photo of two women, one comforting the other

Caregiva Offers Resources, Builds Community

App solves caregiver challenges through technology

Quick Summary

  • Many caregivers face an alarming dearth of resources and community, putting them at risk for burnout and isolation.
  • Undergraduates Nishi Bhagat and Nikhita Toleti are committed to finding a solution.
  • Caregiva has a multifront approach to solving caretaker challenges through technology.
  • The app won a $1,000 prize and the $500 People's Choice award in the November 2022 Little Bang! Pitch + Poster Competition.

People caring for a loved one often struggle to find critical resources, a supportive networkand the time and know-how to care for themselves. 

Indeed, up to 70% of caregivers are vulnerable to symptoms of depression.

Yet the challenges of caregiving often go unnoticed. 

Caregiva is a venture that has a multifront approach to solving caretaker challenges through technology. We aim to lessen the caregiving burden and be the go-to resource that everyone invested in the care recipient’s wellbeing can turn to.

photo of a man discussing business competition poster with two women students
Nishi Bhagat (left) and Nikhita Toleti explain their app for caregivers to Joe DiNunzio, executive director of the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at the November 2022 Little Bang! Pitch + Poster Competition.

Specifically, Caregiva provides a collaborative calendar for caregivers to work with other involved parties to best manage the care recipient’s needs while still prioritizing their own needs. The app also offers a social media platform where  caregivers can find community and resources.

Our Story

Cognitive science major (neuroscience emphasis) Nikhita Toleti experienced the challenges of caregiving first hand. When her brother, Adi, was diagnosed with autism, it was hard initially to find resources, let alone a community. As Adi developed more symptoms, it was increasingly difficult to find specialists to treat them. Nikki volunteered at a school for disabled students and saw other families struggle with the same problems.

To watch your family struggle to provide care for a loved brother alone is a devastating experience. But it also inspired Nikki to work for a better solution because no caregiver should have to go through what her family had. No caregiver should become just another statistic.

Nishi Bhagat, a cognitive science major (computational emphasis), was a research assistant in the UC Davis Diversity and Disparity Lab, where she studied caregiver cognitive decline in the context of isolation and burnout when taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia. Her work taught her the nuances of cultural caregiving and how social contexts dictate the unique nature of each caregiving role. This pushed her to brainstorm solutions where caretakers could collaborate and find a community with understanding. 

Our shared interests in entrepreneurship and solving caregiving challenges inspired us to find a solution.

Building Business Skills

Both Nishi and Nikki are studying STEM-related fields and had not explored the business realm prior to this endeavor. Caregiva is our first startup and it has been an incredibly educational and exciting experience. We have strengthened our skills in market research, finance, product development, sales and related areas.

We have also learned how to become women in business.

Women are underrepresented in the entrepreneurial realm, and we are incredibly grateful to have such a supportive opportunity to start our journey.

We hope to make a difference and create an environment where caregivers can focus on themselves as well as their recipient.

We hope to make a positive impact on the caregiving community, as they deserve the same amount of care that they give. As we continue to iterate, we hope to scale to reach caregivers of different backgrounds, especially those who are underserved and don’t have adequate support. 

Meet our November 2022 Little Bang! winners

Little Bang!, Big Benefits

We encourage other students with even the slightest interest in entrepreneurship to compete in the Little Bang! Pitch + Poster Competition. Everyone is incredibly supportive and it’s so exciting to see how all the participants imagine a better world through solving problems that impact them.

In addition, the process of the Little Bang! allows you to explore many different areas that might not come up in your regular classes, such as customer calls or developing a business plan, so it is exciting to stretch your skill set with the process. 

We are excited for our next steps, and are forever grateful for the support of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and UC Davis. 

Nishi Bhagat is a Keller Pathway Fellow! Read about her work and her experiences in the program.

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