Nawal is the founding CEO of the global digital health and data analytics company, Holmusk. The company aims to nudge people towards healthier living, by building innovative behavior change programs. Holmusk’s flagship product is GlycoLeap, a smart coach for Diabetes Type II.
Galen Growth Asia: Thank you, Nawal, for agreeing to share with us your insights. Would you share with us your story?
Nawal: I am the founder of Holmusk, a digital health and data analytics company which is focused on solving complex problems in healthcare. Before that I was CEO of fintech ventures at Rocket Internet and was Junior Partner at McKinsey & Company’s Singapore office. I’ve been involved in financial and health sectors across North America, Europe, South East Asia, India, China, Middle East & South Africa, and I’m a Founder of PRMIA, an international global association with members in more than 100 countries. I have Masters Degrees from both the USA (M.A in Economics and M.S in Quantitative Finance) and India (MA in Economics).
That must have been an exciting and fulfilling journey! Since you have experienced so much in life, and what excites you the most about this industry?
The opportunity to make an impact for large segments of the population. I started this company upon learning that for the first time in human history, chronic diseases had overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death. That one fact turned me over; I was set to take a different approach. I’m excited that we are approaching this problem in a dynamic way. By combining analytics, research and digital health, we are improving outcome in health.
The mistakes and challenges I’ve had in life have allowed me to understand the value of decision making
Being in the Asian HealthTech ecosystem, what would you say is your connection to Asia?
I’ve lived and worked all over the world, but Asia has always been the start, middle and end. I am born an Indian, am an American citizen and I am building a global company from Singapore.
So what is the best place to work at in Asia for you?
I think Singapore is a great city to do business in. The ease of making connections, moving quickly about the city, connection to the region, and the way Singapore can transform itself to address the needs of the future, make it a dynamic place to do business in.
And what about the best city to relax?
For relaxation, my favorite city is London, mainly because my wife and daughters are based there. London is sort of a second home.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received until now?
Someone once told me that things get done because someone does it. I find this as the fundamental core of entrepreneurship.
Insightful! What about the people who inspire you? Can you share a little on that?
My daughters. When I look at my journey, their influence has changed the way I approach life, the way I interact with the world, and the way I approach problems. They provide constant inspiration, and so I’m blessed.
That is really sweet. In your journey, you must have had experienced a lot. What is something new that just blew you away?
I recently was exposed to two things that impressed me a lot. Firstly, find 10 features in each team member, and leverage it. The second thing I recently am interested in is the concept of pre-mortem.
If you had the chance to start over again, what would you do differently?
I don’t believe in start overs, or hindsight. The mistakes and challenges I’ve had in life have allowed me to understand the value of decision making; of critical analysis; and of removing biases where possible. If I could start over with such knowledge, would I really understand this knowledge? Taking the lessons from yesterday and trying to apply them to today is what I’m focused on.
You make a wonderful point. How do you unwind to get your mind off things?
Relaxing with my family is number one. But when in a work setting or travelling, I love to get out of my chair and talk and walk. It helps me reset, it helps me focus, it helps me bring disparate views into a whole. A brief walk followed by an open ended and engaging conversation can shift my day in a positive way.
Is there a book in particular you would like to recommend to our readers in business?
There are many books I could reference, but the one that is on my mind right now is “Skin in the Game” by Nassim Taleb.
Would you like us to give Holmusk a shameless plug?
We don’t advertise much, if at all, because I feel that our mission and the direction of our approach will advertise itself. But I’m excited about where Holmusk is going, the problems we are tackling, and the team we are building. We want to be a global company, and touch the lives of 1 billion people in the next five years. That can only happen by creating solutions to pressing problems. We’re doing that and I feel extremely privileged to have this opportunity to do it.
We hope that this interview will bring exposure to our annual GGA HealthTech CEO Summit this November. As a participant of last year’s event, what do you want to achieve at this year’s iteration?
I’m always interested in meeting new and interesting creators, so if I can have a few meaningful conversations and create new connections, the GGA 2018 HealthTech Summit will be a success.
Fantastic! How can people reach you?
I can be reached at email@example.com.
Well then, thank you for your time and for giving us such great insights, Nawal!