An exclusive interview with Shumita Kakkar, COO and founder of United We Care
Shumita Kakkar is the COO and founder of United We Care. As the COO of the company, Shumita brings over 15 years of extensive experience in go-to-market strategies, competition mapping, and marketing through diverse conventional as well as innovative channels.
She started her career with Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. During her stint with the company, Shumita played key roles in various high-value events and marketing campaigns.
After this, she completed her MBA from Symbiosis International University and got a campus placement with Vodafone, where she spent 7 years in various sales, marketing, and VAS roles.
Her tenure saw the launch of various VAS innovations for the company, which have now become national-level products. Prior to embarking on her entrepreneurial journey with her first start-up 6T Seconds Mobile LLP, for 3 years, she also worked as a digital marketing.
You have a diverse background with experience in go-to-market strategies, competition mapping, and marketing through various channels. How has this multifaceted experience influenced your approach to founding and leading United We Care?
Shumita Kakkar: My journey through various roles has played a pivotal role in shaping my approach to founding and leading United We Care. It’s been a realization that I want to make a difference, particularly in the mental health and wellness space. Marketing, in particular, has helped me define my approach as a businesswoman.
As I meet people, I can sense the stigma surrounding mental health, which has clouded a lot of minds. Breaking down these taboos that have surrounded this topic and making it more accessible and relatable to both employees and organizations is where my experience and skills come in handy. It’s about promoting a culture of empathy and support globally.
Can you share some insights into the journey that led you to establish United We Care? What motivated you to start a company in the healthcare sector?
Shumita Kakkar: My journey to establishing United We Care was shaped by a desire to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. I had previously run my own startup in telecommunications but felt the need to do something that has support and impacts a lot of lives.
It was a close friend’s struggle with mental health that became a turning point. Witnessing her challenges and realizing the lack of resources available, I knew I needed to create a safe and welcoming space where people could seek help comfortably. I, along with my co-founder, Ritu, built a platform, United We Care, where individuals, including the strong and trusted, could access the support they needed.
Your early career involved key roles at Wizcraft International Entertainment and later at Vodafone. How has the knowledge and skills gained in these roles translated into your work as the COO of United We Care?
Shumita Kakkar: My early experiences exposed me to diverse functions, spanning sales, marketing, usage, retention, and finance. Through my MBA in marketing and finance, I gained a holistic business perspective. In a startup like United We Care, versatility is key. It’s not just about the specific roles I’ve held but also the attitude I bring. I thoroughly believe that nothing is impossible. It might take some time, but it is achievable.
The knowledge and skills I’ve accumulated have equipped me to tackle multifaceted challenges. The common thread is passion – with the right mindset, achieving the seemingly unachievable becomes possible.
In your time at Vodafone, you were involved in the launch of various Value-Added Services (VAS) innovations. Could you discuss the role these innovations played in your career and how they shaped your approach to innovation in the healthcare sector?
Shumita Kakkar: My experience at Vodafone, particularly in launching Value-Added Services (VAS) innovations, was pivotal in shaping my approach to innovation in the healthcare sector. It taught me the importance of building and launching products that are not just functional but also energizing for users. The constant feedback loops and iterative improvements have been
invaluable. Today, at United We Care, we’ve applied these principles to create a product that stands out globally. It’s not just a healthcare platform; it’s a caring, user-friendly experience with an impressive 75% repeat usage rate and an average 14-minute usage duration. This innovation, combining AI with a clinical approach, offers a comprehensive and energizing solution for users, aligning with my approach to innovation.
Transitioning from a corporate role to entrepreneurship can be challenging. What were the key factors that encouraged you to take this leap and establish United We Care?
Shumita Kakkar: Transitioning from a corporate role to entrepreneurship is indeed a significant shift. For me, the driving factors were twofold. Prior to United We Care, I had already ventured onto the entrepreneurship journey with “6T Seconds Mobile.”
This experience instilled in me a strong sense of self-motivation and the desire to have a more profound impact. The opportunity to build something of my own, make a meaningful difference, and address critical issues like mental health were the key factors that encouraged me to take the leap and establish United We Care. I am someone who believes that hard work and the determination to make it possible drive me every day.
As an entrepreneur and the COO of United We Care, what aspects of your previous professional experience have been most valuable in driving the company’s success and growth?
Shumita Kakkar: The most valuable aspect of my previous professional experience that has driven United We Care’s success and growth is my attitude. I’ve always believed that nothing is truly impossible or unachievable. It might take time and effort, but at United We Care, this mindset has been even more reinforced.
Confidence in oneself and the unwavering belief that one can make a significant impact have played a pivotal role in our journey. There are going to be drawbacks and roadblocks, but the core principle that nothing is impossible is the driving force behind our motivation to succeed in our mission of providing affordable and accessible mental health care.
What are your success tips for women entrepreneurs?
Shumita Kakkar: Being a woman entrepreneur often means managing the fine balance between work and family, and let’s face it, it’s not always easy. And having a supportive family by your side is a blessing in disguise.
The key is to stay focused on your goals, and just as you make time for your business, don’t forget to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes to relax and recharge.
Multitasking can be a real challenge, so prioritize wisely. Strive for that sweet spot between work and family life, and remember, keeping a calm and positive mindset is the ultimate game-changer.
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