GoaChronicle spoke with Rohini Gonsalves, Founder & MD, Sevarat on what is unique about her business and what are the challenges she has faced to establish her entrepreneurial vision.
GoaChronicle: What is Sevarat doing and what is its core business? Tell us about your product or services
ROHINI GONSALVES: Sevarat is a Senior Care Service. We provide healthcare services to elderly people within the comfort of their own homes. We provide everything from diagnostics, to home care, home nursing, to palliative care. Specialized services like physiotherapy and counseling; apart from medicines, healthcare products, appliances etc. We are a complete store for senior healthcare services
GoaChronicle: What makes your services unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?
ROHINI GONSALVES: I would say our focus is on geriatric care and that is what it makes us unique. I do not think there are too many others who have services to meet every single need of the seniors at their homes. While we have countless other nursing agencies, and alternate solutions available, the opportunity is still too huge both in India and abroad. I do not think the competition will get cut throat within the next 7-10 years.
GoaChronicle: What are the challenges you see in the market at this point of time?
ROHINI GONSALVES: With Corona pandemic, everything has changed. Although we have always been catering to customers at home apart from the few hospitalisations etc., now the focus of healthcare itself will move to home healthcare, tele or digital consultations and remote treatment. So the primary challenges will be in terms of logistics and (digital) access. With Corona virus lurking over us, precautions and paranoia are at an all time high. While hygiene has always been one of our core strengths, Corona has forced us to relook at the whole service delivery in a fresh light.
GoaChronicle: Tell us about your team and what inspires them?
ROHINI GONSALVES: We were a team of five when we started. We celebrated completion of 50 months on December 15, 2019 with 50 employees. Over the years there are three things that have been core to our growth: (A) Every person in the Sevarat team believes in and identifies with our cause; (B) We have a no nonsense approach to go about operational excellence and finally; (C) We all have this commitment which goes beyond money as both the employees or management are driven by values and not just the pay check or revenue.
GoaChronicle: Where do you see your services reaching in the next five-years?
ROHINI GONSALVES: Like most other organisations, our growth plans have also got derailed. We have to be prepared to comply with the dynamics of this changing situation. Having said that, we are very fortunate that we not only continued to serve our customers during the lock down, we conducted our team reviews, appraisals and the works. So while work has slowed, our wheels are turning and we are moving forward. So in five years, we hope Sevarat becomes a generic brand when it comes to healthcare for the elderly. We aim to cross the 100,000 number of employees across the country who deliver extraordinary services to families with elderly people.
GoaChronicle: Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?
ROHINI GONSALVES: We have had some injection of seed capital. While we will undoubtedly grow organically, we could grow in leaps and bounds with financial and strategic alliances. Given the nature of the need we are serving it is a shame that we are not able to serve more customers simply because we have not been able to scale as desired.
GoaChronicle: What are the challenges you face as a startup?
ROHINI GONSALVES: Well, scalability is our biggest challenge. While we do know what needs to be done, the fact that we currently do not have deep pockets has clipped our wings. We have been to the brink of closure at least a couple of times. I am grateful to God for opening doors to us just in time to keep us going so far. As a Startup, our biggest challenges have been financial management and lack of mentorship apart from the lack of funds for growth.
GoaChronicle: What are your future plans?
ROHINI GONSALVES: We have plans to venture into newer avenues of engaging with Senior Citizens. To provide more than just bedside healthcare by creating avenues for wellness and healing. There is an unexplored universe out there and we want to be the ground breakers and trend setters in those areas too. We are certainly looking beyond Goa for our growth. And we aim to reach at least three more cities by March 2021.