Updated: Mar 23
“I truly believe there is no better time to start your own business than when you become a parent. Your ability to make decisions effectively improves tenfold overnight”
Crunchmoms mentor Sophie Smith co-founded Nabta Health, a healthcare management platform for women. The company just launched the Nabta app, allowing users to personalize their healthcare journey at every life stage – from general wellbeing and fertility, to pregnancy and menopause.
Q1: What does a day in your life look like?
I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, so my day starts early, between 5:15 and 6:30am. I work late most nights, so my husband and I alternate morning duty. I’m with the kids until 8am, at which point my Executive Assistant (temporarily-turned-full-time-nanny) arrives and takes over.
Then I’m working – in meetings, on calls and in workshops – until 3:30 PM. If I’m working from home, I pop downstairs a couple of times for 15-minute coffee-and-play breaks or to have lunch with the kids. The afternoons belong to my children. I am with them reliably from 3:30pm until they go to bed at around 6:30pm every night. We follow a strict routine – dinner at 5pm, bath, stories, prayers (more stories..mostly made-up ones) and then sleep.
By 7pm, I’m back online. I try to exercise two or three times per week at around 8 or 9 PM. Usually, there are a couple more calls with partners in the US, and then I get onto my admin – emails, presentations, legal and financial work, etc. After that it’s my quiet, head-down time.
On good nights, I’m in bed by 11pm, but it’s often much later, like 1 or 2am. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t find it difficult to fall asleep...
Q2: What one experience shaped your life?
Trying to identify one life-shaping experience is pretty tough. Without a doubt, the experience that most effectively reshaped my life was becoming a mother.
I truly believe there is no better time to start your own business than when you become a parent. Your ability to make decisions effectively improves tenfold overnight. When you have small children, you don’t have time to waste on anything. You naturally become a little more risk-averse, but you also become more driven because you have to provide for small people who are utterly dependent on you. You don’t schedule meetings you don’t want or need to have; you don’t partner with people you don’t trust; you don’t work with people you don’t like. My mum had an excellent saying – “In life, you get what you tolerate”.
My experience has been that when you become a parent, you tolerate a lot less time-wasting, and time in business is money. Most startups don’t fail; they run out of cash.
Q3: What is the one ritual that keeps you going?
Q4: What is the one question you get asked the most?
Why did you set up Nabta? And/or why focus on women’s health?
Q5: What keeps you motivated?
The belief that Nabta will change not only the way women experience healthcare, and the extent to which they are empowered to manage their health, but also the way that healthcare as an industry is understood today.
We are pioneering an entirely new model of ‘hybrid healthcare’ at Nabta – combining digital and traditional healthcare along specific care pathways to improve health outcomes. We are confident that in five years, all care pathways will use our model in place of traditional, provider-led models.
Q6: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from Jeff Bezos: that the best leaders hold strong opinions weakly. Meaning, it is important to know what you want (from life, from a career) and what you want to build – and to pursue these things with every ounce of your being. But if what you want proves to be wrong, or flawed, or a better way is found, you must be willing to adapt, and to pursue the new reality with the same passion and resilience. We are not oracles, and we are often wrong. Humility in leadership is essential.
Q7: What were you hoping to gain from becoming a Crunchmoms mentor?
Have you seen the film Pay It Forward (2000)? It’s based on the idea that if you help three people, and each of those three people helps three people and so on, eventually you can change the world. It’s why I decided to become a Crunchmoms mentor.
Women are still, statistically, less likely to receive financial support and more likely to fail in business than their male counterparts. Only 3% of venture capital went to exclusively female-led startups in 2019. It’s our duty as women to support each other, and to level the playing field.