Cimeran Kapur ’11, Communikind

Communikind is a secure web and mobile application for parents to comprehensively manage their child’s health and wellness needs from birth to adulthood. Berkeley Founders’ Pledge member Cimeran Kapur, Founder & CEO of Communikind, discusses some challenges and opportunities she’s encountering on her startup journey.

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What advice would you offer students just beginning their careers in the startup world, either as founders or as early team members?

  • There is no substitute for real world experience. It is important to work in or have a deep knowledge of a particular market before you innovate in that area.
  • Stay humble because you are never done growing and you cannot anticipate everything.
  • Have the mindset of a lifelong learner. Learning and curiosity are prerequisites in this industry if you want to be successful.
  • Be a team player. No great movement was ever accomplished by one person or a select few, but instead by harnessing a group’s collective power.
  • Build your network. This is invaluable, as I’m sure you’ve heard before.

What’s the hardest thing about your work in a growing company? What keeps you up at night?

People make the company, so knowing who the best individuals to hire are, accessing that talent and then retaining them is probably the most difficult part in growing a company. They must fit a unique combination of qualities such as being deeply motivated by the mission and virtues of the company, having the background and skills to match their passion, with the energy and will to execute on it as an early stage team member. Silicon Valley, apart from being a very expensive place to live, is also home to the largest tech companies who provide highly competitive salaries and other employee benefits to retain their good talent. These are obviously difficult for any startup to match when resources are more limited. As we begin to grow, I am mindful about building a passionate group while focusing on company culture, diversity and the many ways I must support our team and their professional development.

Is it better to join a startup, or to start your own company? How do you evaluate your employment opportunities?

As you evaluate your employment opportunities, think about where you can provide the greatest value to a cause or an area you deeply care about.

I firmly believe that you should only start a company if you have a good solution to a problem you know to exist and persist. Any founder will tell you, starting your own company is an arduous undertaking. It takes a distinctive personality to execute on that - someone who has excellent organizational skills, leadership abilities, is solutions oriented and most of all has an inextinguishable passion and persistence in the face of adversity.

As an entrepreneur, you’re told to push through barriers and face down rejection. How do you know when it’s time to pivot or sunset a project you’re working on?

My attitude is to live and breathe the consumer experience by engaging with users as frequently as possible. That is the only way you will know that you are headed in the right direction and that your product is providing value to your target audiences. For any startup, resources are always spread thin so prioritizing what projects should continue to demand attention and which need to be dissolved all stems from having a clear understanding of how users behave and what they find beneficial.

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What’s the most exciting opportunity at this stage?

The most exciting opportunity at this stage is reimagining how parents will oversee their child’s health and wellness from birth to adulthood. Modern parents have a completely different set of expectations for the future of child health management. They require easy connectivity with mobile and on-demand access, and stringent security protections with data autonomy. Especially for children who have chronic health conditions, which is over 20% of the pediatric population, the current siloed health and educational models aren’t set up to address these needs. Being able to pinpoint and tackle these pain points in their health journeys through a single platform solution that puts the child and family at the center of their care is really exciting to me. We are passionate about being able to create a place for parents to have a voice, to be stronger advocates for their children and to share their knowledge as agents of change within their communities.

Where do you want to be in 3 years?

In 3 years, I envision that Communikind will have users on a national scale and the services offered will be available in multiple languages so we can support all families in navigating their child’s development. Personally, I want to have established my role in passionately leading pediatric care into a modern, family-centric direction by building up Communikind’s partnerships, resources and content platforms.

Lastly: You’ve chosen to make the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge. What inspired you to do that?

My time at Cal enriched my life in many ways both personally and professionally. I was exposed to endless opportunities, leading minds and diverse perspectives which shaped much of my future career choices. Being an entrepreneur was never something that was initially on my career radar. However, I was brought back to Cal through StartUp@Berkeley Law, which was part of my foundational learning into this world of entrepreneurship when I pivoted from a career of practicing medicine. I was inspired by the Founder’s Pledge mission of giving back to my community, which is ultimately what my company is all about within the world of pediatric care. I hope that through my participation, my contributions will help other young Cal entrepreneurs realize their potential to discover, innovate and positively shape our communities.

Interested in joining Cimeran in her commitment to Cal? Make the Berkeley Founders Pledge, like she did, and have an impact from Day One of your latest venture.