Hiscox Courageous Entrepreneur Interview Series
This is part seven of the ten part series. Follow the Hiscox Courageous Entrepreneur interview series on Under30CEO.com.
Interview Series Sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance. Hiscox specializes in protecting IT/technology, marketing, consulting, health and beauty, photography and many other professional services businesses, tailoring coverage to the specific risks in your industry.
Entrepreneurs have the ability to change the world around them. When faced with hardship and problems, they create the solutions to improve the world for themsevlves and others. Shradha Agarwal is an entrepreneur who is making an impact. In addition to being the President and co-founder of ContextMedia, she is a startup advisor, investor, founding partner of JumpStart Ventures, and was Chicago’s Moxie Award winner as the Tech Woman of the Year in 2013.
Q: Do you consider entrepreneurs courageous?
A: I think there’s an amount of courage in almost anything you pursue, but there’s probably a lot more perseverance and grit that’s required as an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of courage to launch, but it takes even more courage, persistence, and grit to keep going.
Asked for her best piece of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs, Shradha encouraged others to look at the ‘why.’ “The first step that I would recommend to an entrepreneur is to figure out the why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? There will be moments as you grow your business that will challenge your decisions, and if you have a ‘why’ to go back to as a foundation, you can overcome a lot of these challenges on that basis.”
Founded in 2006, ContextMedia has grown yearly, even during tough economic times and learning how to build a successful company from the ground up. “Launching a business takes a lot of time, energy, focus; and having a passion for it is really important.” However hard times get, the founding team’s working to fulfill their passion to solve a problem that’s important to them.
Shradha and co-founder Rishi Shah started ContextMedia, a health information services company, while attending Northwestern University. “Rishi and I built ContextMedia because we had personal stakes in improving health outcomes. Both of us had been caregivers to family members living with chronic conditions – such as diabetes – and we recognized the power and necessity of delivering health education at the exact time when people made decisions about their health.”
What was once an idea in college now impacts over 25 million patients living with a chronic condition each year. The company provides a platform and the equipment to display healthcare related information and messages to patients in waiting and exam rooms. Messages range from healthy cooking segments to television shows focused on caring for a specific disease.
The co-founders took a big risk when buying and installing expensive equipment in physicians’ offices. They had done their research and work behind the scenes, but as Shradha said, “If (our) assumptions didn’t work, (we) could have completely failed.” ContextMedia also stepped out from the traditional method of requiring contracts for this type of service, a risk that paid off.
Despite being a standard in the industry, Shradha and Rishi decided to go against the grain and not require any long-term commitments or contracts when creating the specifics of their provided services. They encouraged customers to “keep it if you find value in it.” They did. The company now works with over 4,000 hospitals and local physicians’ offices and plans on doubling growth in the upcoming year.
Don’t take this out of Context – listen to the full interview with Shradha Agarwal below!