Cecilia Robinson on going from dinners to doctors

5 min read
Heather du Plessis-Allan

14 April 2021

As featured on Newstalk ZB

Taking time to see the doctor, and even getting an appointment in the first place, can make getting your healthcare sorted really difficult. That could all be about to change, thanks to one of New Zealand’s best-known entrepreneurs, Cecilia Robinson. She’s just launched a new business, Tend, taking doctors’ visits online.

If her name’s familiar, it’s likely because she’s the high-profile brain behind My Food Bag. But what you might not know, is her entrepreneurial journey started with her first major business, Au Pair Link.

Providing childcare for Kiwi families kept her on her toes during the day, so a dinner dilemma was the last thing she needed at night when she asked her husband James what he wanted to eat.

“He’d say ‘whatever’s easy’ which is quite possibly one of the worst responses ever because it’s a cop out. So I saw the idea for My Food Bag and thought that would really solve my problems.”

They moved on from Au Pair link to start the meal delivery service, and it’s now the third largest food retailer in New Zealand.

But like typical entrepreneurs, once My Food Bag was up and running, she and James were ready for another challenge. They’d experienced how difficult it was to access healthcare for their young family and wanted to turn the industry on its head. That’s how their new start-up, Tend, was born.

Cecilia describes it as a regular primary healthcare provider, like your local GP, but with much better technology to deliver health services.

“You can see us at one of our clinics, or you can see us through our app, virtually. Tend’s built technology where you can engage via messaging, you can send a follow up note...we want to create non-linear forms of care.”

Cecilia says they’re wanting to make a positive change to the way Kiwis get healthcare. And she says it’s not about the money, it’s about making a difference.

“We are in this because we care. We are in this because we think we can do better than what currently exists.”

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