VentAllOut Founder & CEO, Sumit Mittal speaks to TechGraph about the journey of VentAllOut and how it is shaping the healthcare sector through its innovative solutions.
Here is full expect:
TechGraph: Before we start the conversation, could you please let our readers know more about your role at VentAllOut?
Sumit Mittal: I am the Founder and CEO of VentAllOut, India’s first AI-driven vernacular venting platform that caters to mental wellness. Started in 2019 after my successful corporate stint, I am on a path to build a mental health ecosystem for accessible and affordable healthcare solutions.
My role necessitates taking care of the development plans and the team for their optimal performance. Apart from this, I also look after growth strategy and innovation in the mental health space to enable new technologies and solutions, leading the path to become the leader in the industry.
TechGraph: What is VentAllOut, and how it all got started?
Sumit Mittal: VentAllOut is a vernacular platform promoting mental wellness that is established with the purpose of “Venting-as-a-Therapy”.
Thus it is also India’s first venting platform where users can share their anger, frustrations, opinions anonymously without the fear of being judged.
During my journey in the Corporate segment where I worked with brands like MasterCard for 17 years and GE Capital for two years, I realized that everyone is dealing with anger, frustration at some point or the other, whether related to the workspace, family, career, or any other form of stress.
The disturbing part was that they had no place or no-one to talk to, either due to lack of resources or due to the fear of judgment. Hence, the genesis of the VAO started with my own experiences. I wanted to provide a platform where people can talk about their feelings without any hesitation, covering myriad areas-from how they are feeling to what is bothering them or how to find support for it.
A place where people do not have to impersonate a false image of themselves, about the lifestyle they are having or the kind of job they are in. Hence when a person vents out what is bothering them, they are already halfway to attaining peace, with this vision VentAllOut rolled out.
In the beginning, we did not restrict ourselves to a platform where a person can vent themselves but also a place where if someone is dealing with some form of mental issues or going through a breakdown can seek help for it. We have a community of people who can advise from their experiences and if it does not help, people can also seek guidance or therapy from experts available on the platform ranging from Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Life Coaches, Therapist, Mentor, and many more.
While providing the service, I realized that language becomes a barrier when seeking help. Therefore, to overcome this obstacle, we made our platform available in in vernacular languages i.e., English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada covering 85% of India’s population.
There is no denying that Mental Health is still considered a taboo not only in India but also around the World. According to WHO statistics, 89 percent of people are stressed, and around 20 million suffer from severe depression in India. It is crucial to recognize the issue. Eventually, in the past few years, the conversation around mental health is increasing significantly.
TechGraph: What according to you is the scope of health-tech service as this in the Indian Market?
Sumit Mittal: The Indian healthcare sector has great potential for the realization of ample opportunities in the mental health segment. Moreover, the coming in of technology has augmented the scope for growth in the otherwise unexplored realm. As compared to the preceding year, 2019 witnessed an increase in investment of 55% with $367 million poured into the sector.
The confluence of healthcare with technology is efficiently bridging the gap between customers and medical professionals by delving on digital solutions. Patients can be made aware by employing technology to educate them, ensuring better care delivery with improved outcomes, thereby recounting better life choices before patients and doctors.
I believe this space offers endless opportunities for providing better access to quality healthcare services, from reaching patients in a remote corner of the country through telemedicine to using apps for better patient experience.
TechGraph: The past few months have been challenging for businesses. How did you deal with the pandemic?
Sumit Mittal: Irrespective of the sector, the catastrophic impact of the pandemic has been faced even by the established businesses. Thus, leading them to contemplate on their business plan and management. Due to less revenue churning in the market, it has been a challenging time for most businesses to keep their financial wheels rolling.
Startup and small businesses are the worst affected with less margin accompanied by limited cash reserves. Pandemic has brought new learning even to us just like so many others. Since we are a small team, and previously also had a policy where people could work from home when feeling uneasy or unwell, we had to figure out new ways to keep up the work cycle.
- Conducting a proper assessment for fixed and variable expenses of the revenues.
- With the market changing perennially, it is imperative to reconsider our business model as per the revenue and cost. Thus, helping us in keeping tab of the financial metrics and cash flow.
- Since it is difficult to get an estimate of how long this pandemic will last, we are considering our business strategy, sales strategy, marketing strategy after every three months.
- A more transparent customer communication has been incorporated where regular surveys for better insight into customers’ well-being is considered.
- We are now focusing on ways to keep our team more engaged through activities which are conducted over zoom or hangout. One teammate assigns a task to others. Activities could range from rapid-fire rounds, mask day, talking about one negative and positive aspect of their teammate, to sharing stories on how they are managing with the ongoing crisis.
TechGraph: What, according to you, is the biggest pain point of mental health that needs to be addressed?
Sumit Mittal: Mental Health is a global concern and the biggest challenge is that people still hesitate to be vocal about it. Either they are fearful of being judged, skeptical of the affordability, the burden of cultural stigma, or the expectation to be strong and resilient enough to not seek mental support to several factors.
Over the years, the conversation around mental health has been less and designated as a taboo where people usually don’t come forward to talk about it. But with the ongoing pandemic, we have seen people coming ahead to address the problem, but we void of judgment-free talking space to raise issues and monitor the performance is still felt.
Here it is very crucial to intervene that just like people have health issues like hypertension or diabetes, in the same way, mental health concern also exists. There is a need for more conversations about mental health, just like hypertension and diabetes. It will help to accept yourself and others the way they are, increase more self-awareness, have more sense of control, and could lead to the empowerment of the person.
Therefore, considering all the pain points VentAllOut was conceived with the mission to make mental health accessible for all.
TechGraph: Is there any plan to enter into a new vertical in the near future?
Sumit Mittal: VentAllOut as a platform has evolved with time, where we keep a tab on the changing technologies, trends, and innovation in the Mental Health space. All our efforts are directed to resonate with the intensity of resolving the mental health issues and providing relevant services around the same.
Inconsequently, currently, we are dedicated to provide a spectrum of services catering to the needs of the individual, as we aspire to keep evolving while providing innovative solutions to our community members.
TechGraph: What is the roadmap for VentAllOut going forward?
Sumit Mittal: VentAllOut is a vernacular platform, currently available in 8 languages catering to the next half billion population. Our roadmap for the next five years is to expand in the neighboring countries in South Asia, South East Asia, followed by further expansion into parts of Europe & America.
We want to expand our AI capability to predict behavior, pre-empt healthcare services. Through machine learning, we want to make our platform capable of catering to multiple languages and predictive analysis. We want to enroll mental health specialist from various countries, who can speak different languages and make this platform truly Global.