Feature Friday! Platybase

Platybase co-founders, Olivia Bruno ’20 (top left), Colleen Baldwin ’21 (top right), and Mika Panday ’21 (bottom row).

DC: What is your name, major, and graduation year?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno:

  • Chief Design Officer: Mika Panday, UMD 2021
  • Chief Technology Officer: Colleen Baldwin, American University 2021
  • Chief Executive Officer: Olivia Bruno, American University, 2020; Cornell University 2022

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Platybase has been fully immersed in Dingman Center programs since our inception. We got our start in Terp Startup Accelerator’s Summer 2021 cohort and we are now part of Terp Startup Fellows. Out of all the Universities our team has attended, American University, Cornell University and UMD, UMD and the Dingman Center have risen far above all others in their impact on our venture. Through the Dingman Center, we gained incredible mentors like Michael Kapoor, Zeki Mokhtarzada and David Engle who have led us through difficult times and allowed us to grow into the team we are today. We are beyond grateful for the mentorship and experiences that Terp Startup has provided us with over the last two years and we are so excited to see where Bill Boyle, Tsega Belachew and the Terp Startup Fellows program will lead us next.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Platybase was founded by three neurodivergent women on a mission to improve the lives of the next generation of families impacted by disabilities.  With the help of Platybase’s HIPAA compliant communication platform, families and therapy providers build community support and create a visual diary of progress for their children. Visual diaries provide motivation for everyone and focus care teams on the positive impact of their work, while decreasing miscommunications and turnover.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Growing up we all faced challenges due to our differences, and we watched those closest to us become victims of existing systems in mental and behavioral healthcare. Accountability and communication are the pillars of trust, which is broken between many families and the institutions aiming to serve them. With Platybase, our goal is to build trust and create the communities we wish our families could have experienced.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last three months?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Our team has been focused on raising non-dilutive funding and building our client base. Over the last year we have raised a total of 45k non-dilutive funding and we have grown astronomically, from only 36 users at one center to onboarding approximately 1,000 across 14 centers. This growth and financing is allowing us to track the ROI of Platybase, which aims to improve parent satisfaction, learning outcomes for children, client and employee turnover rates, and dosage fulfillment (the number of hours pediatric therapy has been recommended for vs. the number of hours a parent agrees to have their child treated for). By the end of May, we will have meaningful data proving Platybase’s ROI for therapy centers and value for parents and kiddos. 

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: The most important thing we are currently working on is showing value to our clients and families; however, on a personal level we are using our product to fight injustice and save lives. Olivia’s uncle who has Down’s Syndrome was badly neglected and abused in a hospital while he was being treated for Covid. He was not prioritized by the medical staff and was left without food, water or access to the lavatory, and since he was in a covid ward his family was not permitted to visit and therefore had no way of knowing how he was being treated or protecting him from such abuse. Thankfully once this was discovered he was moved to a rehab hospital where Olivia’s family has insisted his staff use the Platybase application to increase accountability in his care. With Platybase, his caretakers send photos and videos of his progress and his care daily, and communicate with his entire family in one place. Since moving and using platybase with his new nurses, he has turned a corner and improved significantly. While Platybase is currently marketed to pediatric therapy centers, this horrific experience has taught the founders how critical it is to offer our product to all ages. Once we receive funding and grow as a company, we believe that Platybase will create a better world for people with disabilities at every age.

DC: As student business owners, what motivates you?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Our personal experiences and the experiences of our family members motivate us everyday. One in six children under the age of 18 has been diagnosed with a disability in the USA and it is our responsibility to create a better world for the next generation of people like us.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Panday, Baldwin, and Bruno: Entrepreneurship is fun and exciting, but it can also make you feel like Sisyphis, perpetually pushing a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down again. The problem you are trying to solve needs to be intrinsically important to you, so that the benefits of success outweigh the turmoil of getting there.

To learn more about Platybase, please visit the website here.

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