Vida is an in-home care agency that uses tech to provide a more holistic and personable care experience.
We spoke to Co-Founder and Chief Care Officer, Devika Wood about how her company is transforming the care industry and the challenges of starting a new business.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
At the age of 10, I began caring for my grandmother, Sita. Sita lived with advanced dementia and epilepsy and over 12 years, received over 150 different carers, sent to our home by social services. Having experienced poor care first hand, I made it my personal mission to improve the care industry by adopting a clinical approach to care and empowering our carers and clients with technology.
Describe what your company does.
Our mission is to provide care that we would want for our parents and loved ones. Vida is a home care service, harnessing state-of-the-art technology and investing in high quality carers. Vida delivers personalised in-home care, and has developed disruptive technology to improve communication and transparency in care delivery.
Why do you think your company has been successful?
Vida has been delivering high quality care and making this care accessible and affordable. We have raised the overall industry standard and professionalised the care industry. Our success lies in improving the quality of care for all those we care for.
What’s been your biggest achievement to date?
Our biggest achievement is the impact we are making in the care industry. In one year we have become a market leader and truly improved the overall quality of people in the care industry. As a company, we now attract nurses and students into the profession. Furthermore, our high standard of care has meant that our clients are able to stay in the comfort of their own home. We are now working with 6 major local authorities, proving that our care model is sustainable in the UK healthcare market.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Changing the mindset and culture of individuals in the industry to adopt a new model of care. Technology has traditionally been redundant in the industry and people are fearful of trying a new model. Often we get asked how can we charge our clients so little and pay our carers more money? Well, we are moving care from a profit driven business, to an ethical and valuable business.
What’s your team structure like?
At Vida, our co-founders are supported by highly qualified professionals from the care industry who bring their extensive experience of adult care to the team. We have hired exceptional talent in the office, from graduates to care experts and doctors. Across the whole business, Vida’s mission is to promote health and wellness in the home, and help families who are caring for a sick or elderly family member at home.
What traits do you look for in new hires?
Passion, determination and a strong work ethic. If people have the hunger and drive for success, we will nurture and support them to grow.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business or applying for a job at a startup?
Starting your own business is a rollercoaster ride. Be prepared to never get off the ride. When it is your own business, you never stop. It is this hunger and passion that you will thrive off and that will get you through some of the hardest times on the journey. Never give up, don’t fear rejection and have the confidence to do it. If applying for a job, show the cofounders you are passionate and will work hard. Startups are the perfect place to learn so many new and valuable skills.
What challenges are unique to female founders in your opinion?
As a female founder, I thought I needed to adopt a stereotypically “male” attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive and sometimes harsh. I felt that if I was myself: soft, emotional and bubbly, I would fail or people wouldn’t take me seriously. I had to develop really tough skin when I founded Vida, and I found that really tough. I wasn’t being myself, and I found that I was always second guessing how people would perceive me. However, remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice is the key to rising above preconceived expectations.
How do you measure success?
I measure success in how many lives we are changing. How many people have we kept safe at home, or how many people have we discharged safely from hospital and rehabilitated to good health. Further, for me it is about providing that support to families to look after their loved ones. When we hear family members telling us they now feel supported and relaxed knowing we are caring for their loved ones, that is the definition of success for me.
What’s your ultimate ambition?
To take Vida globally. We have an ageing population around the world, and care is a need not a want. I want care to be accessible to everyone, everywhere.
How can companies nurture a more diverse team?
Companies should hire on personality as well as experience. Look out for innovative, cognitive and bold thinkers.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your business?
The hours, blood, sweat and tears that we all put into it on a daily basis. I can not stress enough how passionate all my team members are at making a difference. When things go wrong, we all take it very personally and do everything to fix it. The compassion and empathy my team has is unrivalled.
What does the future hold for your company?
To prove our model of care is sustainable, ethical and the future of social care in the UK.