Naveen Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Connido

Photo of Naveen Sharma

Naveen is the CEO of Connido, a UK-based start-up incorporated in February 2016. They are developing a product under brand name, Bluebell.

Connido is a team of parents, doctors, designers and engineers with a mission to make parenting simpler. Connido’s founding team are three dads: Romi, Naveen and Markus, going through the joys and challenges of parenting themselves. We know it can be a struggle when you have your hands full and your tired eyes only half open. So, we have put our experience, creativity and love of parenting into creating a solution to help parents at every step from day one.

Our product, Bluebell, is an integrated wearable solution which provides a better, more reliable and convenient baby monitoring experience; and offers data and evidence based support with day to day challenges.

Our new website is live now!

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Connido was started by three co-founders.

  • Dr Naveen Sharma (MD, MRCPsych, MBA): Co-founder, medical doctor, consultant psychiatrist (with experience in maternal and child mental health); ex-McKinsey management consultant working in healthcare. Naveen is dad to an 11 year old boy and eight year old daughter
  • Dr Markus Bergman (MD, BSc/MSc (econ.)): Co-founder, medical doctor in emergency medicine (incl. children); previous digital health start-up experience; ex-McKinsey management consultant working in healthcare. Markus is dad to  two lovely boys: six weeks old and 19 months old
  • Romi Mathew (B.Tech, MSc. (engr.)): Co-founder, senior analyst at NHS with knowledge, ex-PwC consultant in healthcare data and previous start-up experience. Romi is father to three-and-a-half-year-old boy.

Connido’s journey started when Romi’s son, Jeremy was born. Romi and his wife, Vidya, were thrilled but soon the day to day grind of parenting started to impact their own wellbeing. They realised that the current baby monitors do not provide the much-needed reassurance and convenience; and there is limited support for them as parents. This frustration and realisation led to birth of Bluebell. Romi joined hands with Naveen and Markus, who were both doctors and shared his passion to build something to help parents. As a Consultant Psychiatrist, I had first-hand experience of the impact of stress on parents’ mental health and as an emergency physician, Markus knew all about dealing with worried parents attending A&E. Whenever the team talked to any other parents, they all shared the same challenges and felt the need for Bluebell.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Connido Logo

Entrepreneurship for us is building something new to create value. The ‘something new’ does not have to be completely new idea but it has to address a real issue in a way that has not been addressed before either by doing something better or cheaper or faster or in a more convenient way to create something valuable for your customers or users. The best entrepreneurship ideas come from personal pain, passion and experience. In our case we are all committed parents and have experienced the pain points we are addressing ourselves. We are using our past experience and expertise in healthcare and wellbeing to develop a new solution that we believe we would have liked ourselves. The possibility to help millions of parents through our solution helps us persevere to take our solution to parents.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?

We did a robust market research, customer survey and competitor scan to understand whether there is a real problem, is it big enough and what else is addressing this problem currently. Once we did our analysis we believed that there is a definitely scope and need for our solution; and we further validated this with market and investor experts, who provided positive feedback. So, we decided to build the value proposition, a business plan and defined our initial product features in early 2016.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

The top 3 skills for a successful entrepreneur are: passion, grit and adaptability. An entrepreneur need to be passionate about the problem they are solving and how they are solving; as that is required to excite other people – partners, co-founders, early employees, investors and customers to believe in them and their idea. They need to be able to persevere despite setbacks, stick to their vision and aspiration; and get things done. But at the same time they need to be able to adapt and change course as required after listening to their partners, advisers, investors and customers.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

Our favourite part of being an entrepreneur is to work on and build something that we feel absolutely passionate about, something that we have started from scratch and learning something new every day in the process.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

GoPro – as a ‘hardware enabled software platform company’ we find GoPro inspirational as they have used existing technology to reimagine a simple camera for use by its customers. They used organic marketing strategy to build their customer base to create a well-loved brand.

If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

We will like to discuss their strategy to understand their customers and their marketing strategy.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

Lessons learned:
1) Focus time and investment on product development as much as possible
2) Be clear regarding expectations and outcomes when working with partners to avoid surprises
3) Things would often take longer than you think!!

How have you funded your ideas?

1) Boot strapping
2) Angel Investment
3) Sweat equity partnerships
4) Small amount of VC funding

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?

None so far but we are awaiting to hear about couple of Innovate UK grants. We are also through to JnJ Babybox Rapidfire Challenge finals.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

Oxford with its university ecosystem, and excellent academic research provides two vital ingredients for entrepreneurship – talent and ideas. This is supported by world-class infrastructure to support entrepreneurship – Oxford Entrepreneurs, Startup Incubator, Entrepreneurship Centre, the new BioEscalator being built, Oxford Science Innovation and excellent industrial partnerships.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them? (Anything Oxfordshire especially!)

I would refer them to Oxford Entrepreneurs, Startup Incubator, and Business Development Managers for Oxford University for relevant area of Industrial Partnerships to explore opportunities for support and partnerships.

Any last words of advice?

It’s never too early or late to be an entrepreneur; but important to do it for the right reasons which is a problem that you passionately want to solve.