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A start-up co-founder with a track record of delivering ROI in pre- and post-COVID situations, Namita Ambani has the experience of being sector-agnostic, a lateral thinker, and creative. Namita Ambani has co-founded Pheal to organize the vastly unorganized physiotherapy business and generate more revenue for each therapist.
As a platform Pheal offers -omnichannel systems -to provide patients and physiotherapists with a modern healthcare experience.
Namita Ambani has consistently achieved progress as an entrepreneur in varied industries, including organic food and education businesses, which trained her for a user experience design in the health tech sector.
In conversation with Icy Tales, Namita Ambani spoke about her entrepreneurial journey, struggles, and her opinion on technology in the health sector.
Q) Why did you choose to get into the field of entrepreneurship?
Namita Ambani: I’ve worked in the corporate field for a long time. I am very happy to call myself a good mix of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, and also I pride myself on being a combination of many different industries.
It just so happened that while making career choices and choosing between family and children, I had to let go of some corporate commitments. Working from home was not a thing back then at all, and it led me to think that why don’t I do something on my own? My dad supported my decision, and I started my first business, which was around organic food.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and that entire excitement and joy of creating something from scratch got me hooked. So even though I came back to corporate for a while, it always stayed at the back of my mind that I’d like to move back into the startup space because it was very exciting. I’ve actually been in the media and retail industry, and I had also done some really fun work in the organic food space when I was part of it.
Just before entering healthcare, I was running my organic food business. I was looking to come back with all the experience that I had amassed in terms of running and setting up a business from scratch and also with the entire strategy or revenue planning that I gained in the corporate field. I thought it was really the right time for me to do something entrepreneurial, and I got offered this opportunity to turn around the business which I thought was so exciting.
It was just what I needed at the time. The right challenge with a good mix of being able to run the firm on my own and getting it to turn a profit. And that was a healthcare venture as well. From there now, I’ve been in healthcare for quite a few years, secondary healthcare, to be very specific. I’ve been in the physiotherapy industry for a few years now.
Q) Tell us something about your venture ‘Pheal’ and how did you get the idea to start it?
Namita Ambani: Pheal stands for healing with physiotherapy. As I said, I’ve actually been in the physiotherapy industry for a while. I’ve had the chance to interact with some really amazing physiotherapists, and it’s a profession that I truly respect. It is one profession that can keep us out of the hospital and keep our quality of lifestyle upgraded.
I was in a space where I was already doing something in physiotherapy, but I was looking to get more out of it. One day, just by chance, I happened to be introduced to our founder, Surya Agarwal, who has seen the other side of physiotherapy.
He’s been a patient for many years due to his passion for snowboarding. He actually injured himself a couple of times, and he spent years and years in surgery while also getting treated by physiotherapists all over the world. So he as well had a lot of respect for this industry.
So when we came together literally over a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and we spoke about what both of us like doing and what we enjoy, we realized that we both wanted to do something exciting in this space, and we want to give back to this particular industry by creating a digital platform that can actually upgrade what is currently available to physiotherapists. That’s how Pheal happened.
If I have to put it in very simple words, I would say that Pheal is the only channel platform that we are trying to create to agree on practices for physiotherapists that they can leverage for upgrading their training. It’s a highly unorganized industry that has very or no little external support.
There are some organizations or government organizations who are doing some good work in the physiotherapy space, but besides that, it’s not very well supported. Every physiotherapist is like a lone ranger in that sense, so I and Surya felt like there is a lot to do, and that’s what we’ve set out to do in this field.
Q) How do you think technology will co-exist with health and wellness?
Namita Ambani: Historically, health care is the last space to adopt the technology. The reason is that the stakes are very high for a healthcare professional to adopt anything in technology. They have to consider every single angle. They are ultimately treating patients, so their lives are getting impacted. Hence they are very wary of it.
Also, startups also have bombarded everyone with so many different options that they also don’t know what to adopt or what not to adopt. Their time is very valuable, so given all this, it’s actually not a very easy space to penetrate. Having said that, the one big way in which I feel that technology can support physiotherapy is by saving time for them. Their time is limited and precious, and the last thing we want them to spend their time on is the nonproductive aspects of their job.
So every single work practice comes with certain aspects which are nonproductive, and that’s what we’d like to digitize. We are not trying at all to substitute a phone for a physiotherapist or a video for a physiotherapist. No, we are hardcore believers in manual therapy. We believe that a physiotherapist actually treating you in person has immense value.
So what we are trying to do is to take away all the nonproductive aspects of your work and digitize them. There are a whole lot of physiotherapists boxing out of college every year.
We thought they also could use a leg up in terms of lead generation and know what is the right way to communicate your practice on social media or otherwise.
Q) What are some of the major learnings you had while being in this field of entrepreneurship?
Namita Ambani: I would say that one of the main things I learned is that I should never limit myself or limit my thinking to one job. The reason why I was able to run a small business or medium-sized business was that I never thought I was limiting myself in any role.
When I was a strategy person, I gave myself completely into it when I was a revenue planning person in retail, I picked up whatever I could from that role.
I feel like life kind of hits you with different phases and opportunities, and you need to enjoy your work. I think the bottom line is that just enjoy what you’re doing.
Another major learning, which I must mention, is that you work with all sorts of people in your career. And I’ve realized that one of the most important things after the role that you’re working in is the kind of people you work with.
So whenever you’re getting interviewed, I think you should also interview the people who want to hire you or who want to work with you.
It’s literally like a primal importance. The quality of the people who you work with highly influences your thinking, behavior, and moods.
Namita Ambani believes that the secret of running a successful business is adding value to your customers. She re-affirms that no effort is wasted if you have learned from it.
Check out the wholesome conversation with Namita Ambani on our YouTube Channel.