Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be in Silicon Valley, talking to Puja Kapoor, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Newmom.me, who is working to make the world a better place for new moms and their babies. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Welcome, Puja! It’s so great to have you here today. So tell me, what challenge are you addressing at Newmom.me?
Puja: Thanks for this opportunity, Spiffy. Modern motherhood, especially when a mom is far from her parents and extended family, can be physically and emotionally challenging. Unfortunately, although there are many trained specialists who can help, most mothers are not aware what types of support are available and which services and providers are best for them. I grew up in India, which has many lovely mother-centric customs. Whole communities come together to support the new mom while welcoming the new baby into the home. Newmom.me was created to bring this spirit to our modern lives, making it easy for moms to learn about and find the services they need, and improve motherhood one mom at a time.
Spiffy: I can see how this is a crucial need. What motivated you to hone in on supporting new moms?
Puja: Although I thought I was fully prepared for the birth of my son, once he arrived I was physically exhausted, hungry, and even depressed, lonely, and scared. Far from family and extended family, I fluctuated between loving motherhood and dreading the next day. I thought I was alone in my struggles, but after speaking with countless other moms and hearing different versions of the same story over and over, I realized that my challenges were not only not unique, they were practically the norm. So many other new moms suffer in silence due to lack of awareness or resources. This lack of support can have devastating effects on the mental and social well being of mothers, children, and the family.
Spiffy: I see! Now, I’m curious how you and Newmom.me are working to create a more equitable world?
Puja: Well, Spiffy, we help children get the best start possible in life by supporting their mothers during the critical first days and weeks. We are building an inclusive community of moms and service providers, to come together and truly build a village where all new moms feel safe and cared for, with no discrimination or judgment. Our goal is to provide high-quality postpartum support to all new mothers, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.
Spiffy: That’s stellar, Puja! What about any recent milestones—are there any you’ve reached that you can tell me about?
Puja: For a new mother, even the simple things can make a big difference. To help a mom get a good night's sleep for the first time in days, or show them how to feed their baby, reminds us that we are fulfilling our mission. While our providers have already served many moms, we have also spent nights and weekends finding additional service providers to help mothers who were in the middle of a crisis and needed urgent help.
Spiffy: I’m curious how entrepreneurs approach failure. What about you? Can you share an experience when you faced failure? What have you discovered?
Puja: Well, Spiffy, I don't believe in the word "failure". I believe in learning and evolution. Like everyone, at many points in my life I have faced intimidating challenges—from not being able to get into my dream college, being alone in a new country with no job or money, to now launching my own startup. With consistent hard work and perseverance, I have learned to adapt, overcome, and thrive. There is no substitute for hard work, and you only fail when you stop working on what you believe in.
Spiffy: Have you learned any important lesson lately?
Puja: I recently learned the power of staying still and being present in the moment from my best friend, who is also a new yoga teacher. In a society where instant gratification has become the norm, the ability to slow down and appreciate what we have is the key to regaining — and maintaining — our internal balance.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Puja: I was born in a small town in India, where being a girl meant that your options in life were limited to being a good wife. Even as a child, I knew there was more. I understood the power of education and how it can be a lever for change. So never be afraid to question the status quo and stand up for what you believe is right. That is the first step towards bringing the change you want to bring.
Puja Kapoor, founder and CEO of Newmom.me, is on a mission to help all new moms transition to a healthy and happy motherhood. With over 15 years experience in product management and marketing in ML/AI, mobile, finance and healthcare, Puja has shipped flagship products for Metromile, AT&T, American Express, and Abbott Pharmaceuticals. (Nominated by Hiral Shah. First published on the Ladderworks website on May 31, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.