Dr. Shubhra Jain is an Investment Professional investing in cutting edge healthcare startups making healthcare more affordable, accessible and personalized.
In her prior pursuits, Dr. Jain was Associate Director of Commercial Strategy and Corporate Development at Natera where she focused on Biopharma Partnerships, the diligence of potential acquisitions, market research and competitive positioning. Prior to Natera, she led Product management for Acute care suite of products at Pieces Technologies where spearheaded product development and launch of SaaS risk surveillance and prediction solutions and published peer-reviewed research on the subject. Prior to Pieces, Dr. Jain served as a consultant and an advisor to several health tech startups and Fortune 500 companies.
Dr. Jain is a Primary Care Physician from India, has her Masters in Engineering from Stanford with a major in Biodesign and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business. She also manages a nonprofit in India running couple of senior secondary level schools and couple of multi-specialty hospitals in rural north India.
Network Capital staff interviewed her. Take a look.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and brought up in a small town in Northern India, where I trained and practiced as a Physician. I went on to get a Master’s in Engineering at Stanford and my MBA at Wharton to pursue my passion in technology and business. I am passionate about applications of technology in healthcare, entrepreneurship, startups and social causes – empowerment of women, access to quality healthcare and education.
2. What do you do? Why do you do what you do?
I invest in healthcare and tech startups. I have spent my life questioning and disrupting the status quo. Our healthcare system is stuck in antiquities. Partnering with smart, passionate entrepreneurs who are building a healthier, safer, happier future for us is a privilege. Seeing the problems keeps me grounded. Playing my part to enable a better future keeps me feeling alive.
3. What is the one thing you believe to be true, but others rarely agree with you on?
If you truly, deeply want something, you will find a way to achieve it.
4. Which failure or apparent failure set you up for success?
When I started practicing as a Physician, I firmly believed that the future of healthcare will be shaped by technology and wanted to dive deep into this space. I couldn’t find a way to do this in the rigidly structured educational system in India and that pushed me to look outside. That led me to come to Stanford, which exposed me to a whole new world of business and technological frontiers in healthcare.
5. Interesting. How exactly did you make that switch?
It started with sitting in my parents’ basement and cold mailing every university in the world that offered programs I was interested in. After about 1500 emails and 50 cold calls, I discovered I needed to do the prerequisite courses to qualify for higher education in technology. Given India didn’t have a system for doing prerequisite electives, I started writing letters to universities in India to make my case. After about 300 handwritten notes, I secured meetings with two universities and spent the next four months making a case to their board why they should make an exception to a nationwide policy for a 22-year-old.
6. I can’t imagine that being easy. How did your friends and family react?
I am fortunate to have a very supportive family – especially when it comes to my career ambitions. However, given the uncertainty of the path I was choosing, all my well-wishers advised me to stay on the secure, prestigious career of a Physician. They thought I was on a whimsical path to self-destruct my career. They were confused, and scared. There was a lot of social pressure to conform in those transitional years.
7. What is the best investment you have made in yourself?
I didn’t know it back then, but the best investment was medical school. It gave me three things that have been the foundation of my life and my career.
One, it gave me a very strong professional foundation and specialized set of skills that fostered the confidence to take risks and experiment until I found my passion.
Two, it gave me the empathy and appreciation for life, irrespective of age, color, fitness or riches. Something about seeing and caring for people when they are at their most vulnerable helps you develop a sense of gratitude and respect for all fellow beings.
Three, it taught me the value of purpose and its impact on performance when working in teams. When the goals are clear, and incentives are aligned; when we are operating on a patient, everyone is driven to perform at their best without any power games, politics or hidden agendas. That level of clarity and alignment fundamentally changes organizations.
8. What is the role of mentors in your life?
I simply won’t be where I am without them. Numerous mentors have been instrumental in helping me find my inner voice, muster the courage to push through when there was no clear path and believing in me when I was swimming against the tide.
Being the first in my family to move to this country as a first-generation immigrant, I have always actively sought mentors and nurtured those relationships. They have provided me a solid foundation to lean on in times of indecision, self-doubt or when I felt discouraged.
9. What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Enjoy the moment. Relax and be present. I was always very driven and goal oriented and often lost sight of the friendships, celebrations, and learnings that stood in front of me in my ambition to achieve the next thing on my mind. Every experience teaches you something, every moment you share with someone is something you are never going to have with them again – so live in the now!
10. What advice would you have for young women pursuing an ambitious career?
One. Don’t ever let anyone tell you – you can’t do it. They are wrong. At the very least, they don’t know if you can and neither will you, unless you try it. Never settle. Demand more from yourself and you will surprise everyone.
Two. There are very few decisions in life that can be truly catastrophic. Most people overestimate the risk and underestimate the opportunity. Most decisions, even if wrong, can be recovered from. Opportunities lost because of fear of failure may never come back. Whether something has been done before is not a consideration in whether you should do it, only in how you should go about doing it.
Lastly. Life is too short for excuses. Take responsibility – because that’s the only way you gain control over your own fate. When you take responsibility, you start thinking about all the things you can do differently to change the outcome instead of all the reasons why you couldn’t have changed it.