Welcome to Startup of the Week, a column highlighting BC’s most innovative and exciting tech startups. Today, we’re featuring Vancouver’s ThyForLife.
With World Thyroid Day coming up on May 25th, it’s the perfect time to highlight ThyForLife—an award winning mobile thyroid health tracking app.
Over 400 million people around the world have thyroid conditions but this company is on a mission to see a world in which those patients can monitor and track their condition in a streamlined way and ultimately improve their health.
Natalia Lumen, Founder & CEO of ThyForLife Health talked to us about her favourite way to get her team to think creatively, why she started this company, and what kind of people inspire her the most.
Q: What problem does your company solve?
A: The ThyForLife app enables users to track, store, visualize and assess their thyroid condition in one intuitive and streamlined location. With insights tracking, lab results logging, medication management and more, ThyForLife addresses the major pain points users encounter when managing their thyroid health, ultimately giving them peace of mind and the ability to lead healthier and happier lives.
Q: What was your impetus to start this company?
A: After surviving thyroid cancer and getting exhausted by the inconvenience of tracking my thyroid health on an excel spreadsheet, I posted on a thyroid Facebook group that I’m going to develop an app and asked if anyone was interested in testing it for me. Within 24 hours, more than 200 people had signed up. It was this overwhelming response that set the plan in motion for ThyForLife. I realized the struggle was real not just for me, and the solution I was about to develop could significantly improve the lives of the millions of people who struggle to monitor their thyroid health daily.
Q: What future trend do you think will most impact your company?
A: The “futuristic trend” of telemedicine is already here. Beyond that, the need for minimalism and simplicity is on the rise. With acceleration of digitalization due to the current pandemic, the bar for ease of use and convenience is increasing for new entrants. As a result, we know that we’re serving a very busy individual who needs quick and easy solutions when designing our products.
In terms of major shifts, the industry should eventually transition to standardized access to electronic medical records. We could move away from legacy technology to flexible plug-and-play mobile solutions that could integrate seamlessly across physician and patient platforms. It’s past time each patient is empowered with easy access to their own health information and have end-to-end records available at their fingertips. At ThyForLife, we’re keeping a close eye on healthcare reforms and we will be at the forefront of supplying the most convenient technology to the currently heavily underserved thyroid community.
Q: What’s your advice for dealing with skeptics and doubters?
A: Use skeptics and doubters as the fuel to add to your fire. That’s what I do, and I love having the chance to be challenged and bring my inner conviction to life. Frankly, I expect skeptical questions from every person I speak to about ThyForLife as it’s only natural for people to doubt the unknown or question what hasn’t yet materialized. When I meet someone who does immediately get it, however, it certainly feels good to be validated. Ultimately, if one expects to be challenged, then it simply becomes part of doing business and entrepreneurship.
Q: What is one question every startup should ask itself?
A: If you had a magic wand, what would you want to transpire? I love asking this question to gain clarity on what’s most important in our startup; it also helps get the creative juices flowing across the team.
Q: What has been most helpful to you in building your business?
A: Having a close mentor to run ideas by or discuss challenges has been a real blessing and a major breakthrough for me in running our company. Having access to diverse perspectives goes a really long way and helps to get us unstuck much more quickly. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have to do it alone. Having someone I can text anytime, 24/7 to sense check what we’re up to is probably the single most important reason why we’ve been able to get to where we are today.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: This is the hardest question to answer since many people in my circles have outstanding qualities that drew me to them to start with. The persona of a serial entrepreneur is probably one I admire most because these individuals have the unapologetic tenacity to keep going. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy feat and one can only understand it when deciding to become one. Not every venture is successful and having the ability to pick oneself up time and time again is the quality I admire most. Serial entrepreneurs seem to best exemplify this.
ThyForLife just launched their first official product on the Google Play Store (iOS following soon). Download the app from their website at www.thyforlife.com.
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