The adoption of SaaS and PaaS in the healthcare industry
“The two areas that are changing… are information technology and medical technology. Those are the things that the world will be very different 20 years from now than it is today.”
The emergence and implementation of new technologies and software allow transforming and optimizing the work of many industries worldwide, and the healthcare industry is no exception.
Specifically for the healthcare industry, the pace of SaaS adoption increases by 20% each year. According to experts, the software as a service market will reach $ 55 billion by 2025.
These numbers are driving the following question: “Why is SaaS suddenly at the forefront of digitalization priorities in many healthcare facilities and companies?” Today, SaaS providers and their flavors of PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) offer many services and benefits in healthcare, such as facilitating interactions between individual industry and market participants.
The integration of software into the medical industry is a revolution of sorts and a necessary measure. After all, our own experience already convinced us, such as with the COVID-19 pandemic, which easily revealed the shortcomings of the global health system.
Today we will talk about the digitalization of sales in the healthcare industry and how such innovative technology as Platform-as-a-Service can affect the industry, making medical product sales more accessible, efficient, and faster.
Today’s interviewee Philippe Hügli, CEO of the startup Hystrix Medical, will tell us about creating a B2B platform for contracting medical products, financing, and launching a startup in such difficult niche importance of sharing success with the team. Hello everyone, Orange Sputnik is online!
What is Hystrix Medical?
Before moving on to discussing the main topic, we, of course, carried out research and found out the following: “Hystrix Medical is an online digital marketplace and hub of market information for the healthcare industry,” said the startup’s LinkedIn account.
We, in turn, asked Philippe for his own definition of the activities of their company. And this is what he told us: “Hystrix Medical digitizes procurement and sales processes in healthcare, so you gain more speed, efficiency, and transparency.”
In 2020, we realized how powerless humanity could be in the face of an epidemic. The health care system, not only in many countries but also throughout the world, needs transformation, modernization, and automation of many processes. Of course, without innovation and technology, such a transformation is simply impossible. As a result, we see, as today, healthcare is undergoing a full-scale digital revolution, in other words, digitalization.
“Hystrix Medical digitizes procurement and sales processes in healthcare, so you gain more speed, efficiency, and transparency.”
A huge shift from offline to online
To give you a complete understanding of the company’s activities, we decided to ask Philip about creating such an innovative platform and what story preceded the launch of the startup.
“I’ve been in the MedTech industry for 11 years,” stated the CEO of Hystrix Medical. “I was employed by St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific. So I was directly involved in all the sales and procurement processes in the MedTech sector,” our interviewee highlighted his broad experience.
He shared with us the following reflection, which led him to the idea of creating Hystrix Medical: “The idea of the platform came to my mind when I was comparing what was going on in the healthcare industry to what we all face in our private lives. Particularly, in the consumer goods market, which faced a huge shift from offline to online,” stated our interview.
He continued his story: “In this sense, I always believed that in the healthcare sector, we have products that you can easily sell and purchase, even if they are complex. So, in that scope, characteristics that are responsible for the shift from offline to online in consumer goods are the same or creating the same expectations in the B2B, as well,” summed up Philippe.
Having considered Philippe’s thoughts that prompted him to create the platform, we decided to ask our interviewee about the specific goal of Hystrix Medical, in general.
“So, our goal was to create a hub of marketing intelligence in healthcare,” stated the CEO of Hystrix Medical. He continued with the following: “It’s much more than Amazon for healthcare where you can buy some products.” Our interviewee highlighted the specific benefits of their platform for all users: “You will find all the specifications, clinical data, learning videos, price information, pictures – everything that is important to make a strategic decision on the buying side and the selling side.”
“So, our goal was to create a hub of marketing intelligence in healthcare.”
Puzzle pieces or how to fund a startup in the early stages
After discussing the company’s main activities and the background of the startup, we decided to move from words to deeds, namely, one of the main aspects of launching and developing a startup – funding.
Unsurprisingly, even Apple, Google, and Amazon started as small startups but have grown into business giants thanks to funding. Today, companies at an early stage have many financing options: venture capital, angel investing or crowdfunding, participation in an accelerator. But in the case of our interviewee, the startup capital did not come from outside. Let’s find out how Hystrix Medical solved the issue of funding and finding investors.
“When I started the company, I knew that I had to invest my money to overcome the first year: develop a prototype, be able to get at least ten customers from both sides: buyers and sellers, and attract first seed investors,” surprised us Philippe with his answer. He proudly declared: “Luckily for us, all the puzzle pieces came together.”
In the end, he also shared with us their current results: “Since then, we have had three funding rounds and raised 5.7 million until now.”
“When I started the company, I knew that I had to invest my money to overcome the first year.”
High demand for remote developers
Of course, when it comes to advanced technology and digitalization, particularly software as a service, we couldn’t help but ask Philippe how their company dealt with development issues.
The Hystrix Medical Co-founder shared with us the following: “So, the core team is in-house. However, we have not done without the help of remote developers. We employed freelancers from Serbia, the US, and Switzerland. That’s how we managed all the software development,” said our interviewee.
Given the situation with the pandemic, qualified remote developers have never been in higher demand. It’s worth noting that tech companies, particularly startups, were among the first to integrate remote work and hire developers on a full-time basis long before the pandemic. By now, many of them have learned to capitalize on the pooling of in-house teams and remote developers. However, just like with any other process, hiring outsource employees has its specifics.
We’ve decided to find out the opinion of Philippe on this matter and what requirements they provide to their potential remote staff.
“We were not looking for remote developers from specific countries. All our requirements were for people to be interested in know-how and correspond to our mentality,” confessed our interviewee. He also added: “We got lots of applications from different remote specialists from all over the world.”
“The core team is in-house. However, we have not done it without the help of remote developers.”
A value generator or an enabler?
“Most of all, I discovered that to succeed with a product, you must truly get to know your customers and build something for them.”
As we already understood, the use of the Hystrix Medical platform can produce enormous value for every healthcare and medical market player. That’s because the PaaS model of Hystrix Medical itself isn’t the value generator. Instead, it’s an enabler. Many companies, organizations, institutions, and businesses are implementing software as a service or, in simple terms, SaaS to improve (automate) their processes, create a secure intranet, increase efficiency, and much more.
After reflecting on this and what Philippe told us about the activities and goals of the company, we decided to move on to the issue of customers and learn more about the startup’s target audience.
Our interviewee, in turn, divided the platform users into the following two groups.
“So, from the one side, we have suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers of medical equipment, devices, consumables, instruments, and tools – everything that health institutions need,” said the CEO of Hystrix Medical.
“On the other side, we have hospitals, elderly homes, private practices, and specific governmental departments,” added our interviewee in his answer.
In conclusion, he said the following: “Basically, we have all kinds of buyers and sellers from the medical and healthcare industry.”
The best tool to find first clients
Having touched on the topic of clients, we asked our interviewee to tell us about the first client of Hystrix Medical and how they managed to find him. Philippe’s answer again confirmed that networking is one of the main tools for startups, especially at the early launch stage.
“I was active in the MedTech sector for eleven years before I founded Hystrix Medical. So even before we launched, I already had some contacts on the market,” said Philippe.
He continued and highlighted the enormous importance of listening to the opinion of every client and especially the first customers: “So, in the beginning, it wasn’t difficult to find customers who would like to try our solution. However, our first client was very supportive and very critical. His feedback helped us to adapt the platform.”
If truth be told, business networks are a unique way to grow your business, optimize your knowledge and skills, learn from the success of others, and find new clients and investors.
Team synergy or the key to startup’s success
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
There is no doubt that teamwork is fundamental to success. Many people today are promoting the idea that a few top employees are responsible for most overall success. However, the most recent productivity studies have shown that even the most talented and effective leader needs the help of a solid team to be successful.
After discussing the clients’ aspect and touching on the topic of the team, we decided to find out from Philippe, as CEO, what he values most in his employees and whether teamwork is the key to the success of Hystrix Medical.
“I like our team because, no matter what your current position is, each of us is thinking about solutions, opportunities, and alternatives and bringing the company forward,” said our interviewee, emphasizing the dedication and commitment of the startup’s team. He continued by highlighting the synergy they have: “It’s a great chance to work with such people because it’s not just a “9 till 5″ but a constructive and interactive exchange.”
As one well-known executive said: “Team building is both an art and a science, and a leader who can consistently build high performing teams is worth its weight in gold.”
At the end of the discussion, Philippe added the following, confirming the above quote: “A large part of our success lies in the dedication of our team. But I am sure that this is also our merit as a founding team because we care about our core team members and want them to feel the result of their achievements too.”
How can you not drown if you are in the same boat?
How important is it to see what works at your startup and what doesn’t? Business is unpredictable, and the only constant you can count on is that it is constantly changing. Not only is the company itself changing, but also the metrics that you use to measure its effectiveness, particularly the success of your actions.
And the next aspect of the development of a startup, which we decided to discuss with Philippe, touched precisely on metrics and ways to determine the enterprise’s success.
“We have all the KPIs you can imagine. However, I have to be honest with you, when we are talking about business success, we are all in the same boat,” said the Co-founder of Hystrix Medical.
We, of course, asked Philippe to explain his statement. He gladly shared with us the following: “I mean, I am involved in sales, and I don’t care about the development side because I am not a developer or engineer myself, but in the end, we are still in the same boat. We share our success with the entire team. So, if at some point we get bonuses due to the business development, we share with everyone in the team.”
Philippe’s answer got us thinking that you can measure success not only with KPIs – a large share of success depends on teamwork and each team member’s motivation.
It is impossible to disagree. Mutual respect and encouragement strengthens the relationship between team members and increases the level of loyalty. Thus, recognizing individual and team achievements helps create a sense of solidarity and motivation for the entire team.
Hystrix Medical short-term goals
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
After discussing the metrics of success with Philippe, we asked him about the company’s plans for the future. Whatever one may say, a business plan is one of the essential aspects of startup development and strategic tools for every entrepreneur. A well-thought-out business plan helps entrepreneurs focus on the specific steps they need to take to realize their business ideas and helps them achieve their short-term and long-term goals.
The Co-founder of Hystrix Medical identified two main areas, or more precisely, the key focus of their startup’s development.
“We are focusing on the supplier’s side. This means that we want to ensure that suppliers get everything they need on the platform and that the tool reflects all their needs. In short, we want to make sure that our technology helps users to facilitate daily business and market access,” shared our interviewee with us.
As it turned out later, the second direction of the startup’s development concerned the expansion and its positioning on the market. “Another main direction and a key priority for us is evaluating other countries that are interesting for our future expansion. Also, how we can adapt our current technology to market fit somewhere else,” our interviewee shared with us the Hystrix Medical plans.
Whether you’re starting a business or exploring ways to expand on an existing one, a business plan is an essential tool to help you make decisions. Think of it as a roadmap for the future development path in all aspects – from product to marketing and financing.
Reluctance to digital transformation
Concluding our interview with the Co-founder of the B2B platform for contracting medical products Hystrix Medical – Philippe Hügli, we had only one question regarding the development of the startup and the business in general. We asked our interviewee what, in his opinion, could become a challenge in moving their technology and platform forward.
“With the pandemic in place and still ongoing, it became very quickly clear that such a platform as Hystrix is very valuable for all the players of the healthcare market. They all quickly realized where to go to buy medical equipment if you need it and where to sell it if you can supply,” emphasized the demand for their platform Philippe.
However, he continued his answer by sharing his concerns with us. He noted that regardless of the large-scale introduction of technologies, not all medical market participants are ready for digitalization. “The biggest threat and challenge for us can only be that people (our clients) do not want to adapt to the online transition to the medical tech market,” stated the Co-founder of Hystrix Medical.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the diffusion and adoption of innovation. In turn, the healthcare industry had to act flexibly and quickly respond to the new landscape and the needs of the market’s participants. The pandemic has become the biggest test for the healthcare industry in terms of technology adoption. Although it used to be considered costly, risky, or complex, today, technology is seen as a tool and foundation to catapult the global market for medical products and services into tomorrow’s world.
Advice for young entrepreneurs
Traditionally, our last question to Philippe sounded like this: “Based on your experience as a Co-founder of a successful startup, what advice can you give to young entrepreneurs who are just starting their way?”
Our interviewee shared his three main principles, which, in his opinion, helped him achieve success:
“Make sure you do something that solves a specific problem.”
“Gather the right team. Before you start a company, make sure you have relevant key competencies on board. Investors are looking for a diverse team. So your skills have to complement each other.”
“Never lose the fun factor.”
“One of the purposes of life, and selfishly what makes people happy, is building things that are impactful.”
According to business and industry experts, SaaS and PaaS for healthcare will become more critical in the future due to the benefits of low cost, ease of implementation/use, and scalability.
Healthcare organizations, companies, and businesses that quickly adapt and implement innovative digital products will be more competitive in the healthcare market and stay one step ahead of the competition while delivering better service and better results.