Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have men­tors and ad­vis­ers, to be able to get that ex­pe­ri­ence if you don’t have it. You’ll never know it all. I don’t be­lieve that any­one does. There’s no blue­print for a startup. So just be­ing able to fig­ure it out, not make any as­sump­tions, and not know it all, is quite a good thing. There comes an el­e­ment some­times of just back­ing your­self as well. You will get a lot of ad­vice, you will get a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple ad­vis­ing you to go in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

Ul­ti­mately, you have to make the de­ci­sions for your busi­ness and when you make those de­ci­sions you’ve re­ally got to be able to back your­self. If you’re re­ally passionate about some­thing, I would feel that it’s harder to wait with that in your head rather than jump now and give it a go. What’s the worst that’s go­ing to hap­pen? You fail and you go back to do­ing what you do. There isn’t a per­fect time. Just go for it, see if it works, and if it works and you’re passionate about it then hope­fully it will suc­ceed. Or, you go 10 years think­ing you should do some­thing and you don’t try it and you never know.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges, Clancy says, has been to con­vince peo­ple to em­brace dig­i­tal health prod­ucts.

“Beats Med­i­cal didn’t look like a pill. It didn’t look like how you treat Parkin­son’s dis­ease. We had peo­ple with Parkin­son’s who this was help­ing who said: ‘Don’t make us wait for the HSE to cover it, we want this now.’

“So we started sell­ing direct to cus­tomers — and now we have users in 44 coun­tries through that sell­ing.

“But hospitals and in­sur­ers, par­tic­u­larly across the States, are em­brac­ing dig­i­tal health like never be­fore in the last 12 months, which has very much started to flip our busi­ness model from a B2C to a B2B model, which is one of the rea­sons why we’re rais­ing the Se­ries A.”

She says she has been sur­prised by the power of B2C in help­ing to build sales.

“We do go to health pro­fes­sion­als first but in coun­tries where we don’t have a pres­ence, what’s been very pow­er­ful is one in­di­vid­ual, telling oth­ers, who tell the neu­rol­o­gist and then health pro­fes­sion­als pre­scribe from there.

“The B2B al­lows us to have much more sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in a much more rapid way. In a sense it’s also much more ac­ces­si­ble for in­di­vid­u­als as well.

“If it’s cov­ered by their in­surer or their ma­jor hos­pi­tal scheme, you can have thou­sands of peo­ple com­ing in to the same hos­pi­tal group, get­ting on the sys­tem and off they go. It is a po­ten­tially more sus­tain­able model for an im­pact busi­ness to be B2B.”

As the com­pany grows, the pres­sure on Clancy grows and she wants to make sure that she con­tin­ues to de­velop her skills as a leader and chief ex­ec­u­tive, even as a scal­ing busi­ness cre­ates more and more de­mands on her time.

Per­sonal men­tors have in­cluded In­tel vice-pres­i­dent Mar­garet Bur­graff and Keel­ings boss Caro­line Keel­ing.

Im­por­tant too, says Clancy, is fit­ting in time for phys­i­cal ex­er­cise which helps keep her fit for the de­mand­ing job of run­ning the busi­ness. Surf­ing, hip-hop mu­sic, rock climb­ing and, per­haps sur­pris­ingly, break­danc­ing are among the hob­bies she pur­sues dur­ing her time off.

What also helps pro­vide sus­te­nance is the pos­i­tive feed­back from cus­tomers who have used the app.

The woman who could write Christ­mas cards for the first time in years, for ex­am­ple, or the man who man­aged to walk from one end of Bri­tain to the other. This, says Clancy, is the well from which she draws en­ergy.

In its last fi­nan­cial year the com­pany lost al­most €220,000 but Clancy says the last two quar­ters have been the com­pany’s best thus far.

“This is in line with much of the growth that we’ve been tak­ing. The pre­vi­ous year we were de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts for other neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

“With tech­nol­ogy it’s never about stand­ing still so it is very much about tak­ing that next step to push the bound­aries of what you can achieve — try­ing to push for more rather than let one thing do well.”

As for the fu­ture, Clancy just wants to make sure the busi­ness ful­fils her vi­sion of help­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

A trade sale or a part­ner­ship might make more sense than an IPO in achiev­ing that vi­sion, but nev­er­the­less Clancy be­lieves it’s im­por­tant to build a busi­ness that has the po­ten­tial to go pub­lic off its own bat.

As well as Parkin­son’s, the com­pany’s other ar­eas of clin­i­cal fo­cus are cere­bral palsy, dys­praxia, stroke and mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis.

“Neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions are so un­der­man­aged and they’re go­ing to be­come a big­ger and big­ger prob­lem ... this chal­lenge isn’t go­ing to change, it’s just go­ing to get worse.

“I be­lieve that Beats Med­i­cal will be stay­ing in the neu­ro­log­i­cal space be­cause you could just keep go­ing. There are mul­ti­ple neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions that re­quire treat­ment for speech, mo­bil­ity, fine­hand move­ments, etc.”

It’s a chal­lenge that Clancy won’t walk away from un­til she feels sat­is­fied she has made a dif­fer­ence.

“I feel like I could ded­i­cate a lot of my life to help­ing peo­ple with neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions. I went into that for this rea­son and I feel like for the fu­ture I want to play a role in mak­ing sure that hap­pens.

“I prob­a­bly won’t sit happy un­til I know that hap­pens. I wouldn’t be able to walk away with­out mak­ing sure that the change we want to cre­ate has hap­pened.

“I wanted this im­pact since I was quite young, and that’s the rea­son I went into busi­ness.”

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