Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 1 year ago

Can you seize the moment? w/ Fereydoun Taslimi


Many healthcare innovators view the act of pivoting to be a failure in their solution, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, pivoting, the ability to pivot, or the act of remaining open to a pivot while bringing a product to market is pretty much par for the course.

And, time and time again, a pivot has meant the difference between success and failure when market demands shift.

In today’s episode, Fereydoun Taslimi shares his experience with pivoting a hardware solution into a software homerun in the 1980s.

His decision, action, and ultimate success speaks to the importance of remaining flexible and seizing the moment when the market demands change — like they are today with COVID-19.

Here are the show highlights:

  • 3 key qualities entrepreneurs need to cultivate in order to successfully identify and navigate opportunities (3:30) 
  • Why the ability to pivot can be critical to your success (6:11)
  • How pandemics and other healthcare related events are shaping the future of healthcare innovation (13:20)
  • Why it’s important to review and update your messaging (17:23)
  • Discussing the challenges healthcare and healthcare innovators face now, and in the future (20:45)
  • Why taking time out to think about all the pivot scenarios to determine a path forward can be critical to success (22:18)
  • How maintaining a strong, optimistic outlook is a valuable asset for all entrepreneurs (28:42)

Guest Bio

Fereydoun Taslimi is Founder and CEO of SensorsCall, developer of CareAlert — a non-intrusive AI device that extends senior independence while giving caregivers peace of mind.

A seasoned industry figure, Fereydoun has worked in technology fields ranging from computer development in the 1970s, hardware and software in the 1980s, interactive voice response and voice recognition, right up to AI driven IOT healthcare devices used in today’s market. 

Fereydoun received his bachelor degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of London King’s College and his Masters in computer science from Georgia Tech.

If you want to reach out to Fereydoun to learn more about SensorsCall or CareAlert, or to simply ask questions, you can reach him at, or via email at

Welcome to Coiq, where you learn howhealth innovators maximize their success. I'm your host, Dr Roxy,founder of legacy, DNA and International Beth selling author ofhow health innovators maximize market success through handed conversationswith health innovators earlier doctors and influencers you'll learn how tobring your innovation from idea to start up to market domination, and now,let's jump into the latest episode of Coiq, welcome to the show Coiqlisteners on today's episode, I have Fordon Teslimi. The CEO of Censer callwelcome to the show well than you. Thank you affording wording E. I am soglad to have this conversation with you today great. So, let's start off. I do thison every episode. Let's start off just by telling our listeners a little bitabout who you are and what you do I was born in in Iran. I, as a crial Iwent to England in my high school and undergraduate there from universalLondon came to us, went to Georgia, tech for postgraduate work. In themiddle of the study es I left, I formed several companies, some of them onpublic. Some of them were sold and a couple F years ago, I saw the Igonythat my wife was going through looking after her mom that lives right down theroad from us and basically that prompted me to createthe vice that looks after seniors. Whoop are independent and they like tolive in their own home and be able to bring some form of peace of mind to thecurgivers. So that's, basically how sincewas called as started. So, let'sdefinitely spend some time talking about even just kicking this off a little bitdifferently of what are some lessons that you've learned over the years in going from an idea to full marketadoption, and it sounds like even to do all the way through exit. Well as an entrepreneur, you have to beextremely positive and there are a lot of obstacles on yourway. Basically, every turn in every twist is an obstacle. You just have tobe able to overcome them and theire a lotof naysayers, and but on the otherhand, you need to vet your idea. You need to talk to as many people as youcan don't completely fall in love with your idea, to the point that you can'tsee. You know beyond reasons or miss things.So it's very important when I first started with sense was called. It was adevice that...

...basically dil a lot of things. So whenI started talking to people when I mentioned different features that ithad a lot of the features were not interest to people, but then, when Isaid hey it's something that looks after your parents is all wita man, I'minterested in that. So one of the things that actually did was, if you had a roof like you would tellyou that is a you know. Rooflick and roofly can be very expensive, butpeople were not interested in that. I basically so you aaateyou have to beable to pivot and PO quickly. You have to be able to listen to people, and youhave to basically Vit your ideas and and don't be so entranch in your idea,to the point that you can't see some of the things that Aren' happening. So that is such valuable wisdom rightout of the gate. I love it. So you know I imagine that, for everyventure that you have led, including the one today withcensor, call that you know each one is different. You know the the marketsdifferent, the market conditions are different. So what what's different about bringingsensor called to market beyond covid right, because you didn't have a globalpandemic to deal with in your previous ventures but beyond covid. You know, what'sdifferent in this commercialization process that you'redoing well, all the all. My previous companiesgenerally has been bean to be andbe to be a space yeah. This thin, lea thewise, is kind of a neet to see- and at least that's how initially yo'remarketing it you like to be able to get it into people's hand, have hem, try itget some feedback and be able to collect some data and from that be ableto expand on its capabilities, so that definitely is different to the arketdirectly to people. And the other thing is this particularproduct happene to have the almost entire technology is that it hashardware. It has embedded the soffer, so you have to have completely difference. Skill sets yeahofor design as a concent. Then you have backen, then you have apr a you, have a thethe APP that we have to develop andin addition you have the machine, learning and AIand so on. So it's quite a broad range of technologyes that that you have todeal with and you have to bring in all these different skill sets into oneplace and be able to come with a product. That really does what you intend to do: Ith the Probert Sur,... kind of just thinking back, becauseI like having you know the historical perspective and point of view before wedig into you know what's happening now, you know, can you think of a story that are an experience where youknow there was some either. You know an example of like just sheere luck thatyou know wbut. You just happen to be in this right place at the right time meetthe right person that led to your success or you know, was there a decision that youmade that you think is. You know just was really a factor and you're justyour success previously. Well, I think Lok has a lot of a lot to dowith ones success, but the ability to be able to pivot, I think, is extremelyimportant, but you also have to have the ability or develop your ability tobe able to see that yeah example. In early S I developed smart switch. It was a voice sitch Ilooked. I was looking for a phone system. I couldn't find that I couldn'tfind something that I liked and I noticed that they don't have anyfeatures or I most of the features were difficult to use. So I sta developingand phone system which actually work with a PC and a lot of interestingfeatures. We com a fom. It would talk to you again. This was an early wow. It was eighty three eighty four, but I tried to work at it. This washardware, it was not easy. I found a vejor partner, but it fell. True then Irealized this is n. It was basically training all my resources, so I realizeI can't really go ahead and finish the product. Theway I want and sell hardware, so I the Sato pulled some soffure out of it andthe one of the simplest softwar was a callaccounting packetic was in thesystem. I pulled that out and I put a little out in one of the tillecommunication magazines Itwas, like a few hundred bucks and within a week Ihad about five six thousand dollar in orders, what yea and as a Wai Mint.This is softerbres us so and so on. So I'm completely pivoted left the Hardopart of it and started basically expanding on the softwarethat we have developed from there. We went into voice processing intractivewords response systems, predominantly software base. So those are the moments that if you don't capitalize on it, you basically Y. Ucan go down to yeah yeah, so so Ferton. That is so incredible because I think that alot of people or maybe not a lot of people, but I think some people thinkthat if they have to pivot that...

...there's something wrong like that.Maybe is like a sense of failure like if I had to pivot fror my originalbusiness strategy or business plan, and it sounds like what you're saying isthat it's just par for the course embrace the pivot. Oh, exactly I meanyou have to decide what is important t success isimportant or be able to go on a path tha. You may end up falling of to H,clip right right right, exactly yeah I mean- and I think what you describe isreally product market fit and there's a lot of famous examples out there:facebook, twitter, starbucks, you know if we dig into any of those stories,they're very much what you just described. They were one thing lot ofthem were facing those cross roads right where it's kind of like. Oh, thisis not working and whatever solution pivot, they came up with end up beingthe secret to their success, exactly definit yeah yeah. So you know with that. How are you pivoting now with censor,call compared to your PRIEF covid strategy? Well, it's going tof. It'sGin, O interesting Thewe, had a call from somebody inIndia an they were asking. Can we use yourproduct to be able to tell people of the the staying in their home? Maybe justbasically ow the wise can do that, which was interesting from the point ofview. That here is a device that uses its censorsto be able to extract certain information. So wet me. Look at that there's a lot of interesting things wecan do. We give you an example. We have amicrophone that we don't listen to people's sentences. We don't try to understandwhat it is they're talking about right. Eventually, we can detect cough soright now, if you look on the hug, Google Crona Cop, you find out theres abunch of companies are actually working on things like this. So for a momentjust imagine at the voice the uses it sens I to try to build a pattern ofcertain behaviors from the health point of view and Si ye can ma that against a potential tailment or handemic or whatever. Sofrom that point of view, I think there's an interesting opportunity, something that we're actually lookingat. For example, if you in e case of Cowa, you have, maybe you get Diria, you go to thebathroom, a lot, you don't sleep properly, so if ye can build, thosepatterns were somp to a Antimiro, sofpwer antimor buildingsignatures. So we built these...

...signatures of certain patterns and beable to map those out in a kind of a anonymously. So now wode, you don'tknow where, from the geographic point of view, so it could ver be the wicethat can look at the patterns that try to be predictive from the point of Yoofpreventing it, because I tay N E in the case of coing nineteen. If you cancatch certain some of these signs early on, maybe you can know stay home. You don'ttry to spread it and at the same time, for people who are in the highiskcategory Maybin you get o a Hospitol, a little quicker get on the vent, O a Tan they cansurvive. The survival rate is much higher. So, there's a lot ofinteresting opportunities that we're looking at the potentially that theardervice can be ofof Holl. So I think that's remarkable. You know we're seeing and I think we'll continue to see evenmore- and I guess this is a great Segui into the Cyou know more into the covidconversation in those pivot opportunities. But you know we'reseeing that these elderly facilities are in a lot of wayshot spots and I think we're seeing that identified an and publicly kind ofannounced and shared in some countries, and I think we'll see even more andmore of that, as the data starts to come to light, and I think that being able to mitigatethat mitigate those types of institutions in having a really goodsolid plan and, of course, being able to leverage technology and thoseenvironments is huge. I mean, I think, that that's something that could havereal global impact and save lives. Well, absolutely you know there are somereally fascinating databases out there. A friend of mine in University ofWashington actually once showed me the statabasethe base on your Zip Code. You can actually pull out all the differentdiseases, all the different ailments in that area. So if you are a person, giveme an example of your asthmatic, for example, and if the pollen level, andso one goes out in, goes up in certain areas, we could potentially notify the person hey, look, the pollenis high or dewise can go red or water or some othe, color andothe person maybe want to stay home. So there are seven things that potentiallycan be done to prevent. You know seven ailments hm. So are you looking at pivoting to theBetabee market? Oh Yeah! Definitely...

...we've in the beginning, when first started itwas BTC and then, after talking to a whole bunch of people, d, tothe marketis quite big. Iin area, F, senior monitoring, for example, lot of peopledon't like these aendants. Basically, it's an advertishment thatI'm old and I'm feeble, so they don't like it. So the next best thing is someform of a passive monitoring. Yeah Yeah. I can see that really being quitepowerful, hey it's dor roxy here with a quick break from the conversation. Areyou trying to figure out what moves you need to make to survive and thrive inthe new covid economy? I want every health innovator to find their mostviable and profitable Tivit strategies, which is why I creates Ha covid proofyour business tothe kid. The pipotkit is a stepby step ramework that helpsyou find your best divid strategy. It walks you through six categories. Youneed to examine for a three hundred and sixty degree view of your business. Icall them the six critical pivot lenses, as you make your way through thiscomprehensive kid, you'll be armed with the tools, chips and strategies. Youneed to make sure you can pivot with speed without missing out on criticaldetails and opportunities, learn more at legacy. Typthan DNACOM BACKSLA kid.So where are you in the innovation process right now? Well, WEARE!Actually, we are starting the the leue generation. I tuly started thisweek or planning out on crop fundingchampaign and were pulling information together an we ran into some problembecause of the coin ninetee, for example, we were doing a video in thevideo we needed some subeseniors as actors and so on. Right now nobodywants athe. We want to come out, so we have some issues that we have toresolve. So I had a call with the notary yesterday because I havesomething that I need to get notarized and three different places told me thatall of their witnesses that they would have to notarize the document orelderly and they can't get them to come out, don't want to encourage it either,and so I don't know how I'm going to get anything notirized exactly exactlysoth sues that we have to resolve and at the same time we aretesting our messaging, because these are periods that a lot of people arestarted. Thinking about thei parents, their wellness and so on. So is this an opportunity that we can lookat be able to take advantage of it? So that's the other thing we're looking.So that's really interesting because you know the messaging is such afundamental piece to any commercialization success and reallyany business right. I mean you know without having a solid, effective,clear, concise, compelling message.

You know you're going to have you'regoing to have challenges and I probably have interviewed or talk to clients. I don't know maybe about forty in thelast few weeks and not one of thems talked about testing their messaging, because you know what whatever yourmessaging was. Precovid is pretty much garbage exactly yeah you need. You need to becognizant of the situation, yerthereare certain things you have to consider or concern fror the financial point ofview. The question is: Are People Willing to pay for certain things and that's the other thing that youhave to watch out yeah Bu. At the same time, you don't want toexploit the situation if lik there's some advertisers, who don't want to benext to these covid on TN, nine hundred a articles or things like that, becausethey're just just too negative, yeah yeah, yeah,absolutely yeah. You know it's a definitely. I think a delicate balance, every everyone that I've talked to ispretty adamant about not positioning their company as someone who is tryingto take advantage- or you know, Gouge people by by any means and at the sametime you know, I think that we have a social responsibility to communicateand make available those solutions that we have that can save people's lives.So we have to be able to feel comfortable selling it and making moneybecause we're supporting ourselves we're supporting our team members rightwhen we keep the keep the lights on, but you know we're not sleet sellingsleezy. You know snake oil here right. You know we're selling something reallyvaluable exactly. I was looking at this site the other day. It's a manufacturerof a connected thermometer. So basically, as you majorour temperaturesends it out to the clock, a the cloud and it puts it on a map. So you canlook at the map and you see where the temperature of the people has gone offor Changei. Will the prewil concide with the areasbut where the virus is spreading. That to me is extremely useful. Yeah Yeahcompletely n, and you know we don't want those people not talking abouttheir solutions. We want them to let the whole world know right, luckly,yeah yeah. So how do you think this pandemic is affecting or will affectthe healthcare industry and entrepreneurs that are in this market? Well, as far as the startups areconcerned, it's probably been has had...

...the the most effect because in our coworking environment, it's a basicallyan incubator, probably about twenty thirty percent ofthe went out of business, and this time we can't raise any funds yeah andnobody is thinking about an MIAs, so that definitely has a devastating on the startups. So there's there's alot of negative that that you have to thinkabout how to overcome so Antan ceven habits will change as well as thehealth geter is concerned. People are much more comfortable with teller medicine now, so all thecompanies that in some shipe Erformarin Tela medicine or being able to providethe video conferencing that they're doing much better and again the people,the companies that can look at the environment, look at the situation andsay the product. I Hav, in what shape of form can provide a service in thisenvironment. I think those are the ones re that are going to be extremelysuccessful. Yeah Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more. I've had a lot of pivotconversations over the last thirty forty five days and it's exactly whatyou said. You know whether it's, whether it'sjust pivoting my sale strategy, because I can't get in front of People's faceto face anymore or whether it's pivoting my customer market or myentire business model. You know, there's there's a lot ofopportunities in different facets of the business to pivot andchange, and I think, being able to take time out and think about all of thosedifferent scenarios and what's the best path, I think, is really critical tosor surviving right yeah. So is that something that youguys have sat down and F? If done as a team? Oh Yeah, an we talk about italmost every week, yeah, and so is it? Is it a one, an done pivot strategy, oris it an ongoing pivot strategy? It's on ongoing because you have to be ableto see what is happening in what area and again you don't Piv it for the SECOpivot. You have to be able to offer something right, yeah. You know,because I think well and that's just so important, because I think that you know this is probably not alignedwith the true definition of pivot, but maybe one of those things like thosetwenty or thirty percent that you talked about like part of their pivot decision was okay. When I examineeverything I go, you know what the reality is. Is that we're not relevantand we don't have a sustainable runway, and so we need to close the doors. So Idon't know if I would call it a pivot,...

...but there's definitely a major changein the business in that is you know, being able to makethat decision sooner than later is just is just as critical, well, Lov, a lotof a startops that basically have a limited runway a and some of them start in January, evrystart trying to see if they can raise funds. For you know, next and month, anno Han things like this happen basically closes all the doors and thequestion is the startup that only that basicallyruns out of money. What do they do so they yeah lik the garage or figure outsome other ways of raising funs yeah. So speaking of some other ways ofraising funds, I'm seeing a lot of crowd funding that is happening so talk a little bitabout that. Well, that's that's interesting because I just heard that kick staughter Rit laid off, I think twenty thirty percent of their staff, so I'm not sure how crowdfunding is actually behaving right now. No, I don't know if it's successful,but I hear a lot of people are trying it like. You know I can't go to typicalinvestment community, so I'm trying to you know raise money in other ways right. So maybe maybe that's whatthey're doing t e the trying anyway andthat works. So maybe this just don't have any other avenues. In our case, what weare tryingto do with crowd fundings to be able to get more people pest our product, giveus feedback. Do Bate test and collect some more Dago? Okay, that makes a lotof sense m. So what would you say is the biggest challenge for you guysthat you can anticipate you know, maybe now, but maybe also in the futures,we're still trying to figure out how this pandemic is going to affect theworld. Well, the one of the challenges is manufacturing right now we had picked one manufacture in the US and a couplemonufactures overseas, the one in the US that just laid up a whole bunch ofpeople so i'mn like do it's somebody that we want to be able to use yeah inoverseas. The one manufacturer that we feel comfortable with is in China, butalso means we can't really travel down there right now. We can really visitthe factory, we're Luckyn in the sense that our main engineer has been to thefactory that he knows this people. If that was not the case, then it would beextremely difficult to pick a manufacturer that you have not visited...

...and most of the time the stories arhear with the hardware. You really need to be there when they first producethat first patch Yo yehave yeah. So if you can't be there, what are you goingto do y? What are you going to do and the other problem is not just China andthen the question is: Is it safe to go to forest right now and visit these factories? I don't know,that's that's the other yeah yeah well, and- and I think that's just itthere's so much that we don't know right thes, just you know both bothboth on a personal level in a professional level. There's uncertaintyeverywhere everywhere that we look right right. I mean you're talkingabout for the component point of view, you'R, not sure you can get all thecompos. Some of these factors have to shot down, so we do be able to get thecomponents and pockaging one packaging company we were talking to. I can't geta response from so and again the marketing you're right, I mean the theunthe number of unknowns have dramatically increase yeah yeah. So howwould you compare that? You know, because kind of, like you had indicatedbefore I mean there's, I being an entrepreneur, is not easy street right.You G T, you have to be a certain level of crazy o make this your career, I'm notcalling you crazy. The on extent there is a certain amount of crazinessas o o Penord you have. As I said, you have to be incredibly optimistic CANCwhen you, when you see an Arrow coming towards you, you must assume that it'snot going to hit you period. Then we gets close to you. You hopethat maybe you can, you know, try to dodge it. So the whole idea of of the thing withentrepreneur is, you have to be able to overcome obstacles after obstacles andas an entrepreneur. You have these obstacles on a daily basis. So whatmakes the basically the difference between a successful entrepreneur andan unsuccessful one is how you can handle these situations, and this is agood test for all of us right now, yeah, I read a quote and I don't knowif I will remember it exact, but a professor from Harvard says that youcan tell thes success of an entrepreneur by the number of arrows inhis ass. I thoughti love that that is so true I mean I mean we all know that thereisn't much to learn from success, but there's a lot to Bei to learn from...

...failure. So isn't that true yeah yeah,so you know, speaking of that, what you know, what additional lessons learnedor wisdom do you have you know as we wrap up here, you know there's so manyentrepreneurs that are in health care that are, you know in the trenches likeyou are trying to figure this out, trying to figure out where they havewhat it takes to survive and thrive. You know what advice do you have forthem? Well, I mean, if you want to start acompany, you really have to start with yourself. Are you ready? Are youfinancially ready if you're married need to talk to your spouse? is sheready and what kind of runway you have yeah andare you willing to fail and if you fail hateore, the consequences whe last thing you want to do is basically screw ofyour marriage right and those are the things that you have to ask yourself and that to me is the most important one,because as an entrepreneur, you are going to have all pinds of problems,and the last thing you want to do you want to have is problem at home yeah, you need a support system, yeah, I'm a very lucky person in the sensethat you know my wife is extremely supportive and that is not an issue doesn't even come.Come up even one Iona right right, yeah, you need to fire those things outbefore you really jump, because I always tell people anOndepreneur is somebody who dives down and then looks down sifethere is water down there and on the way down, you have to figure out howyou're going to learn right right. Well, that is just such a beautiful analogy of you know what all of us, like. Yousaid what all of us really know to be true, but we are in the fire we arebeing tested like never before, or at least not in the last hundred years,and- and I completely agree, my husband is very supportive and you need to havesomeone- that's not adding arrows that they're helping you take them out exactly well. Thank you! So much for your time.It's been a great conversation. I love you know as you get as you shared. Youknow the lessons that you've learned in your previous successes in yourprevious challenges and how you've taken all of that into you know yournew company Sensor Call and how that's made a difference for you and then justhow you're, navigating as a seasoned...

...entrepreneur how you're navigating thisyou know pandemic that we're all facing. So thank youlike. Your robing me yeah.So how can our listeners get a hold of you if someone wants to follow up withyou? After the show, my email is fre dun at Sensos Calledcom,that's Fvreydoun, set sostalocom or just go to the sensors called up theton website. Perfect Excellent! Well, thank you so much for being on the show,but you thank you so much for listening. I know you're busy working to bringyour life changing innovation to market, and I vowue your time and yourattention to save kind and get the latest episodes on your mobile deviceautomatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast APP like applepodcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciateeveryone. WHO's been sharing. The show with friends and colleagues see you onthe next episode of coiq.

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