Meet our 2020 PitchFest Winner – MedStack!
We sat down (virtually of course) with MedStack’s Co-Founder and CEO, Balaji Gopalan. Here’s what he had to say about mastering pitches, attending SAAS NORTH 2020, and creating a winning company.
First, a bit about the company that claimed the winner’s title. MedStack is a proud champion of the digital health community, tackling the complicated world of healthcare privacy compliance to help innovators be successful and enable rapid deployment of digital health technologies.
MedStack’s turnkey privacy compliance platform automates many aspects of the healthcare innovator’s compliance journey to make selling into healthcare enterprise easier, faster and more affordable. Always an important aim, but even more so as healthcare entrepreneurs scramble to develop solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The company is one part development platform and one part a community,” says Balaji Gopalan, MedStack Co-Founder and CEO. “Technology entrepreneurship is a very gutsy journey – you need lots of tenacity and grease to pursue it. You have to be able to weather a lot of uncertainty.”
He talks about changing healthcare being one of the most daunting things you can do, citing an ageing system and the complexities of chronic conditions. COVID has put a whole new spotlight on it as well.
When inspired to create MedStack, Balaji and his team aimed to answer the questions: “How do we make it better? How do we make healthcare workers more effective? How do we make the patient experience better?”
The answer? MedStack removes the friction and acts as an enabler – allowing healthcare innovators to put their best foot forward by focusing their time, energy and resources on developing the aspects of their solutions that deliver real patient value.
MedStack decided to participate in Pitchfest 2020 because they are a start-up themselves and saw it as an opportunity to shine a light on its healthcare security solution at a time when the world needs it most.
“We hang around in start-up places to learn how companies find out what their USP is, how they are scaling their business, finding customers,” says Balaji. “SAAS NORTH is a big part of that conversation. Some of the best start-up ecosystems in the world are found in this SAAS NORTH community and right here in Canada.”
Balaji has attended SAAS NORTH for a few years and thought the Pitchfest was also a great chance to draw attention to their customers, with the philosophy that MedStack is a celebration of entrepreneurship.
Mastering the pitch
Pitching in a virtual environment wasn’t a problem for Balaji. They’ve been a remote company from the beginning, so he is very comfortable in that environment.
“Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to do this a few times in various settings. What everyone doesn’t predict, is the less time you have the harder it is,” advises Balaji. “You need to figure out how to tell your story in a couple minutes – realizing the details will be distracting. You don’t have time to make a case but you do have time to inspire people.”
Balaji took their standard investor deck, versioning it to the audience and what it needed to look like with only a few minutes to present.
He adds, “We really geek out on security, on regulations, on devops. Everyone can relate to the magical things we are able to do. The stories we love to tell are those of our customers. I just used my platform to thank them for what we are doing.”
There were takeaways from winning Pitchfest 2020, other than the obvious bragging rights and the $10,000 cash prize and up to $100,000 in cloud credits provided by Amazon Web Services; $10,000 virtual IP manager (VIPM) provided by Stratford Intellectual Properties; and $10,000 custom explainer video package provided by Simple Story.
“Any kind of material support we get from an event like this has tremendous value. In addition, there is an advantage to having exposure to a larger audience with great insight to give you feedback,” says Balaji. “There are always a million things I don’t know and I’m very happy to take that feedback. It’s a great chance to have conversations with people including a fresh set of conversations with people I knew.
“One of the things I love about SAAS NORTH is that it is very Canadian. We [MedStack] celebrate our wins and I think there is a lot to celebrate. We think about the role we play in the global society. I am always inspired by the entrepreneurs I meet and thank all the companies I work with. There are very cool things coming down the pipe.”