Some time back I met Prasad over a cup of coffee and had a chance to talk to him about this dynamic business called Aaji care. In spite of having 80 plus full-time employees, Prasad is bootstrapping the business with a paycheck; he says he doesn’t want his salary to be a burden on the business as he believes if a company gets financially insecure, the business starts to compromise on its principles. So he prefers to bootstrap till he knows the business can afford his salary. Prasad is an IT professional who now is into project management and started his career as a developer and has worked with major investment banks.
The Genesis of Aaji Care was in his personal experience when his mother was admitted to an ICU while he was working in the US. Being the only son he rushed to be by her side, but work beckoned him back to the US, and he had the toughest time trying to find a reliable agency to take care of his recovering mother, as his father was also around 70 years old. He realised the sector was very unorganised as no one is training for quality patient and elderly care.
The business is self-funded with a bit of funding from a fund called “Unlimited India.” He hopes to qualify for the next level of funding from them. The Business currently operates from a small place in Powai, and they give about three weeks of free orientation training to the new recruits in patient care and elderly care. He says these employees who are mostly women were earlier working in the unorganised sector working as housemaids or in some cases on daily wages. Once they are on Aaji care’s payroll, we give them all the dignity of regular employees like Provident Fund, Travel allowance, weekly offs, uniforms and even open them a bank account. The employees are 8th/10th standard pass between the age of 20 – 45 years old. Managing them was tough as they have various socio-economic issues, and the attrition rate was as high as 25%. Now after two years the attrition rate has come down to 15% and these employees are supporting their older parents and siblings.
Currently Aaji care caters to the area of Dadar to Thane on the central side and Andheri to Bandra on the Western side. He says India, will have a tremendous aging population in next 20 years, and there is a pressing need for elderly care. There are currently few players in the market with Portea being the biggest one, which is funded amply and is now operating in about 80 cities of India.
When asked about the plans, he says he would like a start a day care Center for the elderly, provide affordable quality geriatric preventive care, grow its physiotherapy and Nursing services to provide professional services to families in need to achive its organization Vision “To improve quality of life for families in need of care”