First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Peter Kuhar: It’s definitely an interesting year, with huge up and downsides. We have more time with the family, which was great overall. On the other hand, it’s hard to get into a state of flow for work, so there were many late nights, which is the only time without interruption.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Azumio.
Peter Kuhar: I was always tinkering around with technology and started writing code very early. I was also working on mobile apps before the iPhone was a thing. I was always experimenting with what’s possible, how to push the boundaries of available technology. I got the entrepreneurial bug in my early 20s, my first startup attempt was too naïve (hardware…), but now I’m working on Azumio for the last 10 years.
Azumio started as an exploration of how to use the phone’s sensors to measure biological signals. Camera for measuring heart rate (the Instant Heart Rate app), motion sensors for analyzing sleep ( the Sleep Time app)… we can even detect the likelihood of diabetes using just the camera on the phone.
The company’s goal is to help our users live healthier lives, especially people with chronic disease.
How does Azumio innovate?
Peter Kuhar: We still have the same pushing the boundaries of what the current tech allows us (sometimes a bit too much and too early). With new widely deployed technology come new possibilities. For example, depth cameras on the phones allow us to accurately track what and how much users are eating, helping them manage their diabetes.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Peter Kuhar: We are quite lucky in a way. Our business is health-related and mobile. People started to care about their health more and also have more time on their phones. On the other side, they are more conscious of their spending. Having said that, some of our projects that depend on physical locations are heavily delayed.
We are also lucky that our team was partially distributed even before the pandemic, so the change to full remote work was not that hard. We knew how to work remotely. And the majority of our team members enjoy working remotely. We do miss the in-person meetings and casual chats, though. We’ll get a new appreciation for the office after this.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Peter Kuhar: We did focus our efforts more, and it made us think about what’s important. Thankfully, our team is still intact and will make it through as a whole.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Azumio in the future?
Peter Kuhar: You have to think things through. And not act based on emotion. I think we are in an important market of digital health, which because essential this year.
Your final thoughts?
Peter Kuhar: We’ve seen how much can be done in a short period if we are pushed into it. More has changed in how healthcare is delivered in the last 6 months than in the last 6 years. We should use this momentum to push digital health forward.