First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jinesh Patel: I wish I could give an easy “we’re all are doing well and getting through it” answer. But the truth is, it’s been very rough. We lost my mother to COVID-19 in late July. Not only has it been challenging personally, but also as a founder of a small startup company. It’s been quite an emotionally draining past few months as you can imagine.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UptimeHealth.
Jinesh Patel: I am a Biomedical Engineer with a Masters in Engineering, as well as an MBA from Texas A&M. I grew up in and lived in Texas for most of my life. I started my career in medical device design and invention and went on to be the Clinical Engineer Manager of the Seton Healthcare system in Austin, TX. During this time, I learned about medical equipment management, medical equipment service, and medical equipment compliance practices. I also learned that there were several issues with how our department operated and how outpatient healthcare practices managed their devices.
Seeing how outpatient was the fastest-growing segment in healthcare, I knew there was going to be an issue with how new entrants approached the medical equipment management issue. For example, outpatient practices are skeleton staffed with providers and administrators who are really good at the job of patient care, but they do not have the internal expertise to really understand how to manage medical equipment to keep them up and running and in high-quality condition at all times. As you and I know, medical devices are integral to patient care. During this pandemic, making sure ventilators are up and running and always available has been a huge focal point. I built UptimeHealth to solve this problem. Our goal is to automate the medical equipment management process and allow outpatient practices to access biomedical technicians and equipment management expertise in their moment of need. We started by providing offerings to urgent cares, but we are now working with surgical centers, emergency rooms, and dental practices.
How does UptimeHealth innovate?
Jinesh Patel: We innovate by committee and client feedback. Every month, we have a reflective process where we have a two-hour meeting with our core team where we ask ourselves, “how can we be better?”, “what else can we do to get closer to our north start?” “what do our clients need to be successful?”. We use these thoughts to see then how we can validate them and implement them into our product roadmap.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jinesh Patel: It heavily affected us and our trajectory. We really launched the product we were proud of toward the end of 2019 and really began gaining traction with urgent cares and surgical centers. As COVID-19 hit the US hard in March, we were deploying in two major enterprise clients in contract with 3. Almost a week after we went live with our enterprise client, the country shut down. This forced our surgical center clients and prospects to close their doors, as well as all of our other clients, divert their attention toward fighting the virus. We appreciate the work that our clients and prospects do, so we took a breather from “selling” and started giving away parts of our product for free to support them in their efforts.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jinesh Patel: We had to really look at how we were growing and where we were spending our money. As you can imagine, we heavily scrutinized all of our expenses. We had to part ways with a few employees we hired for growth. This not an easy decision since these employees believed in us from a very early stage and we really valued them. We learned how to be much more methodical and intentional in our decisions related to what we were developing, what we were spending on, and why. The silver lining is that with limited resources, we were able to be clever as well as make cost-saving measures that will have a prolonged, positive impact on our company. We invented “growth hacks” and learned how to be leaner and not lose market momentum.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and UptimeHealth in the future?
Jinesh Patel: I try and make a habit of sleeping well, eating well, and working out consistently. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I do make a conscious effort to try. I am open and honest with my co-founders, but keep a confident face for our team to let them know we are okay.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jinesh Patel: Right now, we are uniquely positioned as the first market movers. We are predominantly replacing pieces of paper and Excel sheets. The way we stay ahead is to continue to innovate, listen to our client’s needs, and build with our clients as they grow with us.
Your final thoughts?
Jinesh Patel: If you’re an entrepreneur or even a person going through a tough time during this crisis, you will be stronger for it. I have suffered quite a bit and still feel that I have grown as a person and a leader.
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