Aayushi Patel, Nicole Lama, Priya Shah are the founding team behind MedMeetsTech, an organization on a mission to help others integrate mindfulness with their physical health goals. The organization stemmed from a project Aayushi and Priya worked on at NC State. Aayushi and Priya later met Nicole, a computer scientist “wizard”, and the three bonded over their shared passion for making an impact through digital health technology. MedMeetsTech officially launched earlier this year. We shared a wonderful conversation about the integration of mindfulness and physical health and about what they love about entrepreneurship.
Q: What does MedMeetsTech do in a nutshell?
A: MedMeetsTech wants to disrupt lives with healthy habits through the use of smart devices. Our company apps help people modify their lifestyle to live a more healthy and fulfilling life. Our processes are designed to make creating healthy habits easy. Our overall mission is to help individuals develop mindfulness and awareness about how food impacts them each individually.
Right now, we are focusing on our first app, Food Snap. This app falls under an umbrella of tools that will help people maintain positive, healthy lifestyles. Specifically, Food Snap helps people manage their weight and reach their weight goals. Food Snap is similar to a food diary in the sense that users track and log the foods they eat. However, unlike most food diaries, Food Snap uses a mindfulness approach rather than being calorie centric. Users not only track their meals, but also their mood and overall feeling of health and wellbeing. Over time, users can make correlations about their diet and identify what food habits make them feel and perform at their best.
The Food Snap app is very sophisticated and uses an automated food logger. No weighing food or recording serving sizes necessary. Users can simply take a photo of their food and the macronutrient data is collected and recorded. About two hours after a meal is logged, users are asked how they feel physically and emotionally. Over time, they can see directy what makes them feel happy, nauseous, etc. Food Snap allows users to take control of their own health.
Q: What inspired you to start this company?
A: We each have had our own different and unique journeys with food – some positive, some negative. However, it wasn’t until we each began to listen to our own body’s needs that we started to develop healthy relationships with food.
We have been fortunate to make those connections. Sometimes you meet people who are 50 years old and they still don’t understand what their body wants – physically or mentally/emotionally. We wanted to provide a tool to help people get to know their own bodies and use what they learn to create better health outcomes. Particularly, we’re looking to attract women as young as teenagers and help them hone these skills. What social media and society portray as a healthy lifestyle isn’t always helpful. We want women to feel empowered to trust their own bodies and make decisions based on how they individually feel.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: Aayushi – For me, entrepreneurship means autonomy and freedom, but more importantly, it means getting to make an impact in the world in a way that matters to me. It allows me to directly impact individuals with more flexibility and more freedom. That’s my driving force.
Priya – I have experience working in the field for someone else. I’ve had my own personal struggles with that. Sometimes leaders don’t make the right decisions. I really care about people and I love taking a holistic approach. I try to carry that mindset into everything I do, the way I live. I genuinely want to help people. When you work for a company, you don’t often get to see the vision implemented through to the end user. I like being involved. I truly want people to use our apps and appreciate this company because of our approach and how much we care. I want our customers to relate to us.
Nicole – That’s spot on. I completely agree. Making money is awesome. Having a mission is so important. But one other thing entrepreneurship allows you to do is decide how people get treated. If you had asked me three years ago if I would like to work for Google or Amazon, I would have said that I’d love to. But now, no way. Do you see how Jeff Bezos treats his employees? With our company, I want to make sure we do things right. The organization may be small, but first and foremost, we want to make sure we have a good mission and that we’re running it in a positive and beneficial way and treating people with respect.
All – Each of us really want to use the privileges we have of being American for good, having had people pave the path to provide opportunities for us that others don’t enjoy. We want to make sure to use our power and platform for something positive. We want to set an example and make an impact.
Q: Do you have any mentors or role models who have inspired you while you have been building your business?
Aayushi – Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. She created her business while working full time in sales. She showed me that you can build your dream while doing what you need to get by. I want to be able to self fund our company. I don’t want to beg for investors. I can fund my own dreams. Sara came from nothing and hit the billion dollar mark, while also supporting others.
Priya – My parents have their own business that I watched them build from scratch. Their hard work ethic, their entrepreneurial spirit and creativity – it inspired me. I didn’t realize I had it in me as well. But now, I can talk to my parents about these things. They are my biggest mentors and I still look up to them. My dad is still working full time and has a few hobby businesses and passion projects he works on in his older age. He inspires me to truly do what I want to do. He’s taught me that I can do multiple things at one time.
Nicole – My mom. She was a single parent for most of my life and always struggled. I was one of four. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. She was entrepreneurial, too. She just could not see herself working for someone else. She always had a lot of businesses. She ran a transportation company at one point, and started a nonprofit that was very profitable, building clinics that specifically serve the hispanic community. She’s been a huge inspiration for me.
Q: Any advice for entrepreneurs?
A: It’s natural to avoid risk-taking in favor of security. But give yourself a chance to explore new areas and opportunities. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that start coming into your life. Even if not everything you try is a good experience, it’s still an experience you can learn from. Don’t do something stupid, but take measurable risks. Why not take a chance for something you’re passionate about and see where you can go with it? If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot.
Q: Anything to add?
We’re doing heavy customer discovery right now to make sure that the features in our app are going to be wanted and needed. So if anyone wants to volunteer their time for a quick interview, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.