People change careers for many different reasons. Some switch to pursue a passion. Others are trying to keep up with a changing marketplace. Still others are simply struck by an idea. Praveen Mooganur, the COO of WiserTogether, was certainly struck by an idea. But even though he was struck, it didn’t happen overnight.
Prior to co-founding WiserTogether, Praveen was already a made man. He was Managing Director of sales and client service at Corporate Executive Board. Things were going well.
Then, a former colleague, Shub Debgupta, contacted Praveen to talk with him about his new idea—a website devoted entirely to pregnancy that combined medial science with crowdsourced testimonials so that couples could learn both which procedures were the most effective and what it is like to go through them. Praveen thought Shub had an interesting idea, but he was not about to jump ship to work on a pregnancy website.
Over the next few months, Praveen and Shub discussed Shub’s website a few times. Praveen wanted his friend to succeed and advised Shub whenever he was needed.
But everything changed when Praveen’s wife became pregnant. All of a sudden, he found himself in the same situation that Shub had been in when he started the website. Praveen had plenty of information about pregnancy—from family, friends, doctors, the Internet, and in medical journals. But none of it was personalized. Once Praveen wanted a product just like the one Shub was designing, he felt the strength of the idea and left Corporate Executive Board to help Shub found what later became WiserTogether.
At breakfast with InSITE DC Fellows at WiserTogether headquarters, Praveen explained that WiserTogether had made a couple of big changes since he had joined. First, their business model had changed. Instead of being ad-driven and oriented to the public at large, WiserTogether is now sold to businesses—Walgreens is one prominent client—as part of their employee benefits packages. Second, the website is no longer focused on pregnancy; it now covers a large number of conditions. Thanks to these changes, WiserTogether has a steady revenue stream and has emerged as an important competitor.
Praveen walked the Fellows through a demonstration of how WiserTogether could help someone with Hypertension evaluate their treatment options. The treatments ranged from lifestyle changes like lowering alcohol intake and stress, to pharmaceutical options like beta-blockers, all the way to invasive surgeries. The design was clean and made the site easy to navigate. The Fellows left the presentation feeling like they had seen a winning product.
Getting a peak inside WiserTogether was fascinating. Perhaps even more interesting was hearing how Praveen ended up there. Even though he was already successful by any measure, he was convinced that Shub had a great idea and now helps to run an exciting, growing business. With the right skills and opportunity, it could happen to anyone. What Praveen taught us is that we should be ready when it does.
Dear InSITE Fellows,
I am a first-year student at Northwestern Law with an interest in start-ups and VC. I stumbled upon your program a few years ago, and I had hoped to apply for the fellowship once I went to graduate school. Unfortunately, the program is not currently in Chicago. I wanted to know if you are planning to expand the fellowship program into Chicago in the foreseeable future. I feel that there are many graduate students here who would be very interested in this program.