Founder of the Week: Smita Mukherjee

This week’s #FOTW is a special edition summer post. You can get to know more about the founder of Nimbus Care Hub, Smita Mukherjee, first-hand from the email interview we conducted this summer.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Name, major, school, age)

My name is Smita Mukherjee, a second year MBA student at Wharton majoring in Healthcare Management and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. I also did my PhD at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences in Biophysical Chemistry.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your startup?

Currently in the USA more than 16.1 million family members provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD), at an economic value of over $232 billion. Nearly 60 percent of those caregivers rate their emotional stress of caregiving as high and report symptoms of depression. To reduce caregiver burden, Nimbus Care Hub provides accessible, affordable and holistic services to caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

 

What inspired you to create this company?

I got interested in entrepreneurship when as a postdoc scientist I was chosen to take two extensive courses on innovation commercialization. I learned about the entire process of getting a medical product from the laboratory bench to the bedside. This was a rare opportunity for a hard-core scientist to be exposed to the business and entrepreneurial aspects of scientific discoveries and I was absolutely fascinated! After those courses, I was motivated to sign up for an online Coursera course on Social Entrepreneurship from Wharton where I came up with the idea for Nimbus Care Hub, a platform to provide support services to caregivers for people with ADRD, a disease area I researched during my PhD and postdoctoral training. As a postdoc student, I got introduced to the human and clinical aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease and through numerous personal interactions and firsthand experience concluded that in the global dementia epidemic, the caregivers are the neglected population who have very little personalized or community level support regarding how to take care of their loved one and themselves. I wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of the dementia caregivers and that is when Nimbus Care Hub was born. Fast forward a few years, and I found myself applying to Wharton for my MBA. I started working on Nimbus from my very first semester and continued refining my business model and reached out to friends and faculty on campus for advice and help to execute on the business plan for Nimbus. As my time at Wharton is coming to an end, I am filled with immense gratitude for more than 40 people on campus who contributed towards making Nimbus Care Hub a reality. I sincerely could not have done it without their feedback, support, and motivation.

 

What advice would you give to budding student entrepreneurs?

  1. Entrepreneurs are not risk takers but risk mitigators. Successful entrepreneurs understand the core issues that threaten their business and they take very calculated steps to minimize or eliminate those risks.
  2. You know you are ready to become an entrepreneur when the solution you are working on to solve a problem is so meaningful, exciting, and inspiring that you cannot sleep at night.
  3. Entrepreneurship is hard, so surround yourself with family, friends, and advisors that will guide, mentor, motivate, and push you to hustle relentlessly. Every time you get rejected, analyze why it happened but also know that one person’s rejection does not mean the end of the world.
  4. Be resilient and persevere, but also know when to pivot. Be mentally and financially prepared to fail early and fail fast and move on when there is no product-market fit.
  5. Always have an entrepreneurial mindset, which means that you are creative and resourceful, and you get things done. This type of mindset is useful whether you are building your own company, working at a big corporation, solving personal issues or hanging out with friends!

 

Tell us one fun fact about yourself!

I am a mother of a 4-year-old son!