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Arvind Raichur of DrOwl: “Inspiration is very closely linked to determination”

I tell my son all the time that every person, regardless of who they are, can make a difference. I think that is something we don’t think about enough. We don’t take the opportunity to make a difference seriously enough at times. The simple act of getting groceries for a senior may seem a very […]

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I tell my son all the time that every person, regardless of who they are, can make a difference. I think that is something we don’t think about enough. We don’t take the opportunity to make a difference seriously enough at times. The simple act of getting groceries for a senior may seem a very small gesture to you, but to that senior, it makes a tremendous difference. The truth is that by helping even one or two neighbors, you are making a difference in someone’s life.


As part of my series about people who stepped up to make a difference during the COVID19 Pandemic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arvind Raichur. Arvind Raichur always knew he would become a serial entrepreneur, and has always had an interest in creative problem-solving, and working tirelessly to solve problems in unique and creative ways. His lifelong goal is to inspire people, which he has done successfully through each of his four companies. Through his patented technologies, Arvind consistently inspires a new generation of leaders.

His fourth company, DrOwl, qualifies as a hero because they are providing free screening and monitoring tool to help keep the community safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how and where you grew up?

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to well-educated parents, Arvind and his family later moved to Denver, Colorado, where he spent the majority of his youth. In his senior year of high school, Arvind’s family relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has lived ever since. Arvind attended the University of New Mexico, where he earned three degrees, including a Doctorate in Law. After practicing law for a period of time, Arvind embarked upon his true passion: entrepreneurship. With four successful companies under his belt and numerous patents to his name, Arvind’s thirst for problem-solving has continued to grow.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, has always resonated with me. The lessons and storyline from the book clearly define how David’s greatest strength was also his greatest weakness. David thrived through his challenges by utilizing creativity and new technology. Our modern-day battles, like COVID, may be different today but we still need to use our creativity, technology, and our vision to help solve them. COVID-19 is a battle we are working tirelessly to win. And just as David did, we are utilizing new technologies to help combat the virus, while helping people screen, monitor, and trace the visitors to our businesses, senior communities, and even our schools.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote has always inspired me. It talks about being brave in the face of adversity or challenges. That has been true in the past, and is certainly true today, in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Roosevelt challenges us to live our life facing challenges head-on, instead of living a lukewarm existence. This quote represents who we should be — people that make a difference for ourselves, our families, our communities, and society as a whole. That is who I am and who I continue to strive to be.

OK, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. You are currently leading a social impact organization that has stepped up during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to address?

We all share one goal: to help mitigate the damage done by the COVID-19 crisis and to help keep people safer, as they go back to work and school.

DrOwl provides a free technology that enables every organization, regardless of its size, to screen and monitor staff and visitors for symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19 to help keep their facilities as safe as possible. In doing so, we are helping create a safer “new normal”. The idea is to ensure that people remember they are accountable when they are entering a facility or building of any type. Our technology manages, tracks, and empowers people to remain accountable. By keeping people who have symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 out of the buildings, we are helping to protect the most vulnerable.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a hero?

A hero is someone who puts the greater good ahead of their own personal gain; someone who is helping others. While that may seem like a simplistic definition of the term hero, it goes to the core of what a hero really is. Trying to make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the easiest thing, but we are doing it. In fact, I believe our organization, DrOwl, is composed of heroes who are working diligently to provide a free tool for our country’s most vulnerable while enabling their families and friends to take comfort in the knowledge that DrOwl is helping keep them protected as well.

In your opinion or experience, what are the “5 characteristics of a hero? Please share a story or example for each.

Heroes typically have the following characteristics: determination, inspiration, moral integrity, protectiveness, and self-sacrifice. With respect to determination, Jonas Salk is a great example of someone who not only exemplified determination at its finest but also made his life’s work personal. By never giving up until he created the polio vaccine, he wasn’t unlike our frontline heroes today who are tirelessly working to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

Inspiration is very closely linked to determination. Not only are heroes finding inspiration everywhere, but they never give up, even when the challenges seem insurmountable. Their heroism is something we can all learn from and appreciate, especially at a time when the world has become such a scary place. This selfless pursuit of a solution is something that we can all learn from.

Moral integrity, on the other hand, is also selfless. The two are intertwined in my mind because it really comes down to putting your fellow man first. When faced with a crisis like this pandemic, the tech community is thinking about what we can do to give back. For medical groups, it is about solving the problem once and for all — and saving lives. For others, it is about protecting our vulnerable populations. At the end of the day, when we all work together, our skill sets are being used to help keep our communities safer. By channeling our moral integrity, and putting the most vulnerable first, we are making a difference, one check-in at a time.

If heroism is rooted in doing something difficult, scary, or even self-sacrificing, what do you think drives some people — ordinary people — to become heroes?

I’ve already said that being a hero means putting others before yourself. I think that is a core characteristic, and even though it may be scary or difficult at times, finding the right solution to a problem is what drives ordinary people to become extraordinary. By displaying courage in the face of adversity, we are helping bridge the gap between what used to be normal and what can be normal right now. I think that this is the core of what we set out to build as a team, with DrOwl. We asked ourselves “what are the needs at this moment” and when we realized we had an opportunity to change the world with DrOwl, we knew we were going to give away our screening tool for free. Some may call it self-sacrificing, but we call it necessary.

What was the specific catalyst for you or your organization to take heroic action? At what point did you personally decide that heroic action needed to be taken?

Before COVID-19, we had already designed DrOwl, a medical platform built on patented technology that provides users a safe place to sync, organize, search, and share their digital medical records on-demand. This was our goal until I saw a story on the news which broke my heart.

During one of the very first COVID-19 outbreaks, there was a story about a woman who could not visit with her mother in the nursing home where her mom lived. What you don’t know is that I had just recently lost my own mother, and this story struck me to my very core. I thought about her story non-stop, and about how scared they both must have been — between COVID, being alone, and not knowing when — or if — they would see each other again.

It was at that moment that I decided to create something with our team which followed the CDC guidance to protect people, but would also enable us to digitize the process, and make it easy to help people to go in and out of facilities more safely. Then I sat down with Becky, our CTO and Co-founder, and the rest of our team, and we created the DrOwl check-in solution that you see today. I am not only proud of our team but of the more than a million check-ins that have already gone through our system in such a short period of time. Every time I see a check-in, I know that we have made a difference for someone.

Who are your heroes, or who do you see as heroes today?

My heroes are the people on the front lines — health care professionals who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe. From the doctors to the nurses to the hospital staff and beyond. These are the real heroes of the pandemic. We talk about them as front-line workers, but in reality, it is a huge group of people. When you think about the sacrifices they make every day, and depriving themselves of their own family time to help other families, they are the real heroes.

Let’s talk a bit about what is happening in the world today. What specifically frightened or frightens you most about the pandemic?

The pandemic is frightening on so many fronts. Between the global loss of life and talent, it is a sadness we won’t recover from easily. When we have health care workers who are losing their own lives as they work to save others, that is a true tragedy. And it isn’t just the loss of life that’s tragic. It’s also the loss of the benefits that they could have made to the global community as a whole, which also makes me sad. Each day that this pandemic continues is another day we fight against an invisible force that we can, with the right strength, creativity, and vision, eventually defeat.

Despite that, what gives you hope for the future? Can you explain why?

I always have hope for the future, it is at the core of who I am; however, the pandemic has consistently challenged it. What gives me the most hope right now is the goodness that everyone has, and that mankind has for each other. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen so many examples of this. When I see groups that are making a difference and saving lives or changing them for the better, that gives me hope for the future. That hope is what inspires me, especially when it seems the hardest.

What has inspired you the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic, and what behaviors do you find most disappointing?

Inspiration can be found almost anywhere. What inspires me the most is seeing how many people have contributed to making a difference. This extends to the grocery store workers who went to work when the country was closed down or those that made sure that food or medical supplies continued to remain available. It also extends to those that volunteered to go out and shop for their neighbors with the highest risk factors. It’s the smallest acts of kindness that have made a difference.

When we disregard medical or legal advice to protect ourselves with masks and social distancing, we are, in reality, putting entire communities at risk. Our desire to feel normal lends itself to COVID exhaustion; however when we feel that, it’s the most important time to recommit to the practice of protecting ourselves and those around us. You never know which individual(s) are at high risk for COVID-19, or who may be exposed because someone simply decided not to wear a mask one day. Unfortunately, this is a luxury we simply can’t afford. Just one person who is positive for the virus can literally become a “super spreader” without even knowing it. When we don’t take this seriously, it’s disappointing and even, literally, life-threatening.

Has this crisis caused you to reassess your view of the world or of society? We would love to hear what you mean.

I think there is so much courage out there that is being channeled right now, from making sure we have food and supplies to ensure that our society keeps going. You know, those are the things that matter the most. This is really good stuff, and that is what I choose to think about and focus on.

What permanent societal changes would you like to see come out of this crisis?

I think that moving forward we will have to be more prepared as individuals, as communities, and as a society as a whole. I don’t think we started out that way in the U.S., but we are getting there. We simply weren’t as prepared as we should have been, but that is a lesson for us to learn from as we move forward. I’m hoping that we will engage our inner strength to put others first before ourselves and to truly do all we can to eradicate this virus from the face of the earth.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I tell my son all the time that every person, regardless of who they are, can make a difference. I think that is something we don’t think about enough. We don’t take the opportunity to make a difference seriously enough at times. The simple act of getting groceries for a senior may seem a very small gesture to you, but to that senior, it makes a tremendous difference. The truth is that by helping even one or two neighbors, you are making a difference in someone’s life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I were to start a movement, the theme would be about holding ourselves accountable. Even though you can’t act for everyone else, you can set a good example for others to follow. While you can’t control what they do, you can take heart in knowing that you are a strong link in a chain of goodness, every single time you give of yourself. By wearing a mask, social distancing, and setting yourself up as a role model, you are helping change the world for the better. If we focus on just that, the world will be a much better place.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to have a meeting with Elon Musk because he thinks outside the box…always. Elon Musk thinks about solutions to problems in unique and creative ways better than anyone else I can think of. I admire his vision, as well as his determination, to solve problems in new and unique ways. In reality, his solutions simply make sense.

How can our readers follow you online?

Your readers can follow me online at @DrOwlHQ on Twitter. They can also find us on the web at https://www.DrOwl.com/.

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