How Apollo Foundation’s Upasana Konidela is tapping the wellness industry with URLife
For Upasana Kamineni Konidela — granddaughter of Prathap C Reddy, entrepreneur and Founder-Chairman, Apollo Hospitals — COVID-19 came as a reminder of a life’s value and the medical fraternity’s profession.
In a conversation with HerStory, the Vice-Chairperson of Apollo Foundation says,
“Life after COVID-19 has changed drastically for me. My day starts with sending the right messages to uplift the spirits of Apollo staff members, those working tirelessly in our isolation centres, and vaccinating the tribal population and corporate employees. And, a few lives have been lost in the service.”
More importantly, when the pandemic broke out in early 2020, Upasana saw that a lot of misinformation was floating around regarding the disease.
Amidst the initial scare, people were eagerly soaking up all the well-being practices about do’s and don’ts to avoid COVID-19.
Upasana decided to take matters into her own hands and started a personal venture URLife — an occupational health business and wellness platform — that shares credible healthcare information from certified wellness professionals.
She says, “Well-being practices are as important as medical science because only when you eat well, the burden of diseases will come down. And it is important to get qualified and certified information from experts who are experts in nutrition, physiotherapy, and not just anyone out there because you and I cannot become a psychologist overnight just because we read so much. There is science."
Amplifying verified wellness practices
Upasana says putting out the right information during the pandemic is also a form of frontline work.
“With COVID-19, instructions keep changing dynamically, with new information often confirming the existing practices may not be the right protocol anymore,” she adds.
With URLife, Upasana started getting celebrities to interview wellness experts to boost the platform. She says the platform has grown to become a place where people purely come to seek verified information.
Besides online content delivery, the for-profit company also operates an occupational health business, which caters to corporate clients. In fact, it has established over 600 occupational centres through corporates across India and has built a network of two million people through the B2B association.
Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Founder of URLife
She says, “Corporate employees are no exception to suffering mentally and physically during the pandemic. We have a team of 1,800 doctors and nurses, managing the complete employee healthcare of corporates.”
While URLife declined to share financial details, it claims that the occupational health business is its largest revenue stream.
According to Upasana, the platform is witnessing drastic growth as more people are prioritising holistic wellness needs.
The evolving healthcare landscape
Besides URLife, Upasana is also overseeing Apollo Foundation’s isolation centres and if they are constantly receiving proper oxygen supply.
As part of this, she is also ensuring the timely supply of food and medicines to the 130 old-age homes run by the foundation.
“Even if one person contracted COVID-19 in any of these homes, it would be fatal,” she adds.
As a veteran of India’s healthcare industry, Upasana says India’s healthcare system has stood strong and has kept up with unexpected needs.
“I wish India had kept some medicines for themselves rather than importing them to other countries, but the beauty of the Indian healthcare system is that it is evolving by turning beds into COVID-facilities overnight. I request everyone to have faith in the healthcare professional because right now, they are not working for salary but only out of compassion,” she urges.
An MBA graduate from Regent’s University, London, Upasana had to constantly prove herself professionally as she hails from a well-known business family.
Growing up with a strong value that respect is earned with one’s work, gender bias is the least of her concern — both at home and at the Apollo Group.