My Food Bag founders disrupting the healthcare industry

5 min read

13 November 2020

As featured on Stuff

"I don't spend any time worrying about what others are trying to do – what I worry about is making sure my children and all the children of Aotearoa are getting the best healthcare experiences possible."

That's the thinking behind My Food Bag co-founders Cecilia and James Robinson's new app, Tend, which is set to bring massive disruption to the healthcare industry.

Tend will allow you to see a medical professional at a time that suits you without ever having to leave the house; simply log in to the app and select a video consultation with a specific doctor, or wait for the next available appointment. A simple but transformative idea that will completely shake up the way healthcare is delivered in New Zealand.

So how did the three-time Deloitte Fast 50 winners come up with yet another industry-disrupting business idea?

As you'd expect, the customer is at the heart of Tend – but it took a particular kind of innovation to really meet New Zealanders' healthcare needs.

"Sometimes when you operate at the edge of the curve, customers don't necessarily know what they can have – disrupting an industry requires a balance between a laser focus on the customer and solving their problems but also a degree of visionary on how to deliver the best outcomes," explains James.

If you're being genuinely transformative, it shouldn't matter what other businesses are doing. According to Cecilia: "We don't spend much time thinking about competitors – if you're already innovating and doing the next big thing, your competitors won't ever reach you."

Cecilia has first-hand experience of New Zealand's healthcare system letting her down.

After suffering two devastating miscarriages and unable to get the answers she needed from local doctors, she turned to overseas specialists for help, eventually having a digital consultation with two doctors in Australia. A healthy baby girl soon followed.

It was a lightbulb moment for the Robinsons, who quickly realised that if they wanted a different way of doing healthcare in New Zealand then they were going to have to make the changes themselves.

"When we started looking at Tend, we waited quite a long time (before launching it) because we were like 'this is bigger than Ben Hur' and then we kind of had to circle back because we were like 'well no one else is going to do it'," says Cecilia.

They realised assembling the right team would be crucial to Tend's success. "We thought, if we're actually going to do this, we need to find the best people to transform the sector, and then use their expertise to build a product that would be truly transformative," says Cecilia. That's why for the Robinsons, innovating "from the outside in" while still keeping key stakeholders on board has been critical.

They hope the Tend app and in-person clinical experience will help other Kiwis get a greater choice in their own healthcare, as well as providing greater workplace flexibility for frontline healthcare workers in the age of Covid-19. Despite a "laundry list of challenges" the couple faced setting up Tend, they say the hard work is worth it.

"We are really focused on delivering the best healthcare experiences because Kiwis deserve that," says Cecilia.

Cecilia and James opened up about their plans to bring major disruption to the healthcare system in the first episode of the new Life in the Fast Lane podcast,  which features interviews with some of the most notable winners of the Deloitte Fast 50 from the past 20 years.

Listen to the interview in full by accessing Life in the Fast Lane on, Spotify or Apple podcasts.