Sailesh Chutani co-founded Mobisante to develop a mobile, affordable ultrasound system that could make the technology more accessible to a broader group of primary care providers.
Sailesh has championed mobile technologies in healthcare since 2005 and he co-authored the book, “Technology at the Margins” that takes a global view of the impact of the mobile phone on healthcare, education, micro-finance and resource management.
SW: We are looking forward to your talk Friday evening. What do you plan to discuss?
SC: I’ll focus on my journey starting Mobisante: everything that it takes to get a startup up and running and into the marketplace—from funding, product creation, distribution, sales and marketing.
SW: Why Seattle? Why did you start Mobisante here?
SC: Seattle has a deep history in the ultrasound market. The University of Washington did seminal research in developing ultrasound for clinical use. Eventually some of that technology was commercialized and became ATL (which was subsequently acquired by Phillips). Sonosite spun-off from ATL and was early-to-market with more portable devices, it was recently acquired by FujiFilm.
Seattle has incredible bench strength in terms of talent: in healthcare, academic research and technologists. The University of Washington Bothell (and main campus) has incredible talent and. We have been very happy with the interns and full-time employees that we hired from those places.
SW: What are the biggest economic drivers for Mobisante’s business?
SC: With the Affordable Care Act, both the physicians and patients have become even more sensitive to cost and quality of care. The patient often has a very high deductible and pays for many of their procedures out-of-pocket. They are now ‘doctor shopping’ for clinics and primary care physicians that offer a high-level of care, at an affordable price. It’s one of the key factors that keeps them returning to that clinic.
For the primary care provider, cost-effective ultrasound equipment in a clinic cuts costs for two reasons—first, the primary care provider can reduce the number of patients who need to go to a specialized clinic for a scan, which saves time and eliminates a traditionally expensive scan; second, it cuts time to treatment because the scan is performed in-house. And just as importantly, keeps the patient returning to that clinic.
SW: What do you hope to see resulting from the event?
SC: My hope is that potential entrepreneurs who are on the fence will make the leap, learn new skills and techniques, and help grow the eco system. There’s so much learning that happens through Seattle’s network.
Innovation often requires the sheer resilience and creativity of an entrepreneur, married with the success of established organizations. Neil Bergquist of Point B knows this all to well. He acts as a Sherpa to help ensure that healthcare solutions develop as quickly as possible. His official role as Innovation Architect, means that he spends most of his time incorporating entrepreneurial methodologies and thinking into large enterprises, often in the healthcare space. He’s a serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, and management consultant with Point B.
SW: Tell us how you became involved with Startup Weekend: Health?
NB: My friend Brady Ryan, one of the event’s co-organizers, told me about the region’s first Startup Weekend: Health edition, and I immediately asked how I could get involved as mentor.
SW: What type of consulting does Point B do for its healthcare clients?
NB: Our healthcare team works with 40 different organizations across the country, and has completed more than 500 projects–ranging from strategy planning, to IT system implementations, business process improvement, to interim leadership. Personally, I help large corporate clients develop innovation ecosystems and guide them to become more entrepreneurial. A ‘day in the life’ for me includes developing workshops that help clients become the “best businesses of the future”, and to help them evolve their existing “core” businesses to address the changing environment.
Another big part of my role is to be a bridge between entrepreneurs building disruptive innovations, and the large established healthcare players who for the most part own the healthcare industry. It’s critical that the two work together, so that innovation can occur at a more rapid pace.
SW: Name the biggest economic drivers for the Seattle region (in terms of healthcare innovation)?
NB: Large self-ensured employers, like Boeing, are driving the industry changes. They need to cut costs, pure and simple. The healthcare industry is trying to respond with value-based solutions. In Seattle, we see providers looking to our rich technical talent pool to develop cost-saving solutions — either through big data, or consumer-facing applications that streamline processes and provide transparency to treatments and their outcomes.
Employers are also working with their employees (the consumer) to help them become more accountable for their health. Local startups like Limeade and Everymove.org, who offer corporate wellness programs, are great examples of companies providing innovative solutions to help employees become more aware of how they can help reduce their healthcare costs.
But we can’t have strong entrepreneurial organizations without proper financial resources. Per investment data provided by Pitchbook.com, Seattle-area healthcare-focused startups received $536 million in funding throughout 2014. Out of the capital invested, there were 26 deals and the top recipients include Juno therapeutics, Adaptive Biotechnologies and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals. These capitol infusions in our region are encouraging, and demonstrate increasing investor confidence in our region.
SW: Why did you choose to be a mentor in Startup Weekend?
NB: Entrepreneurs take huge personal and professional risks when creating a startup, and the least I can do is offer to help them on their journey. Mentoring and supporting our community is part of the Point B culture.
SW: What do you hope to see resulting from the event? Give us your moonshot answer.
NB: I would love to see the teams walk away with a sincere passion for the healthcare industry. And while their version 1.0 ideas may or may not survive first contact with investors and customers, I am confident that they will develop a solution in the years to come.