicine side of things for EMRs. But maybe 70-80% of doctors had it installed, but they weren’t using it for the show. So they were basically using it for like Microsoft Word, like the same idea, like just documenting the visit, but not really using it for its full potential and adjusting their practice, or their- their workflow to reap the full benefits. So I went in there to try to help them with that and pull out the data, give them trends analysis, find patients that may- may benefit from coming in and proactively getting, you know, lab tests done to make sure that they’re managed correctly. And so it was really cool. Like, you can see the full potential, but it was really hard. With healthcare, you have so many different stakeholders, and getting everybody going in the same direction, agreeing to the plan and the program. And then like, what are you trying to measure and improve on. And then last but not least, is like, and the most important, I would say is resources. If you don’t have the time, or resources to action, and a lot of this great new insight you’re getting from the EMR or anything like that. There’s no point. And that’s been a trend I’ve noticed over the years, especially in the Canadian healthcare system, where health care professionals are being asked to do more with less. So yeah, that was that was an eye opener for me. You know, I always thought, Oh, you’ve installed an EMR should be doing wonders that transformed the whole system.

Sujani 13:13

Thiv 13:13
The case. And I still think that there’s still more potential, but there’s a huge amount of work still to be done about transforming the system to a more digital world.

Sujani 13:23

Thiv 13:23
But yeah, like it really taught me implementing technology and healthcare is pretty hard. I think it’s the hardest out of any industry out there.

Sujani 13:30
Yeah. You know, not to go off track of kind of digital health, I think just any behavior change that we’re trying to put on the populations that we’re serving is so difficult. And I think we saw that, at least like for me, I personally saw that during COVID. I think it was such a great lesson to see. Even though like the science was there, the research was all there, it was just understanding the populations. And perceptions of some of these, like behavior changes that we were trying to get them to do was, yeah, it was very eye opening.

Thiv 14:02
People are nuanced people, right. Like, I still remember, like, we would run these reports using the data that we got, and do run these algorithms and say, Look, this patient has been trending in the wrong direction for diabetes, ran and have her be seen by not just the doctor, but like, because of her family health team, the pharmacist, you know, the nurse, everybody that would help there. And I would have a list of 100 patients like that, let’s say and a lot of people are gonna come. It’s because they’re like, Oh, well, I’m, I’m fine right now. But based off of the data, they’re trending in the wrong direction, right. And we’re predicting that they’re going to be worse off and having to take other medications that say, but, you know, some people wills many people won’t so it was an eye opener because I was I think naive, right, and when you’re young in a way but taught me a lot right and make change management. I think it’s something that’s super important whenever you’re about to implement anything in healthcare.

Sujani 15:03
Yeah, absolutely. Would you say this experience was what inspired you to launch eHealth careers as a project that I guess you ran for about four years? Right?

Thiv 15:15
Yeah, yeah, I wouldn’t say this one. So there was an- I don’t promote it as much because it’s pretty geeky. But I had a club in university, not a social club, but it was, it was called the University of Waterloo health informatics club. And we would have events being run there. And we would try to do seminars, conferences, just anything that can promote awareness of the industry. Mind you, at that point, I think there was like, five or 10 people who were consistently coming to these things. It was an industry that wasn’t super big or popular at that point. You know, a lot of things were still paper charted, like, you know, telehealth wasn’t even a real thing then at that point thinking to myself now, but you know, yeah, it’s not that many people, but I got to meet a lot of like minded people. And we got to run some cool events, and connect with very smart people, you know, researchers who’ve been doing work in the intersection between health and technology. And then after that, I think when we were getting close to graduation, we were like, you know, we want to keep this going. Because it’s not just about spreading awareness to students, but to other professionals. Because I think the best, most talented health informatics or digital health people are the people who are already in the system, right? If you’re in a public health career, or a nurse, whatever it is, I think you would be the best for these kind of digital health careers. So yeah, we thought, why don’t we make this into our business, and take on the risk. And it was a lot of fun. We did some interesting projects, too, with some great universities, and still run some great conferences where like, we had like, two 300, people come out. And then like 20, companies come out, or have booths there and everything, and we would have speakers come out to talk, it was really cool. It’s a hard thing to pull, like a group that’s a community based kind of company. It’s hard to keep it going and to make it profitable. So yeah, we did that for a couple years. And then I think we knew the writing was on the wall. But it was a lot of fun. We tried so many different things, created a job board. And I’m still passionate about, you know, spreading the awareness, anyone who reaches out to me and says, Hey, I want to go into health informatics, or I’m thinking of this program that’s in health informatics. I’ll say, hey, talk to me tomorrow. I’m happy to share my knowledge in that space. I think there’s a lot of opportunities, and we need more more talent in it.

Sujani 17:50
Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s interesting, because around the same time, you wrapped up your time at the Family Health Team, you also wrapped up the work with, you know, that project that you’re working on eHealth careers. And then I’m also noticing, like, you’re being more intentional in terms of the direction that you’re going with your career there. So there was like, Dr. Care, AdvoCare, just a lot of different companies that you were working with, was that kind of like a point in your career, where you decided, okay, this is kind of the direction I’m going in?

Thiv 18:25
Kind of, you know, sometimes also, you know, in hindsight, it may look like it, but like, reflecting back at that time, and I noticed, I wasn’t 100% Sure, I just knew that I think, you know, when you’ve learned as much as you can at the job, and it was a government funded job, like great people there. But I think I’m more of a risk taker, and I really wanted to experiment and try different things and improve faster. So yeah, at that point, I was like, You know what, I think I want to do something else. So I just didn’t know what so I thought maybe I want to be researcher, because it was very fascinating that or go into the startup scene.

Sujani 19:03

Thiv 19:04
And so instead of making a choice on that, I said, let me do both. So I got into IHMU, which is under Dalla Lana now, I think I specialize in and then a little mall area called the Health Service Research, and specifically in health informatics, because for me, I was just fascinated that there’s all these different things that have been implemented, and have they been evaluated. And I wanted to do some research on that part. So I did that part time. I’m supposed to be done, but I delayed it. My supervisor will kill me listening to this right now. But then I also started working at Doctor Care. And then I realized as well, like, I think this something else is after a year. I was like, Yeah, I’m more of a startup person. I can be researcher and had great people. Don’t get me wrong. You have these great programs. I learned so much. There’s some very smart people there. I got to go do a lot of Dalla Lana classes like to audit or, you know, talk my way to do those classes set up some of the IHP ones, they run circles around me, a very smart people, I just wasn’t as passionate as it was with the startup in healthcare. So it was a tough way to learn, you know, trying to juggle both, but I was just happy, I learned that and then, you know, I was able to devote my time and focus there, instead of having 10 different career options. Now, I just narrowed it down. Yeah, I did that for a couple of years. And then realize, you know, I want to get into a company earlier. So I joined early on, you know, co founded AdvoCare. And that one was also I wanted to do something more and more software that people were relying on, like you being a critical piece to their operations, it puts a lot of pressure, but there’s a lot of reward there. So So I thought that was cool. So did that for a couple of years as well, and went through the ups and downs that people do through startups. And then we had a good exit there, which was great. And since then, I’ve now gone off to go do my next startup. So I know for sure what I want to do now is just trying to figure out where I want to devote my time.

Sujani 21:14
Before we get into that. I think for listeners who are obviously public health professionals, and they’re just like interested in startups, entrepreneurship, I’m curious like you went into Doctor care. And by the sounds of it, you weren’t kind of a founding member there, you joined as a director?

Thiv 21:33
Yeah, I joined as a director there. Yeah. Product for them, their flagship product now. But yeah.

Sujani 21:39
For someone who’s interested in kind of like stepping into a startup, or whatever you want to call it, they want to start their own company, or they want to join a startup? What sort of advice do you have for them, just knowing the training that public health professionals do get in school, and perhaps some of these individuals have taken, the more traditional path like you have? What are some skills or maybe like mindset shifts, or just perspectives that they should walk into as they’re exploring career opportunities in the startup space, as a public health professional, when we know that these spaces are more, I guess they’re looking for more like engineers or developers or things like that.

Thiv 22:22
That’s a really good point. Number one, I want to make sure it’s clear is like, anyone who gets trained to become a public health professional, I like to call is wicked smart. Because if you really think about the program, what they make you go through, even my undergrad program has changed a lot, you get a whole bunch of theoretical knowledge just like about the healthcare system, and also public health and like these interventions that can make a big impact on the environment and society. So you have a system level thinking, But then along with that, you have that analytical mindset, especially even like data modeling analysis. So I think number one is like don’t discount your knowledge. Because a lot of it can be transferable, you can easily use that knowledge and, and be very useful at a startup or build your own business. So I think that’s number one thing, I always say to anyone from my class, or people I met at Dalla Lana, or anywhere else, he’s like, you could do it, you could probably have a better chance of me, you know, at that point. And then the second thing is, and this is something I learned with Doctor Care is that sometimes you have to make your own opportunities. I haven’t applied to a job in 10 years, like even Doctor Care wasn’t like I applied to a job postings. It’s mainly through my network, talking to people learning from them, giving them my perspective, and insight, and whatever I can do to help them. And then eventually, you know, they may be like, Hey, we will make an opportunity for you. Right? If something aligned. So like, there, we just saw eye to eye and saw that there was an opportunity to work together and build something even better. So yeah, they made a job for me, sometimes that really happens, but you got to have a good network, you got to put yourself out there. You got to do sometimes free stuff, right? Then your evenings at these events, and hopefully, they have like drinks and foods, you know, it’s it makes it easier. But sometimes, though, so yeah, I think those are key things. And I really think this is the best time for anyone public health to go off and either join a startup or build their own. I don’t think there’s enough right now. But there’s like a moment right now, where I think there’s more opportunities for public health focus startups to come out. And I say that like, you know, I’ll ring off like the- the classic like what was the one that I think is called blue dot, and there’s probably a bunch of other startups. But what I started to notice is that there were companies that are trying to think of how can we better society or public health interventions or predict things and use data for that, and maybe it doesn’t have an exact kind of public health image or look and feel, but they’re trying to have the same intentions. So I think there’s more and more companies like that, especially in the environmental space, I think it’s super exciting. So if you have an idea, and you should just go for it, I always say, but I’m a risk taker. And if you want to figure out if it’s good, or, or maybe you find other like minded people, there’s so many people in Toronto or in the States, wherever. They’re also entrepreneurs, who are just open to kind of hear out your your story or idea and kind of help you figure it out if it’s- if it’s worth it. But I say there should be more public health startups or startups that are having a public health lens. And I think people that are in this profession are the ones who are going to make that happen.

Sujani 25:49
So your your journey, kind of starting AdvoCare, where did that stem from was at, like, just seeing what you had seen over the years? Or was that something specifically from Doctor care that you then thought, okay, maybe there’s a there’s a solution that’s needed here?

Thiv 26:04
Yeah, I think it was a combination. I think it was my time at the clinic, seeing how EMRs are, and I got to see all the big EMRs and learn how they’re all being used and saw there were gaps there. Like it was still old school where you have to install it on your computer. You know, it’s like, what, what is this? Why can’t you open it up in the browser? So and a big thing was the telehealth idea, right, like having that embedded at the core of the system. Like, isn’t that cool? Like, instead of it just being like a word processor, like Microsoft Word where you just document everything, you can actually see a patient through here and document at the same time. So I that time really inspired me, but then a doctor care, I really learned how to think about building a product. And I really think about the end user and how they’re going to be from onboarding to using it on a day to day basis. The experience for both really helped me understand, like how best to go about AdvoCare. And then yeah, I was just doing it with a couple of my buddies too, who are smarter than me and better at coding. Right there. The coders really brought the the idea to life, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to get people to sign up and use it and can revenue from it. But it’s pretty cool to find out like 5000, you know, physicians or I should say healthcare professionals using our systems for regular visits to like therapy sessions to getting prescriptions for cannabis. So pretty cool experience.

Sujani 27:34
And yeah, I guess for some of our listeners, we didn’t get into what AdvoCare was, but essentially, it was kind of a telehealth platform, right?

Thiv 27:42
Yeah, like I call it like a telehealth EMR telehealth practice management system that, you know, doctors and therapists will use. And we became really popular because of COVID.

Sujani 27:52
So, I’m sure you know, just taking an idea that you had based on a problem that you saw, and then bringing together a team of like talented individuals to bring that idea to life, like, that’s no easy feat. That’s like the first step. And then obviously, then seeing that people out there in the world needed this solution, and then bringing together enough people to use it. And then obviously, to come up with a sustainable business model. And then like, you guys took it to the next step, which was making it so valuable that another company wanted to buy you guys out. How was that whole journey and experience and for our listeners, I sometimes make this assumption that maybe like the world of like startup, and entrepreneurship is not maybe well known. So I think it’d be great for you to explain, overall, what that journey was like for them.

Thiv 28:47
It’s an amazing journey, but you have to have the stomach for, let’s just say that. There’s a lot of failures, a lot of tweaking you have to do. And sometimes you for instance, you don’t have the full fledged product out there yet. So you’re constantly trying to get feedback and learn what do the customers want? What do they truly want, were they willing to pay and delivering on that, you know, you’re thinking of so many different parts of the way you described it as the best is like you have this idea, but then you have to make sure you have a good team to help you execute on it. You have to have the resources. You got to have the stomach to sometimes feel like nine out of 10 times-

Sujani 29:23

Thiv 29:24
-to finally get it. It’s a lot of pivoting. Sometimes you have to do too, from your original idea. A lot of these startups started one way with one idea and in the end they’ve pivoted so much. It’s totally different.

Sujani 29:37
You guys had a pretty good timeline for this say, like three years. That’s impressive.

Thiv 29:43
Yeah, it was like three. feels like forever though. Yeah, it was it was a good time, but it was a great team that really helped us accelerate and then just working through everything right, like making sure you’re focused on the right area, because you can’t boil the ocean. Yeah, I I think the biggest thing that for people who don’t know about startups is you can have a bucket of ideas. But bringing an idea to life is the hardest thing to do. And getting people to pay you to use that new product is the best sign, right? That’s when you know, you have something legit. And it takes a whole team of people. So making sure you work with people properly and meet timelines and all that stuff. All the things he tried to tell you in school, right? You have to have and, and then learning on the go, like, I’ve read so many books, on different topics. It’s not like I enrolled in school to learn more, or going through another program. There’s a lot of great books and courses online, like Udemy courses and stuff. You just go on, and you just keep learning so you can learn what to do. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. But, you know, I learned so much. And one of the things is make sure you know your customers and no 100% sure you’re on the right track and something that has a good product market fit. And being diligent on that and very focused there. Otherwise, you’re gonna build something that nobody wants. So yeah, it was a lot of great lessons. And then now I’m going to try to go back into this, do my own startup as a founder from scratch and see where that takes me.

Sujani 31:15
Do we get a preview into maybe like the space that you’re exploring? Or is this going to be revealed at a later time?

Thiv 31:23
Yeah, I can, I can tell a little bit, it’s still in stealth mode. I’ve been working on it for some time now full time, but it’s, it’s in the fertility space, I’m at that age where I have a lot of friends and family who are going through that journey of trying to have a child, they started sharing with me, and it’s great, now people are talking about this, but sharing with me the amount of stress and work if they have to get medical intervention for you know, get fertility care, and make that dream possible. And the cost itself is is shocking. So, you know, I put my, my researcher hat on and started digging into it because I started hearing more and more from my friends and family. And I was like, wow, this is wild. This is a fragmented system where people are spending 1000s of dollars and hours. And yeah the chances have improved over the years with technology, but it’s still so stressful for the patient. And there’s so many different treatments, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen. So I just got hooked. And that’s when I knew deep down that I wanted to focus on this area, and build something and work with other like minded people. It’s becoming a movement, people are talking about it more and more people are understanding that it’s a tough experience. It’s not like going to your family doctor for cold or anything like that, or even just any kind of chronic disease.

Sujani 31:23

Thiv 31:30
It’s a journey. So yeah, I’m working on on that space. That’s as far as I can- I can share right now. I’m testing out a few things right now, right now. And I’m in the US testing and seeing where it’s going. But I’m hoping to launch something as well, both in the US and in Canada.

Sujani 33:07
We’re recording this at the very end of August. And I think your episode is scheduled to go out probably the beginning of 2023. So I’m sure you’ll have a longer-

Thiv 33:16
-launch by then I should I put tight tight timelines for myself.

Sujani 33:20
Oh, great. So we’ll be sure to look out for that when this episode goes live.

Thiv 33:25
And hopefully get good press and good visitors coming to my website?

Sujani 33:29
Oh, yeah, absolutely. As we wrap up this discussion they’ve been, and I hope I can have you on again, to talk a bit more about entrepreneurship. Just, you know, I never know how much interest exists in the public health space when it comes to like startups or the digital health space. So obviously, if I’m hearing more interests, I get to bug you to come back and talk to us a bit more, but just parting words of wisdom advice for listeners who may be exploring this area of work.

Thiv 33:58
As I said, before, we don’t like I feel like there’s a lot of opportunities in public health. And a lot of it is run through government or nonprofit, I’m hoping that people are realizing that there could be more good done, maybe going from a for profit, like startup angle. And so I really hope like if there’s some risk takers out there who will have that bucket of ideas that they want to experiment, and I really hope that they just take the first step and, you know, share that idea with other people. That simple don’t think about how am I going to set up a corporation or who my co founder is, is just talk about these gaps that you see right now, where you may feel like it could be better executed or better done. A lot of times I’ll tell you this, and I’ve been hearing from other startups, they see a gap or an opportunity from what they’re currently doing it their job right now. And then that becomes the idea and then that becomes the business. So yeah, just keep your eyes out and and I really hope in 10 years from now, there’s a whole bunch of public health start ups and you know, there’s a conference or something like that where people are showcasing it. And yeah, that’d be pretty cool. Because then I think there’s so many things that need to be addressed in public health. So yeah, that’s what I would say just maybe take the first small step of sharing an idea that you’ve thought of with others.

Sujani 35:17
That’s a great goal. Just have more and more public health professionals be kind of at the leadership tables of some of these public health startups. I think those are definitely the people to lead these projects.

Thiv 35:29
Yeah, exactly. It’s, they’re the ones who know this stuff, right?

Sujani 35:32

Thiv 35:34
Smart people there.

Sujani 35:34
Thanks so much, Dave. And like I said, I’m hoping to have you on the podcast again in the future to just hear about what you’re working on.

Thiv 35:42
No, thanks for having me. This has been a great conversation. And best of luck, I hope you get more and more people. And this becomes a big thing. And I could say I was one of the speakers on here.

Sujani 35:53
Thanks so much.

Hey, I hope you enjoyed that episode. And if you want to get the links or information mentioned in today’s episode, you can head over to pHspot.org/podcast. And we’ll have everything there for you. And before you go, I want to tell you about the public health career club. So if you’ve been looking for a place to connect and build meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, from all around the world, you should join us in the public health career club. We launched the club with the vision of becoming the number one hangout spot dedicated to building and growing your dream public health career. And in addition to being able to connect and build those meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, the club also offers other great resources for your career growth and success, like mindset coaching, job preparation, clinics, and career growth strategy sessions in the form of trainings and talks, all delivered by experts and inspiring individuals in these areas. So if you want to learn more, or want to join the club, you can visit our page at pHspot.org/club. And we’ll have all the information there. And you know, as a space that’s being intentionally curated to bring together like minded public health professionals who are not only there to push themselves to become the best versions of themselves, but also each other. And with that, I can’t wait to see how this is going to have a ripple effect in the world as we all work together to better the health of our populations and just have immense impact in the world. And I hope you’ll be joining us in the public health career Club.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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