Melanie Hetzer is an entrepreneur and digital nomad. Together with her co-founder she founded the eHealth platform Cora Health in 2016. Today, Cora Health helps thousands of blood pressure patients to improve their condition and live a heart-healthy life.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I come from a small town in northern Austria and studied Marketing in Vienna. However, it was my dream to study abroad. And that’s how it all started. I did my second Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at Lund University in Sweden and there I met my co-founder Josef.
What inspired you to start your business?
Every fourth adult in Europe has high blood pressure. And what’s worse, every eighth dies from one of its secondary diseases such as stroke or heart attack. We became aware of this issue as members of our families were diagnosed with hypertension. We were appalled how little attention and care patients received to treat their condition. This is when we decided to start Cora Health.
Where is your business based?
Our company is based in Tallinn, Estonia. However, we are a remote team spread across different countries.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
We started off by doing lots of market research. We interviewed patients and doctors to find out more about their wants and needs. As a second step we analysed all the information we got and then started to develop our product. Until now, user feedback plays a key role in our product development.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
We recognised that many patients inform themselves on their condition on the Internet. By providing patients answers to their concerns through our online heart health guide, we raise awareness for our product.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
As startup founders we face different kinds of challenges every day, from development to HR. However, one of the biggest challenges is that hypertension itself isn’t a “sexy topic” and does not get much attention in public debates.
How do you stay focused?
In today’s age getting distracted is as easy as never before.That’s why we have weekly stand ups where we plan our tasks for the upcoming week. By doing that we can assure that we’re working towards the same goal and that everyone’s on track.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
If you go on the App Store, you’ll find various blood pressure apps. However, all of them focus on tracking and none of them aims to improve the users’ condition. Cora Health is the only app that supports patient empowerment, providing users with a personalised training plan.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
We want to be present where patients need us. Thus, we started our online health guide and recently our YouTube channel, where we provide patients with valuable information on the topic of heart health.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Two things: First, do what you love! If you love doing something it won’t feel like work. And second, have stamina! Founding a startup is like a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, but don’t give up.
What’s your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
That’s an easy one! Of course, my favourite app is the app I spend most time on – Cora Health. But other than that, I like Instagram as a source of inspiration for new travel destinations.
My favourite blog is Sommertage, an Austrian travel blog which encouraged me to start my own blog (digitalenomadin.at) about traveling and life as a digital nomad.
I don’t really have a favourite book, but I like reading nonfiction books to develop my skills.
What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
I really like the Airtable, a planning tool we’re using for various things. It offers so many different options and it also provides users with useful templates for content planning, outreach etc.
Who is your business role model? Why?
To be honest, I don’t really have a role model. I admire people dare to follow their dreams.
How do you balance work and life?
My work is also my biggest hobby. I love spending time on our eHealth platform Cora Health or my blog Digitale Nomadin. But if I need a break from working, I like spending time with my family and friends.
What’s your favorite way to decompress?
Nature! In summer, I love to cycle to the sea and go for a swim. For me that’s the best way to relax.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
Our goal is to improve the heart health of millions of patients. In order to realize that, we plan to expand our presence on the iPad in the near future.
How can our readers connect with you?
We’d be happy if you visit our website and follow us on our social media channels. Website: https://www.cora.health/
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/cora-health/id1186224674