ABOUT THIS EPISODE
A core foundation for market success is making sure that you’re laser-focused on the needs of your customers. Does your solution truly solve the clinical problem? Do you have validation to prove that it does, and it’s not just an assumption you’re making?
In this episode, Dr. Kimon Angelides, CEO and Founder of Vivante Health, shares insights into how he’s been able to continuously beat the odds and find huge success with several businesses he’s built. We talk about:
- The critical need to solve a clinical problem that the “traditional” healthcare system recognizes and appreciates
- How passion can look a lot being crazy — and how that craziness is a backbone of the most successful innovators
- How to design a strategy that caters to your market, and how to pivot that strategy in the face of market changes like a big competitor
- Mistakes he’s made, like treating all customer accounts as equal (spoiler alert: they’re not, and it almost sank them)
Dr. Kimon Angelides is the CEO and Founder of Vivante Health, a pioneer in using digital medicine to manage digestive health. Prior to Vivante, he founded Livongo Health, a consumer digital health company with a focus on diabetes management.
But he wasn’t always in the business of improving population health through technology. He started his career as a biophysicist, spending more than two decades in academia. Later, he and his wife, a pediatric endocrinologist, launched Diabetes America, a network that eventually grew to nearly 50 centers in the southwest US.
Episode · 2 years ago
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Episode · 2 years ago
How to Pinpoint the Clinical Problem and Leverage the Unmet Need for Your New Tech w/ Kimon Angelides
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
In this episode, Dr. Kimon Angelides, CEO and Founder of Vivante Health, shares insights into how he’s been able to continuously beat the odds and find huge success with several businesses he’s built. We talk about:
Welcome to Coiq, where you learn how health innovators maximize their success. You're working on something big, something life saving, something world changing. Yet ninety five percent of health innovations fail and real lives are on the line. That's why launching is not enough. Commercialization is the most critical, yet overlooked stage of the innovation process. Through candid conversations with health innovators, early adopters and influencers, you'll learn the five components of the COIQ early adoption strategy. So, if you want to change lives and dominate your market, why not give your innovation the best chance to succeed? I'm your host, Dr Roxy, founder of Legacy DNA and international bestselling author of how health innovators maximize market success. And now let's join the conversation and maximize your success. Welcome back to the show coiq listeners. On today's episode, we have commone and to lead us with us. He is the CEO and founder of Avante Health, and you may know him more by his work with Lavango. Welcome to the show. Well, thank you very much. After that for Roxy's fun, I like enjoy being here. Thanks very much. So I am really excited to have this conversation with you and dig into your story. Before we get started, though, just for those folks that maybe don't know who you are, start off by telling our listeners a little bit about your background and what it is that you do. Okay, thanks. Well, that's always a hard part year. What do you say about yourself? But I actually am originally a trained as a scientist, and so and many of the things that I've done today, I think like a scientist and so I really am a biophysicist. So I have a Ph d in organic chemistry and biophysics. I was an ECADEMICIAN for I was on faculties for a long time my career, probably two thousand and twenty five years before I even went into business, and so I was a professor, and so it was probably in two thousand and two thousand and four when I guess I got the Bug essentially to to start thinking about building something or creating something outside of academics. And so my first first business was obviously something that I was familiar with. It was biotech and it was a collaboration between MD Anderson and Glaxo Smith Klin and valiant pharmaceuticals, and the objective there was to to make a drug that actually was helping people with lignant melanoma, which is a big issue here in Texas, where I'm at. The the second one. The second one is my wife, who's a pediatric enter chronologist. We thought that there was a real unmet need and in and people who had diabetes. So we set up a network called diabetes and America, which was a onestop shop for folks who had diabetes, and we had, oh, I think all the way up to forty or fifty centers throughout the southwest. And then, in terms of what I did afterwards, and this was in two thousand and eighteen, thousand and nine, I formed this company, which was eos health, which really became Lavango. was renamed Luvango, and that was really to be able to use technology to provide a service and diabetes for people who were geographically distributed, that they were all over the country instead of having coming in to our clinics, and so that's kind of the honesty. So I was an academician for a long time doing bio biophysics, looking through a microscope most of the day, which I liked, and then it morphed into trying to do what you would call population health and using technology to to expand. And then Vavante health is is is a company that is really focusing on the unmet needs of people who fall between the cracks, who have diseases that no one really believes that they have. They don't look sick. Crazy. Yeah, yeah, right, they're crazy, but they're they're crazy to find something that will help them actually in the right right and so we started with digestive conditions, because that's a big, big deal and no one really wants to talk about their digestive problems. So that's what that's kind of the Odyssey. Yeah, so describe what it is like for someone who has founded several companies, which, you know, there're many several serial entrepreneurs out there, but I think what makes your story unique is that you have been a pioneer and digital health and then successfully commercialize and innovation and healthcare. Really you've beaten the odds. Well, well, well, thanks actually, I appreciate that. And so pioneer is not something that I like ...
...to think about sometimes, you know. You know, I mean being an entrepreneur is there's a lot of risk, although I actually look at as a risk profile, but I look at it as a challenge. I think, you know, I'm generally pretty optimistic, and so if you if you actually start with the right problem and the right approach, and I'll tell you about why, I think, you know, in terms of digital health, if if you start from the right from the right grounding, then then really you actually have a story and you can build the technology around the solution. And so, you know, really the long and short of it is is that we knew the clinical problem right, you know, and so so the clinical problem actually affected people or affects people, diabetes or whether it's digestive conditions, and so technology is kind of a tool really to be able to to bring all those resources that people need together, right and if, you know, they need to have some nutrition, they need to actually have some other coaching technology as allows it to be to be brought together. And so I think, in terms of where we may have been successful, been successful is to really focus first on the clinical problem and then to bring as many sort of techniques like technology together to be able to address it. And so we've always been clinically focused, you know, often times, and last thing I'll say on this at oftentimes is that digital health, you know, people start from the tech, the text, the text face right, and they think that healthcare is like any other type of consumer business, and to certain degree it is, but you know, you're talking about just a vast variety of personalities and conditions and things like that, and so healthcare is really a bit different. So that's really I think the key is is focusing on the clinical problem. So you're probably one of those guys that just had, you know, born with all the knowledge and resources that you needed to just breeze through entrepreneurship, you know, with these for companies. Right, that was easy. That was you know, it's sort of like the royal family have been being being held something right there and having a trust fund and all that type of right, right, right, exactly. So I kind of want to go back in time a a little bit. So think back to the real early days of one of your first companies. You know, what was it like building that first company? Well, I think there's just one word. It was. It was crazy. Totally, totally crazy. But we were crazy enough actually when I started with MD Anderson, and then I'll talk about the digital health. But Yeah, enough to be able to somehow convince MD Anderson that it was good and I think in large part, I think in large part is because it was a good it was a good clinical problem, right. I mean, and and just as our sidetrack, I think you'd find this interesting, is is that, you know, people who have cancer, for example, they do make anibodies that are immune system actually starts to react to this this bad stuff and their body. So we pose the question, well, if they're doing that early enough, right, you know, they're trying to kill this cancer cells off, why can't we actually isolate those, the really good antibodies that ultimately get overwhelmed by the you know, the cancer cells? Why can't we just try to see if we can harvest those and bulk them up and grow them up and use them as a therapy? And so you know, the first question and the first answer that even a digital health will that can't be done. That's kind of a fun thing to say. Well, let's try right, Yep. And then and the kind crazy enough to try it, enough to try it, and it's my time and not necessarily yours, and so right. And then the same thing with the digital health. I remember when we first use mobile phones in our diabetes clinics. They were these and I've kept them all. They were these bar phones. Motorola came out with a bar phone with a little tiny screen. There wasn't any APP stores. It was in two thousand and five, two thousand and six. Yep, you said. Will you know? I will use mobile phones actually to be able to do sort of healthcare, you know, diabetes, look at numbers and all that. And so that won't work. So let me show you'll work. And and the end it did. And so I think the first word there is crazy, and then and is, let me show you. And you know, there's it goes on, then you get and then you get trapped and you're you're doing it right, right, and then you're addicted to it, and then you're like for companies, in for companies, and you've got followers, right, yeah, you're leading and you got followers and and and actually, you know, they start to get engaged. And so there you, there you find yourself with and and the thing on that, or the be quite frank with you, is is...
...that if it really was purely a technology, then basically your followers are only as good as the sort of technology. But if you have a really good clinical problem, there are lots of ways to sort of get around the clinical problem, and so I've been lucky in that respect. You get these followers and they got good brains and they and we eventually solve it. And so are your followers meeting like the team that you work with. And you know followers, I mean you know, you're great. You're the first crazy one and and then you have the second person who comes on and then a third and then it actually becomes a group, right, right, right, right now, crazy people. Okay, so, for all of our listeners, the prerequisite for market success is a a crazy, maybe even a little more than a with a lot of passion. Yeah, yeah, definitely, dash it crazy with with a lot of passion, and it goes a long way. It's nine. You know, there's a lot of smart people out there, by the way, but if they don't have fire in their belly, by the way, and things like that, it doesn't go that far, right right. Well, yeah, absolutely. And you know, to your point, it's that crazy that allows you to think about believe that you can do the what what people are saying can't be done, in the passion to be the fuel to, you know, stand back up again when you've been knocked down a hundred times. Totally totally right, absolutely totally right, and it's you know, yeah, that's actually totally right. It's, you know, the passion gets you because you you you need to do it, you feel it inside that you need to do it, and then you can do it. So, yeah, I mean it's these are the two essential agree so what, from your perspective, what makes commercializing and innovation and healthcare so difficult? Yeah, you know, and I appreciate that question and and you know. So, so health care is obviously unusual, and when we're talking about digital health care, it's unusual in the fact that it's easy or easier to see how you can commercialize digitized banking, right, because because you don't have to essentially when healthcare, you don't really have to essentially undress right and tell your story. Right, you're you know, so you're at a disadvantage when you go into health care because there you are and one of these floppy gowns, right, and you're telling your story and you're really, you know, it's not your natural environment, right, vulnerable. Yeah, you're vulnerable. So so I think the key right here is is really to take out that vulnerability, if you will, right is to make it as personal as you can or personalize as you can right, you can address that health care problem right and get rid of that vulnerability so that you're really on equal footing with the people, so that, as we find out, actually interesting, and I'll get to the commercialization, is that people are willing to tell you a lot more about themselves, just like a social media when you when you level the playing field. So so get in that. That's one aspect. The second aspect is, and I'll go back to the clinical problem, in terms of commercialization. You know, again, there's lots of technology out there. Roxy there're just lots of technology out there, but if you don't have a if you don't really have a problem that's that's sufficient magnitude and passion, essentially, then it's just going to sort of sit there as a technology and you know, I might be acquired, but it doesn't really do anybody good. So you know, the commercialization is always comes with a good with a good product and and and a good clinical, good clinical solution. So HMM HMM. That's for a foremost in my opinion. So I'm going to just jump right in and you can kind of envision yourself naked and afraid with your hospital down, because I'm going to get vulnerable really quick. What are some of the mistakes? You know, if we're just being really honest here, just me and you and a few thousand listeners, what are some of the mistakes that you can look back and see that you made along the way that you would want to share with others so that they can kind of be on the lookout for them or make sure that they don't make those sat mistakes? Yeah, that's an easy one, and that's an easy one because because I made plenty of them, and I won't go down the list, but it you know, for a lot of the a lot of the folks out there, actually in a lot of the I was a younger people who are starting in the in the area. So you have a great you have a great solution, you have a great program you have a product, for example. It's gotten some exposure and all of that. So that's that's cool, right, you feel really good. I've got some traction. So then a big, a big dog comes up, like a big health plan, for example,...
...and they say, I really like what you're doing and we would really like to begin distributing your solution. Okay, so you're a little itty bitty sort of start up. You might have ten to fifteen or twenty people, right. Yeah, there areas go really big and you say that's so cool, we're so recognized. And then what happened? You know, you know, crazies go see, see, were crazy. Yeah, so, so. So what happens is is is that now you're you have quite a tailwind, I guess, like a tornado. You can't keep up with what they do. You know, you're sucked into the vortex of a large company that incredibly slowly, that has a totally different culture than you do. And now you're going from one of the customer to the other customer, the other customer and you're building up. In some cases they use it as a sales mechanism. Right, so it it benefits them, but really doesn't benefit you in terms of developing a product and or or your have any line. So that I won't tell you who the the health are. Yeah, and so we said this is super cool and we almost died actually trying to service those accounts. So I would tell everybody out there is that it really looks good, but you've got to be very careful on the accounts that you do, because you take all of them right. You're starting. You take all of them well, especially if it's a big, reputable company. You know, you kind of get Woo Woo, like, oh my gosh, this is this is it, this is the only deal we need. And now, like successes, they are right around the corner and you and you're totally your toast at that point. It really is, because you can't keep up with it. They're not looking out for you in terms of developing your product. Your revenue line doesn't increase the way that you think it is. Your expense line goes way up. Yeah, or your people are Fras on. They say, well, crazy was one thing, but crazy is stick is really not so where? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I've heard many stories about that being a death trap. It is totally yeah, totally. So that's I think the probably the biggest mistake, and in the area you know. And I think the second thing is everybody thinks that that they have the most beautiful product and stuff, and sometimes you just got to step back and you got to say, is it really good looking or good? Is it ugly or you know, and you say you know, if it's ugly, then look pivot, but you'd sometimes you just got to say this just is not going to go right. Right. Yep, absolutely those biases that I think we all have as entrepreneurs and innovators, you know, to create something and be really more inclined to find people to agree and validate what we've created and instead of give us the truth that we really need to hear in order to be successful. Right, exactly correct. It's actually trying to get the truth out of your quote followers and your team that you have a realistic approach and you're not doing a nosedive when you think that you're climbing. So, yeah, you're correct, you're exactly pressed. So so what were again kind of doing this look back, you know, what were some of those game changing decisions for you? Maybe something that was a surprise, or wasn't, but something where you know, maybe you made this one decision and you know, you thought it was a good decision, but you didn't realize that it was going to be such a game changer. And so maybe it was a customer, maybe it was a message, maybe it was a team member. You know, there's a whole host of examples that you could share with us, but maybe one or two of your coories. You know, I think after, you know, I think after trying to realize that not all customers are equal. That's that's one thing. That's good, a big realization, I think. I think the other thing too, is if you're in a decent area, in your good area, right, and it's a good problem, you're going to have competition. Right, yeah, so, so, and that's good. By the way, if you have competition, sometimes people say, Oh Gosh, I've got competition and we're better than these folks, or we don't have competition. It's a wide open field. So we're really good. We got a green field type of thing. I remember when I remember early on when qual come put ninety million dollars into a competitor. Hmm Oh, that's a scary moment. Yeah, we were, we were taking a nose dive. Then I was, you know, I was dipping into every personal thing that I that we had actually to like to sell, basically. So I said, you know, you know, here's a competitor has ninety million dollars and you know, this is this is a this is a tough one.
But that was actually a good thing. In the end it really was, because we set back a little bit and I said, you know, what are they putting ninety million dollars into, and that they understand it, and and we sort of reevaluated at that point. And so that really was a pivotal point where, you know, although we were kind of second, if you will, you know, that gave us an opportunity to sort of redesign some things and it just like skyrocketed after that. So the ninety million dollars really didn't make a difference at all. I think we did much more and you know, I don't know, four hundred thousand and so I think I think that was a game changer. Is that sort of think about competition. But but that's not that's not where it ends really. So let's kind of dive into that a little bit, because I think that's a really powerful story. I want to understand the situation. So was it that you hadn't gone to market and you saw this investment and you saw what they were doing and you were able to make your mark with the gaps that they weren't filling? Or will you already in the market and it helped you pivot? Yeah, I mean in essence, it was really kind of a second one. So so, so, here's here's really the story. One of the things that Luvango has it has a cellular meter essentially, and and then I'll tell you at that at that particular point had a solar meter that we put a simcard and just like a phone, and we had already we had already really developed it and in prototyped it and we knew it was going to work. I went from the Bluetooth devices and things like that, because people, you know, could measure their blood glucos on their meter and they would go over to their phone and then it would go up to you know, would go to a server and all that. Yeah, and so we said we wanted to make that experience a little bit easier, so I started building a cellular a cellular meter. Well, because callcome is in the phone business and the radio type of business. They said, Oh, and Paul Jacobs actually his family had had diabetes, so he said I'll throw my ninety million dollars to do something very similar. And I'm not sure whether they did it actually to Quasti us, because they had seen us. MMMM, it doesn't matter. We were kind of already in the market. We had already had some customers. We were we were reeling from the customers we had. We had this great piece of technology that we were going to roll out. We were down to our last pennies and then go ninety million dollars. He said, what kind of what the heck are we going to do here? My goodness, and so we swim. Yeah, we took a step back and we said, okay, this is what we need to think about and how we need to think about it. It's not technology. We're trying to address a clinical problem and a consumer ease problem, and I made that made all the difference. We redesigned it, we made a touchscreen, we made a colorful we did a variety of different things, and so it was. It was a good moment. I look back on it as kind of a pivot. Hmmm, okay, is there? So, when you think about the the companies that you built before Lavongo, were there like some specific strategies or tactics that you implemented at Lavongo that you had learned from the past? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we did. You know, when the Diabetes Company, in the way that I think about Vante health now too, is because we've been in the clinical business. We had clinics, so people would actually come in and it was a full service. They would be able to they would be able to get everything they needed for diabetes and stuff. So I insisted on no white coats first of all, and we had a large room there so doctors could mingle and talk with beet with patients or people we never call them really patients. Yep, so and so, so we wanted to sort of buck the traditional hierarchical mode where the doctor is here and patient is here and and MD. You know, you know sort of you know all of these, these the services where you can get, you know, education and do dumps for information that tries to get you up here. But but so what we wanted to do is put, you know, physicians, for example, and people on the same on the same on the same level. And so that was a diabetes reckon. That's what I really wanted to do actually in the Longo and that's what I want to do it. Vante and Vante, getting back to that, is is even a bigger difference right here, is that people who've got digestive conditions, whether it's your noble Bow Syndrome, you know, which is really prevalent. And females, you know, they'll go to the doctor and they'll say, you know, I'm I have diarrhe all the time, I have bloating all the time, and and and and so then they'll get scoped right, and the doctor say, I see nothing wrong, and they say, well, it's in your head. So, Yep, for immediately there's an asymmetry there. The doctor says, you know, you know, there's nothing wrong with you, right, it's in your head. Hm. But the user or the person essentially says, I feel terrible,...
...right, and I feel terrible all the time and I know it's not in my head. So what we try to do here is is actually raise it such that you know that those two individuals are going to be the same. In other words, let's give credibility to the user or to the patient. Yep, their issues are, you know, are truly real, and then make sure we take that sort of realness and give it to the doctors to show how real it is, essentially, so that you know, they get engaged in that too. So the one and short of it is is that I think we're able to do that, is to sort of level set even using technology and in our approach. So that's kind of, kind of, sort of the the theory behind it. Hey, it's Dr Roxy here with a quick break from the conversation. Do you want your innovation to succeed, to change lives, to shape the future of healthcare? I want that for every health innovator, which is why I invented Coyq and evidence based framework to take your innovation from an idea to start up to full market adoption. If you're not sure where you are in the commercialization process, take the free assessment now at Dr Roxycom. backslash score. Don't miss out on impacting more lives just because you have a low co IQ score. The Free Assessment is at Dr Roxycom backslash score. That's Dr Roxiecom backslash score. And now let's jump back into the conversation. So, so that's really good. So let's talk about the strategies that you use for either Vango or the ones that you've already, you know, implemented for Vivante health. You know some of the basics of your commercialization plan. How did you define what was going to be your beachhead market? So I know that you say in that you're started with a problem, but you know, as I've worked with innovators, sometimes their problem, the problem that they're solving. There could be several markets or customer groups that are experiencing that problem. How did you narrow down what was going to be Your beach head market? Well, so, so, so that's probably an easier one in the sense that even with diabetes America, Love Ongo with Diabees America. We did something very special there. We thought we were really pretty good, and so we had all the care that you know that people could use and it contained it in all the data it so that we wouldn't do duplications and things. So that allowed US an opportunity to go to health plans and it allowed us to go to large employers, because they pay their own so funny, and to do carve out so that we say, okay, we're going to take some risk care, right, we think we're that good, and so, you know, your cost might be seven thousand for each person who has diabetes. We're going to do it and we're going to cap it at thirty five, thirty five hundred. Okay, they like that because their selffunded and their public entities and so they think actually where they're going to be. Yeah, I did that little Vonggo as well. I used a method whereby actually, you know, getting strips in the meter and all that was bundled in, one in one in one area so that it was a single price and that single price for all those services was the same price as you would buy for testing strips. So it was you get all this other stuff essentially, and you bundle it so the cost would be equivalent to just buying the the supply. So so the self funded market, the guys, the guys who actually pay for the healthcare, like that model because either we took risk or we took or we made it sort of equivalent and we added a lot more value. And the same thing with Vvante, though, here too, as it turns out, is that we're going to sell fund and employers. Now, the difference self fund and Employers and health plans, but the difference is here with the Vunte and digestive is that while employers have wellness programs and they have diabetes programs and they have Muscule scillpel program behavial hell, they have nothing for digestive health programs. Okay, there's nothing that existed there. So we were able to go to sell fun and employers. But as it turns out, for digestive conditions there's a huge farm a component as well. In other words, you can just turn on the TV right now and see advertisements for Humera. Stillaura, you know, also light us all of that. So the other market that allowed us to look at was Farma and and so our thesis, and I'll finish here on this, the thesis was, you know, these are really expensive drugs right there. They...
...go about fifty or sixty thousand dollars a year with the employer is is paying for those right, for someone who's on it, the person who's getting these drugs is getting no extra value except a drug. Right. We said, let's just do a wrap around these things. Why not? Why not, you know, go beyond what the molecule is. Let's have a service set a company is it, so that you have actually the full spectrum. Some people are going to need more of the drugs, some people are going to be less of the drugs, some people are not going to be on the drug but they're going to have a program that's going to be sort of goes along with it, that's going to educate them and going to help them at like an adjutant therapy. That makes sense. So Oh yeah, yeah, we have a whole Farma. We have a whole farm of place right here where we can actually add value to beyond the molecule. So that's something that's very different. Those are the channels that we're looking at. So did you have, you are are you in the process of doing like a strategic partnership with a farmer company, and that be part of your go to market strategy? Yes, we just finished a strategic partnership with a very, very large farm of it will be announced in the next couple of weeks. Yep, and it's exceedingly exciting for us. As it turns out, people who are on these these expensive drugs actually the only work and one and four, one and five people, and so there is the opportunity to be able to to match the right people from the very beginning and then those people who are on them where they lost their response, to be able to change them on to another therapy, therapy like nutrition, part of our program Hmm, actually start to heal their gut and and get them off of the drugs for a little bit of time. So it's a new direction for Farma and it's a it's a great direction for us too. So I'm excited, super excited about that. So how much of this do you think plays a part in your success with both Lavango and, you know, already with Vavante, because what I hear from you is that selfinshort employer groups who are part of that beachhead market for both companies, and you know, I think that that is it's not necessarily unique, but it's very powerful because there's so many other companies that are going the traditional healthcare route that seem to be just kind of pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and banging their head up against the wall because of all the bureaucracy, because of the time that it takes for that sales cycle. And you know, going to the selfinshort employers certainly has a lot of advantages to to overcome some of those obstacles of the traditional path. Right. Well, you know, when we first started with a self fund and employers, it was as early as two thousand and four. Yep, I went to them in two thousand and eight again for Lovongo and and and that was new. I was at a recent meeting, at a recent meeting with fifty, sixty employers and some have commented at that the fleet to dog ratio is pretty high these taste but the flick heated dog ratio was not so high. So you know, if you have and that gets back twenty original questions, if it if if you have a solution or you think you have something that's technology based. There's a lot of out of them and there are a lot of vendors circling these these employers. But if there's really avoid and a need and you can actually show that it's a big ticket expense item, like, you know, like digestive conditions, it's actually within you know, they never realize this. When we started looking at their claims, it's within the top five of all of their their their expenses. And so once you point out that Promo essentially, and you have a solution that doesn't cost them any extra money and can save them some money, then then you're then you're in. Now, if you have a diabetes program or you have a prediabetes program or an exercise program it's a little tougher. This is HMM, yeah, you don't really know where they roi is there right hmm. The other thing that's sounds really different is, you know, like the the business model component of bundling. Yeah, you know, so was so as you when you talk about the fleetodog ratio, right, there's this explosion of innovation and so, you know, there's innovation and all industries, but it just feels like it's a lot more concentrated in healthcare. And you know, if you're trying to sell your wares to someone, you know, instead of maybe someone else this month pinching competings or substitute solution, they might have had three just in the last hour. Right. So it's so, so saturated with innovation. So I wonder, you know, were you with this bundled approach? was that part of how you are able to rise above the noise, or was it something...
...else, you know, in part, in part, by the way. So, so the bundle reproach or any approach, you know, if you think that you're if you think you have a good solution, you shouldn't be afraid to take some risk right there and and there's some successful companies out there that are beginning to take risk. You know, I got to put your money where your mouth is in that respect. I think, Yep. So. And then you brought up an interesting point. You say there's an explosion of innovation. Might look like it on the surface, is it turns out there's a lot of variation of the same theme. Yep, Ye, would necessarily call it innovation. And and and so, you know, bringing another disease manager program that's digestive disease. You know, I wouldn't call in innovation in itself at all. I really wouldn't that. Just you know, that's even our program I wouldn't call it innovative in that respect. But I would say that the components that it brings, essentially and the things that will reveal are things and information that we would never learned, not only about digestive conditions but about all sort of chronic conditions that haven't been addressed and about farm us. So there's components and of this essentially, which you know, are our new learning experiences. And so you know, a lot of them right now are just throwing, you know, throwing sort of solutions they are calling innovative, but they're not that well thought out. I don't mean to be you know, throw water on it, a cold water on it, but so what's missing? Because I think that's again, I think you, you know, you continue to hit on these golden nuggets that I think are going to be really, really valuable to our listeners. What what when you're kind of talking about people that are throwing stuff at the wall that's really not rent innovative, what are they missing and and what do they need to build into it in order to really have something of value? Well, okay, so that's easy. I mean to be honest, really it's easy. It's the person and the outcome. I mean, look, if you you know you're a person who has a particular illness, right, I mean why? Why? Why throw technology? I mean, you know, we're just we're just so heavily laden with technology, right. Yeah, I don't call that and and they call it engagement. You know, these folks, folks who who have a chronic condition, want to be less engaged with their their their their illness, right, I mean, you know, you know what you thinking about. You are sick all the time. Right. So it's a flip side of that. You know, what can you do to have them feel like they're less engaged? But having to think about, you know, being sick or doing this or having diabetes and all that type of stuff. So that's the best. Part of the problem is is that, you know, if you throw some technology are you throw a solution that's that's got a lot of technology and you don't think about how burden the individual is with technology. I mean, how do you expect them to be more engaged with an illness they don't want anyway? HMM, well, I think that's that. That's part of the issue, right, you know, I mean there's companies that are during your feelings and they're doing this and then you know, they're after the feelings. They want you to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I mean, you know right. Yeah, I create white create a problem and you know. So I think that's a problem. You know, you can throw a lot of this stuff out hope something sticks, hope somebody has a problem. So, you know, you talked about leveling the playing field between, you know, the physicians of the clinicians in the patients or people that have our users or have the condition. Have you adapted, adopted any strategies into your product management of product development where you were involving them in the process all the time building out? So let's talk about that. A little bit all the time. You know. And actually you bring up a good point because you know, there's a there's two schools of thoughts. I think even even apple did that. You know, consumers don't know what they want right, so we're just going to build it and it's some cases we've done that. Yep, in more recent with Vante actually we have a we first went into it. I didn't know this area. We it was it just it was astounding. I didn't know much about social media, but we tested out the social media. The pictures that we got back from people who've had digestive conditions, whether it's ips and they had that constant diarrhea, or people who have constipation. It was an interesting outlet to see the pictures in the social media that we got back. It was, you know, really, surely they're not going to want to publicize that, but they are right, they are actually and so so. So that actually was a key is. You know, you asked yourself, you know, for people who don't have sort of conditions like this, we're not leaving, you know, living like this all the time. How willing are you to share actually, you know, your poop pictures or, for the pictures right. Yeah, they're living with a condition essentially like this. This is just part of your you know,...
...your normal life. So we have those user groups all the time. We test the products out there. They tell us, so, this is useful, this is really garbage. You know, this is you know how we feel. A lot of the people in our company actually, and I won't say I hire for it, that might actually have these chronic digestive conditions, and so that's also an important component. So so we do testing in there like us who've got these conditions. Yeah, yeah, I think that's really important too, because, you know, I think traditionally a lot of companies innovated internally and in felt a sense of responsibility to come up with all of the innovative ideas within the company and have something kind of complete to bring to market, and that's when customers or prospects were involved in any process sess of like hey, here's it, here, here it is. Do you want to use it or do you want to buy it? Where's there's definitely over the last couple of decades and other industries, and I'm starting to see a little bit more of this in healthcare. We're just scratching the surface of I don't have to be the expert internally. I just need to be able to ask the right questions and and and allow those perspective customers to be a part of that product innovation process and like wow, I mean, you know, your rd cost go down and your success rates go up, so it's a win win. But you kind of have to put your ego to the side. It says, I don't have to have all the answers. You know, you're totally you're totally you're totally right. You know, you know. People don't. I mean if you crowdsource at type of thing, they don't always know, but but you know there's some commonality. Your a hundred percent. You're a hundred percent right. It's exactly correct. And so luckily, actually, I'd say our product development is, and this is not meant to is run by women and and they get it. I have hit. They get it, the ego aside, at least the folks we have they're extremely good and they're open up and I mean they just get it. There's a sensitivity there that we just don't have the team. So obviously you know we it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that you know company are comprised of people and you know strategies, products, every process is everything kind of begins and ends with the team. If you don't have the right team, you know you're not going to have a successful company. One of the things that I noted that was really interesting about you and vivant a health is I would say that you are a younger company right. VIVANTE's only been around for a couple of years and you already have a chief commercial officer. We do. We've hired actually of our CC suite, so we'd have some really great new hires. Yeah, Bill Snyder came from very health. He's absolutely spectacular. He's a vigorous young guy who's got a great track record and he's done he's done marvelous. He's built a great team for us. Have Catherine Moore, who's the chief product officer. She came from ZOC DOC and then guild education. She's got so far together that and she's extremely good. We just hired two, two new people in the sea sweet and then there's Andy Loving, I should say, who came, who's in Nashville, who is with Nara's health and aspire and healthways. A really a season vetteran and we just hired two new people. Are Chief Technology officer, is debrand Braun. She came from HP and United Healthcare. She's absolutely terrific. Yeah, and our chief medical officer, who will be coming on in a couple of weeks, is Simon Matthews. He's a GI doctor from Hopkins. He was on the Faculty of Hopkins and he decided to join us. So I've got a really a terrific young, young team that are passionate and and have all those ingredients. So I've been really lucky with this team, super lucky. So what do you say to those health innovators that you know only obviously all of us only have a certain amount of resources to work with and you're making the decision of you know, obviously the c suite is is expensive, you know, or more expensive than you know. Let's get some interns right. So it's two completely different mindsets for a leader of a company and you've got a limited amount of money to work with and you need to invest in the product, you need to invest in your go to market, but you need to invest in the team that's going to help you with all of that. So what do you say to innovators that are, you know, kind of on the teetertotter between human capital, yeah, technology, go to market. Yeah. Well,...
...you know, I think this hope this will sound I'm really lucky I have. I've had a pretty broad background and I think being trained as a scientist as allowed me to do each and every one of these tests. So, first of all, I know at each and every one of them in tails. Right, you can't hire somebody and say and not have had that experience, and I never do that. So I always do things first myself. Yep, yeah, and so so that's kind of number one. And so when you hire people, then you have a better sort of understanding of what you need in that individual right. And, quite frankly, when when, when you start talking with folks and you start to bring on on these folks, there's two elements. I'm a little older in this respect. One is trying to to have the their careers grow. Right. I think the best accolade is to and I really do, is to train them so well that they want to leave. Yeah, have them leave. And so I always start out doing all of the stuff myself and as a team gets bigger, they say why are you doing anything. We don't want you to do anything. You're just interfering. That would grows, you know, and you you start to get those people and and it comes down to a sort of a what I would call a cultural thing. You know, you said they're expensive in the sea suite. Well, people want to work primarily at places where they're valued and they can grow their careers right and and and and have that freedom and experiment. So I don't really go for the highest dollar. I won't do that. I mean right, but and I want them all to be shareholders. So we're generous on that because and we were the same direction. We all profit from that same direction. So I'm really lucky and getting people who have the right chemistry, they have the right passion, they have good experience and my job is simply to to try to see if I can develop their careers, you know, further. That's what I was supposed to be doing and entering the vision of the company. But so for the other entrepreneurs, well, do all for yourself and then, you know, slowly add, but you don't have to buy really expensive people because you think their quote experience right. Yep, it's a matter of people who've got fire in their belly and are willing to learn new things. No, that's how we look at it. Well, and I couldn't agree with you more. The fire in the belly is just so important right because, again, as a startup company, there's just so many challenges and so you've got to be able to be resilient and keep that fire in the belly. You know not everybody is going to be. So it's high risk takers, but there's a big reward at the end of it, right. There is? Yeah, there isn't. And you actually can see your vision actually getting laid out on a daily basis, and that's kind of cool because you know every little thing you do. You know you've done it yourself, and so that's pretty cool. You can see the advancement. So, as we wrap up here, is there anything else that you you know, kind of think about it for just a second. Is there anything else that you would want to share with fellow health innovators that are in the trenches today that are listening to this episode? Well, well, thanks for that. You know, I think the biggest thing I would say is, and I'll go back to choose a choose, an important clinical problem that you can solve. Yep, a clinical problem that you know has an unmet need that the quote traditional healthcare system can appreciate. Right, doctors, nurses, hospitals and all that. So and and and think about flipping it such that it's not a technology that precedes it's really a clinical problem that is being supported by technology. And so that would be my mantra. Yeah, and and that requires that requires some deep thought in terms of the problem, an approach. So that's that's kind of it. Well, thank you very much. And Hang in there, I mean, you know, I mean things look grim sometimes, actually on a daily basis, on a milli second basis, and there it's always good. Yes, absolutely. That's why we're here to and share strategy, share tactics and encourage our listeners to hang in there. That, you know, we need folks to hang in there because we need to change our a lot that happens in healthcare today for for everyone's benefit. Yeah, yes, so, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with our listeners today. I have really enjoyed the conversation. What is the best way for folks to be able to get a hold of you in case they've got some questions or want to find more about what's going on with you and counte. Yeah, I mean certainly they go to our website, which is, you know, Vavante Healthcom, and and see what we do. I have no issue with handing out my my...
...email. It would be Kay and Julidas A and Gel ides at lavonte health, Viva N te h e a l t hcom. So just drop me a note connect on Linkedin if you'd like. I'm always, always willing and welcome and I love to hear from other folks who want to just talk about building a business. That's great. Thank you so much. Pleasure as my pleasure. Thanks Roxy Thank you so much for listening. I know you're busy working to bring your life changing innovation to market and I value your time and your attention. To save time and get the latest episodes on your mobile device, automatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyone who's been sharing the show with friends and colleagues. See You on the next episode of Coiq.
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