In 2010, Sylvana Quader Sinha visited Bangladesh from the US to attend the wedding of one of her relatives. During that time her mother fell sick and was admitted to one of the top hospitals of Bangladesh. The experience did not go well which made her realize that access to quality healthcare is a challenge in Bangladesh.
That’s how Sylvana Quadir Sinha came up with the idea of Praava Health, a Dhaka-based startup that combines telemedicine with physical clinics. In 2014 while the idea of Praava Health was still in seed, Sylvana Sinha started to talk with people to know their experience of the healthcare system of Bangladesh. In 2016, the first employee of Praava Health was hired. In the meantime, Sylvana Sinha raised fundings and built a financial model for the next 10 years.
In August 2017, Praava Health started its journey in Banani with a healthcare center and more than 100 employees. It was a soft launch.
From February 2018, Praava Health started its full-fledged operation. Praava Health claims to grow threefold since its beginning. It claims to serve north of 150,000 patients including more than 330 corporate customers at present. More than 50 doctors work at Praava.
According to the website of Praava Health, they provide more than 250 lab tests. It has built Bangladesh’s first molecular cancer diagnostics lab.
Praava Health has membership plans, a value-based healthcare concept where customers can get all Praava Health services at a flat rate. Praava also has a home care service where doctors and nurses visit patients at home, which is currently inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic. The price of the membership ranges from BDT 4500 to BDT 28,000.
Praava Health was the first government-approved private lab to offer COVID-19 testing. In 2020, it processed 75,000 COVID-19 tests in-house. Amid the pandemic, 90% of Praava’s consultation is occurring virtually.
At present the company claims to have 40 collection points throughout Dhaka city along with the medical center at Banani.
In March 2021, Praava Health raised a Series A Prime round backed by an excellent list of prominent angel investors that includes retired United States Army General David H. Petraeus, chairman of the KKR Global Institute and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who also invested in Praava’s seed round; Wellville executive founder Esther Dyson, SBK Tech Ventures, Dr. Jeremy Lim, advisor of digital health to Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research; Dr. Rushika Fernandopoulle, co-founder and CEO of Iora Health; and Geoff Price, co-founder, and chief operating officer of Oak Street Health that brings its total funding to $10.6 million
With the new investment, Praava plans to open 10 more healthcare centers in Dhaka, and eventually expand outside Dhaka into Chittagong and other major cities. Praava Health is also working to develop a “ Super App”, to consolidate all of its digital services into one mobile app.
In an interview with Future Startup in 2018, Ms. Sylvana explained how Praava Health was founded. This is the story of the creation of Praava Health.
The founding story of Praava is personal and serendipitous and offers an insight into how the minds of founders works and what it takes to follow your calling.
Sylvana Quadir Sinha, Founder, Managing Director and CEO of Praava Health walks us through her childhood and early life in the US and how her upbringing at a cultural crossroads, exposure to Bangladesh and its culture early in life, shaped her outlook on life and the world, reflects on her journey from the world of law, politics and development work to entrepreneurship, talks about how a personal experience with the healthcare system in Dhaka led to her founding of Praava Health.
In this excellent interview, Praava Health Founder, Managing Director, and CEO Sylvana Quadir Sinha, explains how digital healthcare services have gone mainstream amid the coronavirus pandemic, the work Praava Health has done in the space, how the internet has transformed our lives and work and enabled individuals to access resources and pursue opportunities that were hard to access before, her work at Praava Health, and much more.
In March 2021, Praava Health raised series A funding round backed by an excellent list of prominent angel investors that includes retired United States Army General David H. Petraeus, chairman of the KKR Global Institute and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who also invested in Praava’s seed round; Wellville executive founder Esther Dyson, SBK Tech Ventures, Dr. Jeremy Lim, advisor of digital health to Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research; Dr. Rushika Fernandopoulle, co-founder and CEO of Iora Health; and Geoff Price, co-founder, and chief operating officer of Oak Street Health that brings its total funding raised to $10.6 million.
Sylvana Q. Sinha, founder and CEO of Praava Health, spent over a decade in international law and development pursuing her long-time intent to do work that leveraged her American education to make an impact in the world.
She always wanted to use this world-class education to improve the conditions she knew first hand in her family's country of origin, and other emerging markets.
But she found that the international law, and even on-the-ground roles with the World Bank and other international development organizations weren't providing the satisfying sense of life-changing impact that she sought. So, following one of her favorite quotes: "Stay close to anything that makes you glad to be alive," by Hafiz, and started Praava Health in 2014.
Update on 7 April 2021 at 3:53: This article has been updated with new information