Two years ago, Julie Gilbert-Newrai found herself in the midst of a crisis. Just weeks after the birth of a child, her husband suffered a sudden stroke that required brain surgery and major rehabilitation.
Abruptly, she was dealing with managing her career, newborn daycare, and adult healthcare facilities. She quickly became aware of the serious communication issues plaguing both industries and as a serial entrepreneur living the paint point, wasn’t about to just going to let those issues go unaddressed.
So one day, six months after the life-altering incident, she canceled all her meetings and went to a coffee shop to map out an idea. That seed would eventually grow into PreciouStatus, her submission for this year’s Minnesota Cup business plan competition.
The mobile application is designed around a very simple concept: given a simple and direct channel to your family’s providers (daycare, pet sitters, elder care, rehabilitation, etc.), you should be able to receive a steady, live stream of updates on those you aren’t able to watch over yourself.
With an emphasis on usability, PreciouStatus offers an interface that is all touch-based, creating a private three-way interaction between care provider, family members and the patients/children themselves.
Freshly launched this week with a “national strategic partner,” the product is sold as a value-add to the various providers themselves, who also have a revenue sharing option, she says.
In pursuing the startup, Gilbert-Newrai works off an extensive background developing new products for large companies.
“I’ve had the privilege of leading the development of businesses that amounted to revenue of over $11 billion in sales,” she says, “all of which thankfully are still in existence and doing very well.”
As a notable example, she points to WOLF, an innovative business growth process and cultural expansion platform which she developed 9 years ago while she was an executive with Best Buy (and credited with bringing $4.4 billion in incremental sales from women to the company) and still flourishing today independently. WOLF has been profiled in Harvard Business Review, Time Magazine, Business Week, and many other publications globally including being a 5 year case study by the prestigious IMD University in Lausanne, Switzerland for it’s tangible business success and sustainability.
Similar to WOLF, PreciouStatus brings voice those who may not be able to be heard (clearly Gilbert-Newrai’s passion), like infants, children, and adults in care.
“I absolutely love all aspects of the creative process,” she says, adding that she’s been working on developing PreciouStatus while also juggling her family and a day job. “Even though it’s really hard, and it hurts your head, and it’s frustrating at times, and it’s incredibly messy, I just can’t seem to get enough of it.”
There have been no corners cut in creating this software and ensuring that it helps the people it’s supposed to help. She says she did research with about 2,000 people – from teachers to caregivers to family members – to build a product from the mindset of those who would use it.
“I want to create pride and community around the people that care for those that we love” says Gilbert-Newrai. “And then, at a higher level, I hope we can create transparency in health care … and bring the customer more into the discussion.”
It’s a big and worthy goal, but hopefully one that will make life easier in the future for folks who find themselves in circumstances as trying as those that affected her in the first place.