Why did you set up your company?
Our goal is to improve the healthcare industry starting with the veterinary one. There are many redundant tasks now that can be automated. These tasks increase the cost of healthcare and make it difficult for everyone to benefit from it.
Did you have a ‘lightbulb moment’ (ie. something which led to you starting your business, or which triggered a change in the way you did things)?
It was more of a brainstorming session about how we can have a big impact in the industry. Our first step was to create a Digital Health Card for pets, however, when we started talking with vet clinics, we realized that most of them still use pen and paper as a management tool. That was the moment when we realized the industry needs Digitail.
Were there any EU, national, regional or local business support services, programmes or funding initiatives that helped you set up or grow?
Unfortunately not. The help came rather from fellow entrepreneurs and other businesses. We are now reaching out to more programs but it is a highly bureaucratic process which prevents many entrepreneurs from benefiting from them. A more business approach and results-oriented focus would highly improve the process. I’ve seen startup programs in the EU that require you to have 10 employees and 3 years of activity to qualify. Most startups have a make or break moment in the first months and definitely do not have 3 employees but rather 3 co-founders. I would go in more details here but hopefully, when the time comes, entrepreneurs will be able to help the system and make it easier for the next wave of business makers.
How would you describe your progress so far? Are there any significant challenges you have had to overcome?
We find challenges everyday and all around us. Somehow, we have managed to delegate the responsibility among all of our team members in order to make sure we successfully tackle any challenge. Teamwork is key as well as a lot of focus. It is so difficult to maintain focus and to make sure you do not give up in the hard moments.
My personal philosophy is that there are ups and downs. If today is a bad day, I can just be happy that tomorrow will be a better one!
On a more practical approach, some of our challenges of doing business in Europe are the language barrier and varying legislations from country to country. In addition, I would mention the over bureaucratic processes and the lack of user experience focused applications.
What do you see as the key trends/disruptors for 2018 relevant to entrepreneurs?
I believe it is highly important for the successful generations of entrepreneurs to get involved and help the next generation. With their help we can learn and avoid mistakes, and make sure we really have the tools to scale our businesses and increase our impact tenfold.
Machine learning and Reinforcement learning will drastically reduce costs of automation and will enable entrepreneurs to bring new ideas to the market.
Rapid Fire Round
“A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing". Which would you prefer to be, a fox or a hedgehog?
For this question I do not believe a black or white answer would be suitable. Sometimes it is important to be a fox, and other times being a hedgehog is the only resort.
Analysis or instinct?
As Malcom Gladwell says in Blink: “adaptive unconscious is a mental process that works rapidly and automatically from relatively little information”. In other words instinct is the sum of our experiences and pre-existing knowledge that we rapidly query. However, I normally tend to analyse thoroughly before taking a decision but use my instinct to brainstorm on what options we (I) have.
Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?
No, no, no.
Which is better when networking: matchmaking sessions or drinks reception?
For results - matchmaking sessions but I do prefer drinks reception. It lets you choose your discussion partner and it builds more long term relations.
A week on the beach in Barbados or a visit to the Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg?
Considering that I chose Barcelona for a place to live in, I will go for the beach option!
Which is a better motive: making money or doing good?
I wanted to only say doing good, but this got me started on something else. Making money can never be a goal in and of itself. We fool ourselves if we think that money can ensure you will have a happy life. Money cannot bring sustainable happiness. You will always want more money, shinier items and it will never be enough.
I will choose doing good and “putting a dent in the universe” anytime. Money does come when you focus on quality and long term success (which normally is a result of doing something you love), but it is only a by-product of your work and by far not the major goal!
I am happy that there are more and more people that are impact motivated, and that our generation will have a chance to help the next one and improve quality of life on a global scale.