The GEN Starters Club team caught up with Jinesh Patel, founder and CEO of US based startup UptimeHealth, about how his team adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by giving away some of their system to healthcare providers for free, as well as the positive experiences he had both personally and professionally from attending the 2019 EWC Global Finals at the Risk Global Forum in Riyadh. He shares how the EWC has impacted his journey as an entrepreneur with emphasis on the peer-to-peer network of founders he's gained on account of it; and he also offers some well-chosen advice to entrepreneurs around the world.
EWC team: Hi, Jinesh. Great to speak to you. Can you tell us about your company?
Jinesh Patel: Our company is called UptimeHealth. We manage compliance and medical equipment for outpatient medical facilities. So, this is the urgent care, the surgical centers and the local community-style hospitals you see in your neighborhoods.
And what we do is we make sure that they have tools. Our software tool allows them to manage their tasks: daily, weekly and monthly. The things that you need to do just to be in compliance with regulatory bodies as well as how you manage medical equipment. For example, what kind of service it needs and what kind of maintenance it requires.
All of these things are a little amorphous to people who run outpatient facilities – mainly because they don’t have a whole department that manages this for them like you would at a big healthcare system. We automate the whole process.
EWC team: So, you're taking the pain away from a lot of these bureaucratic processes?
Jinesh Patel: So today, at least in our industry, most of these processes are all done by pen and paper. For that to be translated to a digital format where people can use their phone, tablet, PCs, etc., to do the exact same thing, saves a tremendous amount of time. It especially saves time from the manager who has to manually review each paper checklist.
EWC team: Is it operational, selling well and going well?
Jinesh Patel: Yes, we’ve been going for about two-and-a-half years, and by September of last year we closed our seed round of funding. We used that funding to really build out our product with our initial data clients that had been working with us for about a year-and-a-half.
This year we’re starting to sell the product and go to market. We’re starting to get traction – But during this whole growth phase, when the coronavirus had hit the US in March, it stalled our ability to reach our potential customer base.
In the meantime, we wanted to help out, so we repurposed our tool to give away a free version of our software. This allows clinics to completely change all of their protocols related to coronavirus overnight and resend them to their team.
What we’re finding is that protocols are changing every day as people learn new information. Let’s say, the requirement is to wipe down a room once a day. Then, it turns to twice a day. Now, it’s three times a day – plus wash your hands. So you know, they’re just learning, every hour; and for them to try and educate staff and get this done in a consistent manner is an impossibility with a paper process.
Our software allows them to do just that. It can build task cards that say, “Wash your hands by 9.00am." And everyone can close out on that task, and the manager knows everyone did it in their facility.
They can also attach documents to tasks and say, for example, “Here are the standard operating procedures for this new task that we’ve created, in case you don’t remember how you’re supposed to do it. Now we do circular movements instead of up and down.” You know, it's even the smallest things that can make a difference. If they use our software, it makes dissemination of new information really quick and easy.
That’s why we decided to give it away for free during the coronavirus outbreak.
EWC team: And that is going well?
Jinesh Patel: We’re getting a lot of people to sign up, so it’s been going well from that perspective. We’re finding some difficulties with them finding time to onboard themselves.
So in the last couple of months, what we’ve been doing is working on self-help training videos, so it takes less and less time for them to be able to start using our tools.
People are definitely using it for that exact reason, and we’re getting great feedback from them on the amount of time it has saved.
EWC team: Taking you back to the Entrepreneurship World Cup last year where you were a top 40 global finalist in Riyadh – What were your expectations when you initially got involved?
Jinesh Patel: I wasn’t sure what I was getting involved with. Our main reason for entering was because we were co-working at GSVlab's facility in Boston at the time.
Seth, who runs that facility, came to us and said, “You should apply for this, and see if it works." We did some research and it sounded great, so we applied for the competition.
My expectation was that I was going to meet some entrepreneurs from all over the world and get a shot at pitching in front of a large audience that could potentially benefit us in a monetary fashion.
I’d never seen that part of the world. I’d never gone to Saudi Arabia. I‘d never even thought I would meet so many amazing entrepreneurs from different countries and learn what they’re doing. I was just going for the whole experience, and it ended up being everything I imagined it would be and more.
EWC team: What impact did attending EWC have on your company?
Jinesh Patel: A couple of things. From a personal standpoint, I was able to connect with some amazing founders from every country I can think of, and that gave me a whole new network of people to ask questions to and get feedback from.
When we’ve launched a new product or feature, I reach out to them for feedback. An example of someone I met through EWC is José Quan from Guatemala, who has a company that does a lot of technical services.
Not only does our platform help people manage the medical equipment on the one side but we also give them connections to technicians—who service the equipment—on the other side.
So we built a new tool for technicians to support equipment remotely. And now knowing José and trusting his entrepreneurial mind, I sent him the tool first and asked, “How do you feel about this? Would you use this for your shop? Even though you’re not working on medical equipment, how does this feel for someone who runs this kind of business?” And he’s said, "This is great.” He gave me feedback. So, in hindsight, EWC expanded the network we're able to reach out to in a time of need or help.
Other than that, it was just finding out that there are other opportunities in the world. How easy would it be to go to another country and deploy our technology? It was opening our eyes to that. Because the current strategy is to deploy in the US – but now we can see there’s a place in Saudi Arabia at KAUST [King Abdullah University of Science and Technology] that we can deploy in, if they wanted it. We now know who to reach out to if we wanted to do that. So, it’s been helpful.
EWC team: What you've said is exactly what the EWC team has hoped it would provide for the startups entering the competition this year: the international connections, the practical support, the stuff that never happens over a cup of coffee and not only at the event, but in the months afterwards and the relationships that were built there that persist into the future.
Jinesh Patel: Exactly. I would say it’s the things that you don’t see which gave us the most benefit. Exploring and going to another country builds you both personally and professionally; and directly benefits your interactions in the days, months and years to follow.
EWC team: Were there any other peer-to-peer contacts that come to mind?
Jinesh Patel: I’d say there were a lot of people in the biotech world. My background is biomedical engineering, so it was interesting to see people working in industries that I have familiarity with.
You know there’s a company called NERv Technology, who won the competition. Me and Amr (the COO) have stayed in contact. His company is expanding into some hospitals. I have connections in some hospitals here in the US, so there’s ways that I can help him try and find pilot facilities based on my network.
You know, being on the receiving end of some of these requests is fun. I enjoy even the small things, like making introductions, because you get to help someone you've met who’s doing something impactful.
EWC team: You've given advice, and you've received it and it's a mutually beneficial thing. Can we ask what advice you have for this year's EWC participants and for anyone who's looking to start or scale a venture?
Jinseh Patel: My advice would really be: Have an open mind. Just really take it in for all it’s worth. Connect, listen, learn from everyone. You never know what information you’re going to absorb.
Really have an open mind. The reason I keep saying that is, because here in the US, you may have certain pre-conceived notions of what Saudi Arabia looks like or who the people are. But then you go there, and there’s a state-of-the-art facility for their technology at KAUST filled with science and research.
And at the Misk Global Forum itself – that event was amazing. That is why I say keep an open mind, because the more you listen and absorb, the better off you’ll be and the more you’ll benefit.
EWC team: That's great advice. Finally, what's your vision for UptimeHealth going forward?
Jinesh Patel: Our biggest goal is to try and become the first turnkey compliance and clinical engineering department for outpatient healthcare facilities.
What we’re trying to do is replicate a department that’s inside a big healthcare system and give it to all these smaller clinics that are growing like crazy. We want to give them a tool that allows them to grow faster, be cheaper and more efficient, so hopefully, we can bring down the cost of healthcare.