AI and the future of radiology and diagnostic imaging
“Artificial intelligence will not replace radiologists … but radiologists who use AI will replace radiologists who don’t.”
According to research, the clinical adoption of AI in radiology has grown from 0% to 30% over the past five years. It is not surprising that AI adoption is progressing rapidly in radiology, MRI, and diagnostic imaging, in general, since artificial intelligence is a powerful technology and tool that can transform and optimize the work of radiologists in incredible ways.
Even though artificial intelligence has penetrated all branches of healthcare, radiology has the most significant innovation potential. AI is transforming the diagnostic imaging industry as it did when we moved from film to digital imaging.
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize radiology over the next 10-15 years, enabling clinicians to be more efficient, accurate, and accessible to spend time with medical staff and their patients. The introduction of AI and innovative software, in particular, will provide access to data and unlock the potential of radiological research opportunities for both doctors and patients. AI technology will empower radiologists and impact clinical practice by improving procedures’ quality, efficiency, and speed and reducing doctors’ burden when making decisions. As a result, we will witness a full-scale transformation of radiology and MRI and improve the quality of patient care.
Today’s interviewee, CEO, and the Co-founder of the Cerebriu startup, Robert Lauritzen, will tell us about their latest development in AI and radiology, share the secrets of launching a business in the healthcare industry and give some valuable advice to young entrepreneurs. Orange Sputnik is in touch. Let’s start?
About Cerebriu Startup
“Cerebriu improves workflow efficiency, quality, and patient outcomes in diagnostic imaging,” said the company’s website.
However, our interviewee shared with us another excellent definition of the company’s activities and their technology: “Cerebriu supports faster-personalized radiology to automate MRI, in particular, brings the most relevant and provide information to the specialists and reduce the amount of data to the optimal and faster scan as well as enabling faster and better decisions.”
Before proceeding to a detailed discussion of the aspects of the development of a startup, we decided to discuss with Robert the background of the Cerebriu company and find out what led our interviewee to the idea of creating a startup and developing technology.
“We founded Cerebriu back in the summer of 2018. Six months before the launch, my co-founders, professors, PostDocs in medical imaging and machine learning, and I had been working under the problems of radiology and medical imaging that patients and healthcare specialists are facing across the globe,” Robert started his story.
He moved on to the next part of the story and shared with us why they chose this particular line of business and described the main problem they are trying to solve with their technology: “We could see that most of the companies were focusing on post-processing. However, there was not much activity going around the acquisition and workflow optimization. So, this space was out of service. That’s why we created the company based on the idea of faster personalized diagnostic imaging and radiology, focusing on specifically automating MRI,” stated the Co-founder and CEO of Cerebriu.
“We created the company based on the idea of faster-personalized diagnostic imaging and radiology, focusing on specifically automating MRI.”
The founding team matters
After briefly discussing the background and core business of the company, we moved on to the next question of our interview. We asked Robert about his current responsibilities at Cerebriu and the founding team.
“I am the CEO; besides me, we have experts who specialize in Computer Science and Medical Imaging and have been working in these industries already for a couple of decades,” stated Robert. He added: “By the way, we have recently expanded our core team and employed the Chief Medical Officer.”
We moved to the next part of the question and asked Robert about his current responsibilities as CEO of Cerebriu. “My area of responsibility is to ensure that we can build and fund our activities, attract investors, engage partners both from the medical industry and related fields in business development activities,” highlighted his main activities Robert.
Many business experts argue that the founding team matters more to success than the product/service. Do you agree with this statement? However, whatever one may say, startups operating in any high-tech industry require various experience and qualifications.
Different ways to raise capital
Raising capital is rightfully considered one of the most critical and challenging aspects of developing a startup and a successful business. Therefore, after discussing with Robert the activities of the company and his responsibilities as CEO, we moved on to one of the most interesting questions for our audience – financing and finding investors. How did Cerebriu startup solve the problem of raising capital?
“We were able to obtain the necessary funding thanks to angel investors and co-founders team,” stated our interviewee.
Today, due to the active development of the startup industry, there exist more ways to raise capital – from venture capital funds, bank loans, and angel funding to participating in an accelerator and finding money through networking. However, Robert’s company resolved the issue, one might say, in the traditional way.
Robert shared with us the following: “I invested some money, and also was the one who found our first business angel, who became our initial lead investor. That’s how we have started Cerebriu.”
Of course, not only at the startup stage but on subsequent life cycles and stages of development, you will need to attract funding and investors to mobilize the capital necessary for the long-term success of your business. However, convincing someone else to believe in your dream and business idea takes resilience, planning, and a strong pitch.
The basics of a good pitch
Having found out how Cerebriu managed to find the necessary financial cushion, we wondered how Robert managed to convince business investors of the feasibility of their idea. We asked our interviewee to advise our readers, namely young entrepreneurs on how to make an excellent pitch.
In turn, Robert shared with us a short manual for pitching in front of investors.
“First of all, you need to have a clear understanding of the problem you want to solve,” the Co-founder of Cerebriu started from the main point. He added some details to his statement: “I mean you should have an overview of the magnitude of this problem in terms of the market potential. Why would your technology/product/service be relevant? Is this a local/regional/global problem? These questions are related to the potential and scalability of your business if you succeed.”
Robert moved to the second point: “Secondly, having described the problem, you, of course, must provide investors with a solution – your product/service/technology.” He highlighted the following: “You have to show them your current level. Even if you are in a very early stage, you still have to explain why it would be a viable, visible, and solid solution to bring it to the market.”
After describing the first two fundamental points, our interviewee shared with us the last, but not the least: “And the third, but no less important point is your team. You should introduce your team to the investors and show that you have enough skills and you all are mature to succeed.”
In the end, he added: “Never say anything you don’t believe in.”
“Never say anything you don’t believe in.”
The geography of clients and target audience of the Cerebriu startup
Having clarified the main task of Cerebriu technology – improving workflow efficiency, quality, and patient outcomes in diagnostic imaging, we moved on to the next question of our interview. We discussed their business model, the geography of clients, and particular healthcare market representatives who can become their potential customers with Robert.
“It’s a B2B model. We are working with the hospitals who are the target segment for our technology, particularly hospitals and healthcare organizations that have radiology departments,” stated the Co-founder and CEO of Cerebriu. He continued his answer: “As for the geography of clients, we have partners in Denmark, Norway, Germany, UK, US, India, and Israel.”
Customer acquisition and retention are critical to success, especially in the early stages of starting a business. So, we asked Robert about their ways to attract customers. He briefly answered the following: “We contact our potential clients directly, engage them in initial meetings and present our solution.”
The basis of any marketing strategy is the definition of the target audience, which allows you to determine the ideal portrait of the client, track competitors, and identify the main pain points that your product/service can solve.
At the end of the discussion, we asked our interviewee about their first client, to which Robert said the next: “It’s a local hospital here in Denmark, and we keep working with them.”
The startup’s DNA
“Make no mistake, more than anything else, startups live and die by the people that bring them to life.”
Of course, no matter how vital funding, ideas, and business model are, the team is the DNA of a startup. Business experts claim that 65% of startups fail due to poor teamwork. We decided to find out Robert’s opinion on this matter and asked him to tell us about the Cerebriu team.
“We have a very diverse team: 30% female, 12 nationalities,” noticed our interviewee. He also emphasized the following: “We have a global outlook. We like to attract talented people from all over the world that are interested in working with us.”
Robert summarized his answer and highlighted the following essential strengths and benefits of the Cerebriu startup’s team: “Actually, I think that diversity, skillset, and contribution to what we are doing are our biggest strengths. By the way, our investors and partners appreciate our diversity and global vision.”
“I think that diversity, skillset, and contribution to what we are doing are our biggest strengths.”
How to measure a startup’s achievements?
After discussing the key aspects of successful startup development, we decided to ask Robert about their startup’s success metrics and what he thinks about it, in general.
Why pay attention to defining strategically essential business metrics? Success metrics are a rich source of information that will tell you about the current situation in your company, trends in customer behavior, opportunities for growth, and seemingly invisible problems that need to be solved. However, it is vital to focus on the right metrics that fit your startup and can form the basis of your sales and marketing KPIs.
To our question about the success metrics that Cerebriu uses to measure his achievements, Robert told us the following: “If we are looking at our overarching objectives, in that scope, for us it means traction, so the buildup of customers and partners. That’s our first main metric and value trigger for the next capital raise,” stated our interviewee.
After listening to Robert, we thought that while “revenue” is considered one of the leading indicators of success, several other factors affect the overall situation, including growth, scalability, and the success of your business.
Robert’s following words confirmed our reflections. He added the following: “Obviously we have other objectives to track – regulatory compliance, research, and development of our technology – everything that is related to our capability and the achievement of full commercial launch,” highlighted the Co-founder of Cerebriu startup.
The strategy of the future success
The success rates and the ability to grow and develop are reflections of business vitality. To determine the development direction, you need a business plan or a well-defined strategy for the future. Therefore, after discussing the key aspects and indicators of success, we could not help but ask Robert about their plans for next year.
Robert shared with us two main directions for Cerebriu at the moment: “At first we want to get into operational use in multiple countries, especially in Europe. The second goal for us is to establish a solid foundation of clinical validation,” stated our interviewee.
The biggest threat for Cerebriu
At the end of the block of questions about the Cerebriu startup, we asked Robert the last, but according to most of our interviewees, the most interesting question regarding the most significant threats and challenges on the company’s path to success.
“In my personal opinion, the timeline is our biggest threat,” stated Robert. He continued and explained his concerns: “Can we move and grow fast enough? Can we attract enough capital to scale? These are the questions that every entrepreneur is concerned about.”
Companies face challenges at different stages of their growth and development, and this is inevitable. There have always been, are, and will be problems that need to be solved. However, the best way to deal with any threats is to anticipate them.
The importance of social influence
Moving on to the next block of our interview with personal questions, we asked Robert why he chose this particular direction of activity and what he loves most in his work.
“Working in the Medtech and healthcare sectors and being able to improve health and well-being around the world is inspiring for me,” stated Robert. He continued and emphasized the merits of working with a Cerebriu team: “I am proud to work with our team, growing and maturing together with such talented professionals.”
In the end, he added and highlighted the essential detail: “I can see the excitement of healthcare professionals around the world who use our solution. All this in the complex is very exciting and makes me wake up and get out of bed every morning.”
One cannot but agree that technology has the potential for massive social impact. At this point of the global COVID-19 pandemic and growing economic insecurity, the need for innovative solutions is greater than ever. Startups play a crucial role as entrepreneurs can develop top-notch solutions that have an impact on society. In particular, the startup and technology Cerebriu would fundamentally change the radiology industry and automate MRI and other types of diagnostic imaging.
“Working in the Medtech and healthcare sectors and being able to improve health and well-being around the world is inspiring for me.”
At the base of every startup is the ardor and dedication of an entrepreneur with a goal. So, developing a company, like Cerebriu, with a substantial social impact is an incredible feat that can be highly challenging. So we wondered where Robert gets his motivation and if there are executives who inspire him.
“I’ve met a lot of people in my life who impacted me and motivated me. However, I don’t have any specific names to throw out there, but these were both prominent and ordinary people,” said the Co-founder of Cerebriu. He added a critical thought: “I think that networking and keeping open-minded on how to evolve is incredibly important for any entrepreneur who is eager to succeed.”
“I think that networking and keeping open-minded on how to evolve is incredibly important for any entrepreneur who is eager to succeed.”
Books that can change your life
One of the last “tips” questions we asked Robert was about books he thought all aspiring startup executives should read. He shared with us the following books:
- “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries
- “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
We, of course, became curious about his choice and asked him to tell why he chose these two books. In his answer, Robert stressed the importance of prioritizing and maintaining balance in life: “These books can help every young entrepreneur to prioritize and focus on the main things in your business and personal life, for example, how to be adaptive in a changing world, how to manage yourself and start your entrepreneur journey.”
Advice for young entrepreneurs
After discussing all aspects of the development of a startup and at the end of our fascinating and intense interview, we asked Robert for advice to young entrepreneurs. Our interviewee shared two main principles that are crucial to follow if you want to launch a startup that will succeed in the future.
“First of all, get a great variety of advice from senior experienced people,” said Robert. He continued and shared some valuable sources where you can gain knowledge, experience, and skills: “You can join an accelerator, incubator, specialized hub or network where you can meet people from the same industry.”
Our interviewee moved to the second point: “Secondly, make sure that you can supplement yourself with a team. You should understand your strengths and weaknesses and make sure that you have people in your team who can support you with knowledge. You have to set the right team, which is a fundamental aspect of any startup,” he emphasized the importance of teamwork again.
“You have to set the right team, which is a fundamental aspect of any startup.”
Shaping the future of radiology
Artificial intelligence is shaping the future of medical and diagnostic imaging in many ways. Radiological data is one of the richest sources of information about a patient’s well-being. At the same time, interpreting ultra-high resolution images is challenging, even for experienced healthcare professionals.
Unsurprisingly, AI-powered technologies can be valuable allies for radiologists and diagnostic imaging specialists in dealing with the staggering amount of unstructured data from x-rays, computed tomography, and MRI scans.
Technological advances in the AI industry, combined with innovative thinking, have revolutionized the radiology industry and the healthcare industry in general. Modern technology solutions designed to optimize the workflow of radiologists and diagnostic imaging specialists will bring significant benefits to both clinicians and patients. These solutions enable radiologists to deliver better quality services faster than ever before and help reduce workplace stress and misdiagnoses during the procedure.