Entrepreneurs: Bani Singh & Drishti Gupta
Initiative name: Now&Me
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 143
Mental health is of paramount importance to every individual. But too often, we tend to forget its role in our lives. In this testing time of a global pandemic and toxic online spaces, two youngsters are on a mission to improve people’s mental health through Now&Me, a free peer to peer community support network that helps improve mental health. Founders, Bani Singh and Drishti Gupta who studied together at Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, tell the story of their brainchild, which is the need of the hour.
1) How did you get your idea for Now&Me?
Personal reasons compelled us to create a space that we ourselves longed for. We saw the growing need for solutions in this industry and how social media platforms had become toxic, forcing people to leave such platforms and find alternatives [41% adults globally agree that they feel lonely on a regular basis, 70% agree that social media has become toxic]. A technology-based solution was the only way to go because of its potential for global reach and larger impact. After all, someone miles away can make you feel better.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Over 1 million people die from suicide every year, that’s 1 death every 40 seconds. Suicide is a serious global public health issue. There have been more deaths due to suicide than malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide.
We knew we couldn’t live our lives in denial, seeing people around us suffer. We noticed a major gap in the mental health system that fails to address 3 major concerns: Accessibility, Affordability & Awareness and we set out to tackle that.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Fortunately for us, our parents were very supportive and realised the growing need for a solution like Now&Me. They listed the pros and cons of pursuing entrepreneurship and left it to us to make the correct choice.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
Not prioritising correctly. This led to our focus getting shifted to less important tasks and goals than what was most crucial to our success.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Scaling fast and finding passionate people to take Now&Me forward. Solution: Hiring the right people fast, firing bad hires even faster.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Consistency, Self-Evaluation, Willingness to learn and experiment.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
Identify and prioritise key metrics sooner!
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
With great power, comes great responsibility.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Personal stories, most often from Now&Me.
10) What is your favourite book?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Take the leap of faith, keep learning from your journey and you will always succeed.
In the view of WHO, there’s a huge shortage of mental health workforce in India. Now&Me tries to address this problem effectively by creating a technology-driven and free peer to peer network for mental health, which can be accessed from any part of the world. You can check out Now&Me on Instagram here.