2023 Most Disruptive Business School Startups: PrivyTrack, University of Illinois (Gies)


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Gies College of Business

 Industry: FemTech

Founding Student Name(s): Shriya Srikanth

Brief Description of Solution: PrivyTrack is a privacy-focused period-tracking app with hormone cycle optimization. Instead of selling the data to make a profit, we are using it to conduct a study on holistic menstrual health that will allow users to get curated recommendations on sleep, mental health, fitness, nutrition, and other categories based on their cycle. PrivyTrack is also building an advocacy hub that has a newsletter and advocacy. We believe in a world where data is protected, and women get more insight into what’s really happening in their bodies and the world.

Funding Dollars: $10,000

What led you to launch this venture? Women have been underdiagnosed, undertreated, and undervalued in the healthcare system. Many foundational medical studies were conducted on the average human – a 5’9” white male. It wasn’t until the 90s that women were required to be included in these studies. As a result, women have been disproportionately impacted by healthcare and policy decisions, like Roe v Wade.

Period tracking apps are not protected by HIPPA, so many apps were selling data to the highest bidder. This data was being sold to prosecutors as evidence of having an abortion; advertisers looking to spread false information; and other harmful third parties.

I built PrivyTrack to provide women with an option to track their periods without worrying about where their data is going. If private health information is protected when you tell a doctor, it should be protected on an app as well. I hope to contribute to a new generation of women’s health and privacy by redefining the way we think about health data.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Our biggest accomplishment thus far with PrivyTrack has been designing a study that will allow us to quantify factors in holistic menstrual wellness. This means we will eventually be able to provide recommendations to women based on their cycle on sleep, mental wellness, fitness, nutrition, and other factors.

How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? Being a startup founder means wearing a lot of hats. Having a little bit of knowledge in a lot of subjects is incredibly helpful in building a venture from the ground up. Studying at the Gies College of Business allows for a base level of knowledge in many business-related disciplines. By taking foundational accounting, finance, management, marketing, and information systems classes, I felt more confident undertaking challenges that arose with the startup.

Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? My sophomore year, I took BADM 300: The Legal Environment of Business. The legal side of developing a startup is often the most intimidating. Having a base level understanding of terms that may be used made the legal world a lot less intimidating.

What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Although many of my business professors have been supportive and provided mentorship, there are two I would like to focus on. The first being Dr. Luckman, who was constantly encouraging and supportive in starting PrivyTrack. She has always been open to talking about and giving advice on my dreams, no matter how big they were. She is an inspiration, and an incredible mentor. The other mentor I have had in the business school is Manu Edakara, the Director of iVenture Accelerator. To say the least, PrivyTrack would not be where it is without him. Through the iVenture Accelerator program, he has provided mentorship, support, and invaluable advice in every stage. He truly believes in every founder and wants nothing more than to see us succeed.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Growing up, my father always told the story of Steve Jobs taking a calligraphy course in school, purely because he was interested in it. This class ended up being the reason that we have such a broad range of fonts to choose between. Steve Jobs took a creative outlook on the product he created, and I look up to his manner of bringing in various, and non-traditional skills to his journey as an entrepreneur.

When I was in high school, two of my uncles left the corporate world to pursue their own ventures. They worked hard, and poured their hearts into causes they cared deeply about. Watching them encouraged me to do the same. I look up to them for their work ethic and passion.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? My goal with PrivyTrack is to give women a superior tool to manage their health, without worrying about the implications of sharing their data. In the long-term, I hope PrivyTrack sets an example for other companies, and encourage them to consider privacy.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an incredible startup ecosystem. From iVenture Accelerator to SocialFuse, there are endless opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to grow their venture. With a rich legacy of nurturing visionary innovators who have significantly reshaped the world of entrepreneurship, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stands as the perfect hub for growing a venture. iVenture Accelerator provided me a community of founders, mentors, and peers that helped grow PrivyTrack. Moreover, I now have friends that are going through the same journey I am. I am so grateful for everything my local startup ecosystem has given me.


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