First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Joey Spitz: Fortunately, no one in my family has contracted COVID-19. Any hardships we have endured are minor inconveniences compared to those who have contracted the virus, suffered the loss of a loved one, or faced difficult economic circumstances.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined KinoTek.
Joey Spitz: I began my ad tech career working with Fortune 500 companies developing their audience targeting and customer segmentation strategies. I gained an early appreciation for the interconnectedness between marketing and sales and how each must be guided by customer data. After primarily working as a consultant to various sales and marketing teams, I was interested in learning about other facets of a business. I didn’t want to simply be a ‘data-guy’ or a salesman; I wanted to understand how all of the components of a business interrelate. This curiosity inspired me to go to business school, where I was able to gain a greater skill set in finance and operations. Following business school, I had the opportunity to work in professional sports, leading operations for the first content company to partner with all four major player associations, NBPA, NFLPA, MLBPA, and NHLPA, respectively. A friend who was interested in investing in KinoTek contacted me and asked that I meet with the CEO to ascertain whether the company, which at the time was in the sport’s market, was worth investing in. After meeting the leadership team and testing the product, I knew right away that KinoTek was onto something special, and within a few minutes, I decided to join the company.
How does KinoTek innovate?
Joey Spitz: KinoTek is innovating the world of movement by creating software that captures full-body motion, provides real-time data visualizations, and identifies body segments susceptible to injury. The software’s AI-powered injury-risk assessment provides actionable insights on key risk indicators and removes the subjectivity of the “clinical eye” by using computer vision. By gathering both quantitative and 3D visual data, clinicians can improve patient education, accurately prescribe treatment, and improve the quality of care.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Joey Spitz: Coronavirus has presented many challenges, which ultimately have benefitted the company. When the virus began, we were gathering movement data via wearable IMU sensors. We realized quickly that in light of Covid, no one would ever be comfortable strapping on sensors. There was just too big of a hygiene stigma to overcome. For a moment, it was unclear whether there would be any hardware that would allow us to complete our vision. We began exploring other means of capturing movement data and identified a lidar-based camera that could work with our software. Not only did this shift remove the Covid issues, but it completely changed the company’s economics. Previously the sensors we were using cost upwards of $7500; however, the camera was a small fraction of this price. This enabled us to reduce our technology cost and greatly enlarged the potential market for our product.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Joey Spitz: The most difficult choice was shifting our target market from sports to movement clinicians, such as physical therapists and chiropractors. Covid put on pause any opportunities we had in the world of sports; we had multiple contracts with professional teams put on hold until sports could resume. However, because of our shift in hardware and the resulting price change, we realized that a much larger group of customers could now afford to purchase our technology. After years of R&D and business development, it was emotionally difficult to feel like we had to start over again in a new market.
The lesson is to keep moving forward. All of the reasons for staying in sports or with wearable IMUs were rooted in stubbornness and inflexibility. There was a feeling of “We’ve done so much work for such a long time, how can we start over again?!” Fortunately, we stayed resilient in a desire to build the best technology possible, even if it meant putting aside the work we had done until that point. We knew that it would have been foolish to stay put, so we had to adapt based on the realities on the ground. Ultimately we are a significantly better business because of it.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and KinoTek in the future?
Joey Spitz: I call friends and family. A quick ten minute chat with the people I care about gives me all the perspective I need to get through the difficult days.
Your final thoughts?
Joey Spitz: I have had so many people to help me reach this point in my career. My goal is to do the same for others. I am always happy to chat with those looking for mentorship or a kind ear. I welcome your correspondence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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