Binal Doshi, Founding Team Member at PlexusMD (a career networking app for doctors), was born in a family of doctors. A brilliant student with two Board ranks, medicine seemed to be Binal’s obvious choice of a career. But she chose to be an entrepreneur instead.
Recently, Binal won the Women Entrepreneurship Quest 2016 award alongwith nine other women entrepreneurs. This is her story:
How she took the plunge:
While Doshi was studying for her MBBS, she felt something was missing. “I longed for something bigger, a pursuit that could affect thousands of lives if not millions,” says Doshi, who describes herself as a true blue Gujarati.
In her quest to do so, she jumped from Medicine to Management. “I have been extremely fortunate to have parents who were incredibly supportive of my choice. I cleared CAT in my first attempt and did my Post Grad in Management. Our beginnings were quite humble, but I have seen our lifestyle change over the years thanks to the sheer hard work, honesty and integrity shown by my parents and these three virtues are something I try to embody every day,” says Doshi.
A placement at a Pharmaceuticals company fortunately led her to meet her now co-founders Rohan Desai and Kinnar Shah, and PlexusMD kicked off.
Acknowledging the term ’women’s empowerment’ is not enough, we require empowerment to be recognised as equals. If we are beginning with the premise that we are not equals, that defeats the entire purpose
Excerpts from the interview:
Starting up PlexusMD:
Rohan, my colleague and Co-founder of PlexusMD, and I have had the unique opportunity to observe doctors and management professionals at close quarters. Both of us come from a family of doctors, grew up amongst doctors, pursued our UG in Medicine and then went on to pursue MBA.
We realised there was a stark contrast in the way doctors and MBAs approach their professional lives. Many opportunities and platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, iimjobs.com etc that are made use of by MBAs/engineers, are not used by doctors.
I believe every person — irrespective of their gender — should fight for what they believe in. ‘Lean In’ first. Your biggest source of inspiration and courage comes from within. Nobody owes it to you to support you or believe in you. Believe in yourself first
Rohan — from a personal experience — noticed the very core problem in the system. Most doctors still have to subscribe to multiple journals to receive the latest developments in their specialty. The medical fraternity is also quite unique when it comes to networking and up-skilling. Most doctors are hyper-networked locally but not globally or nationally. A generic platform like LinkedIn does not do justice to the unique requirements of this niche for a variety of reasons.
Doctors cannot highlight their specialty on their profile, cannot discuss technical content with their peers on an open platform like LinkedIn and hardly any hospital posts a job requirement for doctors on such sites.
There will be awkward situations — I once had to reach out and shake hands with a man who shook hands with my male colleagues, but not me. Act professional. We are biologically more emotional, but learn to control it. Don’t be passive aggressive
Leading Indian hospitals struggle with doctor recruitment. We felt we could mix our domain expertise in Medicine and Management and provide a unique solution for the medical fraternity — a professional network similar to LinkedIn but private and exclusive to the medical community — That is how PlexusMD was born!
The three of us launched the website in November 2014. It is currently also available on android and iOS. Much like the beginning of any startup, we started working out of a terrace office. Today, two years and 8 offices later, I am proud to say we have built a team of 21 full-time really talented and passionate individuals and work out of a really cool office in a commercial setup.
The USP of PlexusMD :
PlexusMD is a single-stop platform exclusively for the medical fraternity where doctors can stay updated on the latest developments in their specialty, news from the world of medicine, collaborate with their peers across the globe and it helps them discover the best career opportunities across leading institutions. It is an engaging healthcare institution bringing together hospitals, medical colleges, journals, associations, government bodies, doctors and medical students together.
Today, we are a 60,000+ strong doctor community and the #1 Career Platform for doctors, having partnered with 400+ leading hospitals.
The core passion and long-term vision: Connect each and every doctor across the world on a single platform and reduce information asymmetry
We have been fortunate enough to get extremely invested and supportive Angels, including Ahmedabad Angel Network and Senior Private Equity Professionals in Mumbai. We had raised seed fund in 2015.
While meeting potential investors, the fact that I am not a sole Founder definitely helps. I know of many sole women founders who struggle with securing funds. There are definitely conflicting suggestions from potential investors as to how we should run the company, but I guess that is where we as the Co-founders put our foot down and continue with what we think is best for our baby.
I believe is my biggest strength, it is tenacity. Results require persistent efforts. You don’t reap benefits overnight
Tips to aspiring entrepreneurs:
Be tough – You will have to fight – to be heard, to have a say, to be recognised, to be promoted.
Be unapologetic – We might not be the best homemakers but sometimes ‘Done is better than perfect’. Don’t drown in your guilt. It is okay to want a thriving a career and a family. It is okay to want both roots and wings. Never apologise for loving your career.
Accept that there will be sacrifices – We are not superwomen! At the end of the day, something will give.
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