Who is Sehreen Noor Ali?
Sehreen is a Co-Founder of Sleuth, a children’s health platform powered by thoughtful AI and crowdsourced insights that enable parents to understand, manage, and predict their child’s health.
Previously, Sehreen was an executive in education technology with experience spanning across sales, business development, and community-building. She is deeply operational and is adept at scaling nascent product lines into revenue-generating departments. Her sweet spot is closing large deals that get new products in the hands of parents.
Sehreen is a frequent speaker on business strategy in education technology and is the recipient of SXSWedu’s first ever Change Maker Award in 2015 for her founding of EdTechWomen. She is a fellow with the Pahara Institute, the 92Y’s Women inPower program, and the Truman National Security Project. She has appeared in Scary Mommy, Mom 2.0, The Harvard Business Review Podcast, and others.
What is Sleuth?
Sleuth is where parents easily share and find insights on their child’s health. Using safe, thoughtful technology, we turn personal experiences into data on the most relevant specialists, local resources, treatments, and diagnostic pathways for different childhood health concerns. We are a parent-led, parent-built business passionate about unlocking the collective power of caregiver expertise.
Who is on the Sleuth team?
Alex, my co-founder, and I met at Antler, a startup generator program. We each had to go one stage to introduce ourselves. I was amongst the very last of the 103 people to go on stage, and by that point, I wasn’t going to hold back even though I was one of very few mothers in the cohort. I mentioned that I taught my daughter to tell people her name was “shorty” in Spanish, and I’m convinced that my humor about parenthood help us connect! Alex is now also a father and bringing humor to what we do continues to be important.
What inspired you to start your company?
After my kids went to sleep, I’d whip out my phone and do research about their health on…Facebook. I knew this couldn’t be the best solution for parents to understand patterns in their kids’ development and health.
How will Sleuth change the world?
I truly believe that Sleuth will help unlock insights about children’s health that we just don’t have access to right now. Research on kids’ health is harder and less funded than adult health, and yet parents have high motivation to unlock answers for them and their communities. Our platform can help do this.
What is the hardest part of being a founder? And what’s the most rewarding?
The hardest part is feeling like I always have to be working, and yet the most rewarding is knowing there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. I feel immensely grateful that this is my life’s work.
What is the most important life, career or startup lesson you’ve learned, and who (or what) taught it to you?
The most important lesson I’m learning is to embrace change. So many of my fears or desire to control things that can’t be controlled come from being worried about the future. But I’m seeing change more like a wave; if you ride through it, instead of trying to swim above it, then change can actually be a positive force. My perspective on this was blunt-forced into my life when my younger daughter got a devastating diagnosis at the moment we were supposed to start fundraising for Sleuth.
What is one thing you wish you’d known at the start of your startup journey?
I wish I had known how to sift the noise from the substance. There’s a lot of “early startup industrial complex” going on and it’s easy to mistake chasing shiny objects for actual progress.
Why do you do what you do?
I really love kids and I always have. I grew up in a community where I spent most of my evening hours at the mosque because my mother led our congregation for 7 years. I’d babysit younger kids, play games, talk to other adults, volunteer and just generally hang out with other families. I got to witness the immigration of families from all around South Asia (like mine) and Central Asia and how my mom, my dad, and so many other community members helped everyone settle in and thrive. I became fascinated by human potential and what it meant to unlock it. And so when I struggled to get answers about my kids’ health, despite all the privilege and education I had accumulated, it became imperative for me to figure this problem out.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I go inwards a lot. Again, the startup world is noisy and I’m a person who needs time alone to recharge and center. Truthfully, I never meant to start a VC-backed company. I had worked for several and had a front row seat at the uphill battle. But because it fell in my lap, it had more meaning and more personal alignment with my values, which makes it important for me to return to that space for inspiration.
Anything else you want people to know?
If you’re a parent that wants to see a specific symptom, condition, or diagnosis covered on Sleuth, please reach out.
Why Graham & Walker Loves Sleuth
Sleuth is offering peace of mind to parents who may not be able to find the answers they need for their children’s health online, and we see the powerful response from the parents who have benefited from Sleuth. In addition, Sehreen and Alex are both parents who feel this frustration on a personal level, and their complementary skills make them the right team to build this vision. Sleuth is an excellent company in our portfolio, and we’re proud to be one of their investors.