Interview: Juliet Oberding

Juliet OberdingJuliet Oberding is a co-founder of Predictably Well, a mobile health company. Predictably Well builds products that empower people with chronic disease by forecasting their daily wellness. Based in San Diego, Predictably Well’s Good Days app helps people with tracking and predicting “flares” of conditions such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, and asthma.

1. What inspired you to found Predictably Well?

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune condition in which my own immune system attacks my joints. What I learned about RA, is that there are good days and bad days. And the bad days seem to come out of the blue. I wanted to know if the bad days or “flares” could be predicted. I discovered evidence supporting prediction of “flares.” I talked to my co-founder about how we could apply predictive analytics to forecast “flares” and the concept for our Good Days iPhone app was created.

2. What are Predictably Well’s biggest achievements so far?

We created the Good Days prototype in February 2012, launched the iPhone app in April 2012, won the San Diego Apps Challenge Popular Choice Award Grand Prize in July 2012 and are a finalist in the 2012 CONNECT Most Innovative New Product Award. Meanwhile, we’ve learned a lot about what we can do to give our customers more tools of their chronic conditions.

3. What drew you to entrepreneurship and what do you think defines you as an entrepreneur?

What drew me to entrepreneurship is solving a big problem for a lot of people. I think that is one of my greatest strengths: seeing a problem, believing passionately that we can do something to help, taking action, attracting the right team and community to make it reality. It really is magic plus being comfortable with risk and the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship.

4. Why is it important to become involved in the local startup community?

It is really important to connect with community. The San Diego startup community has been an amazing source of support for me. However, I believe it is also important to get involved and contribute your time. Show up for other people’s launch parties and events. Support your community on social media. Terje, my co-founder, and I have both been really active creating study groups and mentoring others. The give is so important.

5. One of the points of tension in the tech startup world is the lack of women in the industry. What tips do you have for women who want to succeed in tech startups?

Get involved in local organizations that support women entrepreneurs. Women 2.0 is one of my favorite organizations. I really enjoy their Founder Friday. Support each other. Connect for coffee. Create your own XX advisory board. And show up for each other. Look for role models. But finally, do what you have to do to build your company. Just keep moving forward every day. Because there is always somebody who doesn’t believe in you, your vision or your product- don’t let it get in your way or dim your light.

6. How can tech startups make an impact in the world of health, where much of the industry is driven by large corporations?

I believe 100% in patient empowerment. The real impact in the industry will come from people who are engaged in their own healthcare and demand opportunities for engagement. It’s about building a community and platform where patients have a voice in their care.

7. What’s next for Predictably Well?

We are continuing to improve our products based on customer feedback. We are  building a community for people with chronic diseases that want to take charge of their wellness. Partnerships with the healthcare industry. Those are just a few of the things we are working on for 2013.

Written by

Jennifer Newell is the Startup California newsletter editor. As a startup enthusiast and community organizer in San Diego, Jennifer is an original local organizer for Startup Weekend and proudly represents the community with SD Tech Scene. Jennifer is a native of Colorado and tweets as @jennyjenjen.

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