The Entrepreneur Series – Serene Cai, Co-Founder, Speedoc

Who is she? 

Serene Cai is the Co-Founder at Speedoc. She also looks after major projects and partnerships in Speedoc – which comprises of anything from working with MOH on nationwide Covid response for the past two years to creating partnerships with major hospitals in order to build up our Home Hospital capabilities.  


What made you decide to start Speedoc?

“It was a multitude of factors culminating in a happy beginning! Around the time we conceived the idea, on-demand applications like Uber and FoodPanda were gaining popularity.

The government was also considering a move from premise-based licensing to service-based licensing (eg, licenses for health screening, telemedicine etc). Around the same time – I had met my business partner, Dr Shravan Verma, and he had similar thoughts about meeting the underserved needs in the community, and so we quit our jobs to start Speedoc together.”


What is a typical morning at work?

“I wake up at 6:30am, so that I have an hour or so to myself before the day really begins. I take some time to think about the tasks I have to complete for the day and make a mental note of the priorities. Then, I spend some time catching up on news or reading. At 8:30am, my workday begins, and I start preparing for my morning huddles – when we talk about priorities, roadblocks and numbers.”


What are some of the challenges of the job?

“We face the same challenges that every startup has – from cash flow to resource management! An added challenge definitely comes from the healthcare portion – whether it’s dealing with life-and-death situations, or wearing PPE for a full day.”


What were some of the life lessons which you have learned along the way in your career? 

“One of my favourite quotes is from the School of Life. Paraphrased for succinctness, it reads – things may not always be fine. But even where things go wrong, they are broadly survivable. You realise that there is always a plan B; that the world is broad, that a few kind souls are always to be found and that the most horrid things are, in the end, endurable.”


Best advice someone has given you in life?

“I’ve been privileged enough to be given so much good advice that I can’t think of my favourite. I guess a good one would be “A ship is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for.”


As the Co-Founder of Speedoc, what motivates you personally?

“I’ve always said I’m extremely lucky to have found my North Star and my calling in healthcare, where every decision and action I make is likely to help someone feel better or get better. This is what gets me out of bed every morning.” 


Do you ever face biasness in your work and position because of your gender? 

“For sure! Entrepreneurship and healthcare leadership are two separate industries that tend to be male-dominated. Healthcare is also an industry that (rightfully) rewards seniority – and so I’ve had the double whammy of being young and female. I’ve had to work twice as hard as anyone out there to prove myself. Thankfully, I’ve had a great support system around me, and I take each day as a challenge!” 


If I were not an Entrepreneur, I would be a _________? 

“I would be working in some capacity on causes that are dear to me – global health, women’s health or children in need.”


Any inspirational quote for all the women in business & leadership out there?

“I borrow a lot of the world of sports because professional athletes are some of the people I admire the most. I watch professional tennis, and there is a well-known adage that I feel is really representative of life, and life in a startup especially – with all its twists and turns – “It isn’t over until the last ball drops”.


Check out Speedoc Singapore here.

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