Interview with Maree Beare, Founder and CEO of Wanngi

This interview was conducted by Megan Capriccio, FemTech Collective Global Ambassador in Sydney

Leading up to our new chapter launch event in Sydney, Australia, we wanted to highlight the outstanding work done in the women’s health and tech space by our Australian Founders. It was a pleasure for our first interview to be with Maree Beare the founder and CEO of Wanngi, and fellow advocate for individuals having better control over their health and bodies.

Wanngi is a Brisbane based startup that has developed a multi-platform app to empower people with their own health and wellness information.

Maree is passionate about using innovative technology to positively impact the lives of others. She is renowned as a forward-thinking leader in the technology sector, with extensive experience advising many of Australia’s leading organisations in transforming their businesses and delivering high-profile technology programs. Maree realised that Australians are disconnected from their health information, and a mobile application that empowers them and their doctor to make informed decisions about their well-being was desperately needed in the market. Maree wants people to become their own health champions. Her work with Wanngi has been recognised by Forbes in the top 50 women-led startups disrupting HealthTech, showing the Australian company is becoming a growing influence in the digital health sector. She was also named in the top 100 Women in Wearables for 2019.

What is the idea behind your project / product and how did you come up with it?

Imagine a future where no matter where in the world you see a health professional, you will have access to your health data. Wanngi’s vision is for consumers to be more included in their health journey by empowering them with access to their health data. We know that this change will greatly impact the health industry and people's lives in a positive way. We want people to have control, to get better diagnosed, to save money and overall just live a better, simpler and healthier life.

In early 2017 I realised that one major thing was missing from the health care system. “I tried to access my health record and the only option I could find was the government consumer portal. At that time, I realised that the eHealth record was only really accessible for clinicians, bureaucrats, and insurance companies, so I set about making it accessible to people, giving them more control over their health information.”

What impact do you hope it makes on women’s health / FemTech/ Women in health?

One of the problems we are solving is that at least 1 in 20 people are misdiagnosed when they see a medical professional. This number increases significantly for women. One of the reasons is that often research trials and study on chronic conditions has been based upon male patients. If women can come to a health appointment ready with evidence of their history and symptoms, they are increasing their chances of being diagnosed correctly. This is self prophesying as clinicians will then start seeing the benefit of consumer generated data.

I hope to create a private space for people to take back control of their own health. This empowerment is key for more women to become more involved in their health and the health/tech industries. Women are the world collaborators and communicators and this is the best place to give women a voice.

How long did it take you to be where you are now? And how did you get there?

We spent two years developing Wanngi and we finally launched in April.

What was the biggest obstacle?

Having bootstrapped this startup, thus far, has been a challenge for us as we have had a number of delays due to dependencies on government approvals, and initial potential investors have required customer validation first. However, as a result of a lot of hard work and countless hours, Wanngi is now live, with more features already being rolled out.