From NC State to Changing the State of Health Information Networks, with Medicom Technologies’ Malcolm Benitz
Malcolm Benitz and his two co-founders Michael Rosenberg and Chase Ballard, while in the Entrepreneurship program at NC State, found a problem in medical information, and they were determined to fix it. With $5M in Series A and hundreds of clients, five years later, Medicom has made a difference for thousands of patients. Hear from Malcolm about how they did it.
Trevor Schmidt: Hello, and welcome to the Founder Shares Podcast. We’re so happy that you’ve chosen to spend some time with us. I’m your host, Trevor Schmidt. I’m an attorney at Hutchison law firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. We work with founders and entrepreneurs as they fight, grind, stress and push to bring their visions to reality. We are inspired by their incredible stories of success, failure, reworking and trying again.
We at Hutchison get to see this every day through our work, helping technology and life science companies start up, operate, get funded and exit, but we want to share some of these stories with you. So whether you already are an entrepreneur, have an idea that someday you want to start a business or are just fascinated by the stories of how a business goes from idea to success — or not such a success — this podcast is for you.
On the Founder Shares Podcast, we hear from founders and investors about the journeys, keys to their success, lessons they learned and their advice to others.
Today’s guest is Malcolm Benitz, Co-founder of Medicom Technologies, a company that provides a federated health information network connecting disparate silos of health data to help ensure that doctors and other patient care providers can have all the information they need to make the best and fastest decisions.
When a patient sees a doctor, it’s a huge pain point to get information from other providers in a timely manner. When Malcolm’s team at Medicom saw this problem, they decided to fix it.
Malcolm Benitz: We came across a tremendous challenge that was presented – you know, that we became aware of – that an oncology group was having by making sure that they could have access to a patient’s medical images and reports, and especially in oncology, I mean, oncology patients see a wide spectrum of providers throughout their episode of care, and the biggest challenge the oncology group was having was having access to that outside information. You know, they were utilizing archaic methods, such as faxing, they were burning images on CDs, they had hired couriers to actually transport these CDs between them and their partner sites, and then utilizing one off scenarios with cloud solutions, but they’re very similar as to like Dropbox where the only way you’re going to have access to that information is if the other provider uploads it for you and it created a tremendous burden on them to provide a higher level of care for those patients because, especially in oncology, they have to be able to interpret that information of their prior exams, their prior reports, and understand that to be able to do real analysis on that patient’s care and to provide the best decision moving forward for that patient. And so, that was a tremendous, the opportunity that we saw.
We saw it as really similar to the early days of the internet, right?
Trevor Schmidt: Malcolm and fellow co-founders Michael Rosenberg and Chase Ballard were still in college at NC State when they saw this opportunity. And the oncology group that Malcolm mentioned was Michael’s father’s group, so the three entrepreneurs had no actual experience in the medical field at the time. But today, Medicom is a 5-year-old company, has raised $6M in capital and works with over 350 providers throughout the country.
So, so let me make sure I got this right. You guys were sitting around in college and you’re like, “You know what? We can tackle this huge insurmountable problem for oncology right out of undergrad, right?” Is that, am I understanding that correctly?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. I mean, we really rolled up our sleeves and we really were adamant that we felt that that approach, with a federated model, was really the solution that healthcare needed to be able to have an interoperable way of having access to outside information. And it was something that even human health services has brought to light in recent years with meaningful use is the tremendous challenge.
You know, they’ve stated that one in 10 providers have access to the patient’s outside information and because of that lack of ability to have that insight, it’s actually accounts for about $525 billion of unnecessary expenses each year to our healthcare. And that is larger than the DOD’s budget. And so, that is really the tremendous drive that we saw was we can really tackle this tremendous inefficiency in healthcare and to drive up that value based care that our industry of healthcare in the United States has been moving towards in the recent years.
Trevor Schmidt: I mean, those are just kind of amazing figures and, and it just, I want to know kind of once you had this idea and I knew the problems out there, how do you get started? How do you go about tackling that, that big of an issue?
Malcolm Benitz: Yes. So my partner, Michael Rosenberg, he is from originally Tucson, Arizona, and his father was an oncologist. What we started doing was going out there and interacting with the providers in Arizona and to really start to see and understand and even get them to use the early stages of the, of the platform. And from there, you know, we focused initially on radiology because medical images were the biggest pain point of having access and sharing those medical images across providers. And so we initially focused on radiology and then, you know, providers needed the reports as well, so we expanded into reports. And then from there, we expanded to capturing a much wider bandwidth of the clinical information for that physician to have access.
Trevor Schmidt: Interesting. So in those early days, was it just you three founders part of the company or was it a bigger team and how did you, how did you start to grow?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. So we had Chris and Jason who were our first two developers as part of the team. And then what we really did was bootstrapped it, you know, that was in 2015, we went through the Citrix Innovators Program and then we did a angel note round in the summer of 2016, which allowed us to make a couple of additional hires to the team and really focus on building out the platform as well as growing out the health information network in the Southwest of the United States.
Trevor Schmidt: And so what were some of those early challenges that you had as a young company and as you started to grow?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah, I mean, in the early days, I would say balancing school that was probably – trying to walk out with a degree my senior year was definitely – it required a lot of balancing. Even after graduating NC State, you know, really for us was to grow the network was our biggest focus and you know, really the value of the network is in its participants.
And so, for us, it was making sure that we were providing the best service possible and understanding their workloads because we never want to create something that adds an additional step for them. We’re looking to automate as much of that process is. And so for us, we’re doing our analysis, understanding the customer, you know, really what the providers need to make them have the best tools at their disposal to provide the best care. As a young team, it was being a sponge, absorbing all that information and making sure that that came out in the end result when we implemented that their facility.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah. And I’ve got to imagine that working with large institutions, like a healthcare institution, and given the nature of the data that you’re dealing with, I mean, trust and security has to be a big issue.
How do you – as a young company, how do you get these big institutions to kind of trust you? And I don’t want to say, take a gamble, but just provide this information to a young company.
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. At the core Medicom is our technology that our health information network operates. It’s a peer to peer protocol, and so it provides a very secure method of transferring information, such as Phi, in a very secure manner where nobody has the ability to, you know, we’re not going through third party servers or utilizing cloud solution and storing that data. It’s a one-time, peer-to-peer tunnel and once that information has been delivered, that conduit is destroyed. That unique approach alone in being able to share information, started to capture the attention of some of the larger health systems in the Southwest. And as we were going through the security reviews, we were all of a sudden starting to get, you know, recommendations and referrals, and eventually led to, you know, the department of veteran affairs who, you know, were trying to find ways with the veterans choice act to share information with the private sector providers.
And we became the first FedRAMP authorized vendor to connect the private sector to the VA and sharing medical images.
Trevor Schmidt: Again, it’s just, it’s astounding to me, to kind of the number of hurdles that you would have to face it for this type of a company and how far you’ve come. And I’m sure it seems like a long time for you, but in a relatively short period of time, it’s just impressive and speaks to you and your team, I guess.
When was it for you that you felt like. You know, this is really taking off. This really could be something. Was there, was there a single moment that kind of gave you that hope or has it been just growing since for the company?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. So, from the very early stages, I was pretty adamant that this was something that was needed in healthcare and, you know, we wouldn’t have built this platform if we didn’t truly believe in what we were doing from the get go.
And so, really where the value started coming in is when we started to, you know, release it out and hearing the stories – the patients, and the providers, and the impact that we were providing – that really shed a lot of light onto it to hear how the relevancy of having access to health information right there at their fingertips, provided a husband the ability to spend additional hours with his wife before their oncology appointment.
You know, those key moments where instead he would have been spending, going around town, capturing all the CDs and all of the information from the different providers to take to the oncologists. Now, he could spend with his wife and, you know, that’s just one of several different instances of really hearing the impact of people.
And really, how is this impacting their day to day lives? It really fuels the fire.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah. I imagine, especially given the nature of people that you’re working with. I mean, healthcare decisions and the treatment decisions that are being made. I mean, it’s so critical to people.
Do you have any kind of stories or experiences of, of how Medicom has kind of helped doctors or healthcare providers make a better clinical decision because they had access to records that they didn’t have before?
Malcolm Benitz: Absolutely. We had a, a gentleman who his father-in-law needed to have a second opinion, and the second opinion was a challenge to get in New York City over the weekend, and he needed a second opinion, but he didn’t have really anybody to really contact.
And so he reached out to an old friend who was a doctor on the West coast and reached out to him and he says, “You know, I have Medicom in platform, you can go ahead and I can be able to have access to it. I can take a look at it and because of that access within moments, that allowed for his physician friend to actually then contact a hospital in New York City and get his father-in-law scheduled and lined up.
And it actually ended up striking a cord with that individual to the point that he actually reached out to the company and he became an advisor, participated in our seed round in the early days, and to this day is a great champion for us as a patient because he wholeheartedly believes that because of the platform we’ve added several years to his father-in-law’s life.
Trevor Schmidt: That’s just amazing. You start to get other people to believe in the company as much as you do, and as much as your founders, do it really speaks highly to the company.
Malcolm Benitz: Absolutely.
Trevor Schmidt: So were there any, I’m sure there may be, but were there any steps kind of early on that you wish you’d done differently or kind of looking back in hindsight, you’re like, “You know, if we have done X early on, we could be in a different position than we are today?”
Malcolm Benitz: You know, with the way that we’ve built, you know, the company and the platform we’ve learned through our experiences and it’s really strengthened us as a whole, reflecting back, that we didn’t be fully aware of is really the sales cycle in healthcare, and that was something that took us, you know, for us to get accustomed to with understanding the nuances of the health system from going through a security review and through the IT department, and then working with our operations team and getting budget approved, you’re talking about a sale cycle that is anywhere between 12 to 24 months.
And so for us, we brought in experts, you know, we hired individuals that were experts in their domain to really help build out the company and really to assess and make sure that we were attacking as the most effective means to make sure that we were continuing to grow the platform.
Trevor Schmidt: That’s great. Now, you’ve talked a couple of times about taking on angel funding or other funding, when did you decide as a company to start looking for outside funding?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. So, at the beginning of 2017, our health information networks started to grow, not just within Arizona – at that point, we had grown outside of Arizona into New Mexico, California, Texas, Florida – and we started realizing that, you know, this required more hands on deck and to really get us in a position as a health information network, we needed not just one or two, but several hands to be added to the team to really take it to the next level. And, well, that’s when we started to look out for a series A investment, and we initially were looking to raise about 3 million. We came across a local group here, and I felt that, you know, we were probably closer to 5 million is what we needed.
And it was a very fair terms that, you know, for us, we felt that it was a true partnership that we were entering into and, you know, we were able to really take that $5 million series A to hire these individuals that had years of experience within certain subsets of our business, you know, bringing in experts in HL7, you know, in the nuances of the EMRs, too.
And really understanding these archaic IT systems that we were interacting with and really take it to the next level and help now take it from not only the Southwest, but taking it to a national level.
Trevor Schmidt: Sure. What would you say you’ve learned through kind of the process of doing fundraising and closing your series A?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. Really the big thing that we learned throughout the process was really making sure that we had an understanding of not only that obviously the technology was there and the proof of concept, but really having a detailed understanding of exactly where we wanted to go and how we were going to achieve it.
I mean, I think that was one of the big things that we excelled at was knowing and being able to define exactly how we were going to take on a certain challenge. You know, with growing the network from the Southwest to the entire United States, it was the challenge that we saw that could not be achieved, you know, take quite a bit of effort internally to do, and that’s when we decided to grow our partner channel to our distribution partners to grow the network across several regions in the United States that they already had the relationships there in their local markets. They had the nuances and those kinds of points of being able to show exactly how we were going to get from point a to point B and how we’re going to utilize that capital to continue to grow the platform and the network, I think that really not only instilled and made up for our lack of gray hair, but we also built a great team around us that had the experience that we could rely on both from advise advisory board to, you know, the internal team here at Medicom.
Trevor Schmidt: Now, you mentioned the, kind of, making up for the lack of gray hair. Is that something that you’ve had to confront that as you’ve grown the company is, you know, you all are a relatively young group and kind of just getting started. Is that something you’ve had to overcome?
Malcolm Benitz: You know, it is something that – it really hasn’t been, you know, something that has been too much of a challenge because with healthcare, it’s all about validation and, and making sure that the services that you provide are actually at the end of the day, providing the value that was promised to the customer. And healthcare systems, if it’s going to really provide that value of service, they were really receptive to it. You know, they were really receptive to the new unique approach that we were taking on it, but really with how the level of detail with understanding their entire processes and doing an entire discovery, whether it’s a, a single hospital to a major IDN of almost 50 hospitals across several states, you know, getting into the understanding of all of their internal processes and where they’re facing unnecessary expenses.
But taking that level of detail and care, I think that really judge negated the, the age gap there that they typically see in healthcare, IT sales.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah. No, I think that makes sense. If you have technology that works and you as a company put in the work to show that you’re willing to take the steps that, you know, I’m sure it doesn’t matter what age you are, as long as you know, you get it done.
Malcolm Benitz: Yup.
Trevor Schmidt: Since you’ve taken on the investment, has it changed, kind of, your stresses or, or were you kind of just precious for your company or, or does it just create new opportunities for you? How do you view the, kind of, picking on the money?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah, you know, it definitely, you know, just, even from an organization perspective, really matured the processes, you know, from ambassador relations to the board of directors, as well as the opportunities. Five million really allowed us to grow the team to the size that we needed to build out the distribution partner network, to build out, you know, the platform and continue to build out these automation processes and building out that product suite.
That has really allowed us to take on the much broader challenge of now taking that initial Southwest market to a national scale. That was a tremendous value to the organization and really acted as a catalyst to bringing those necessary resources to get there. And so, for us, we’ve had a great relationship with the group of investors that came in in the series A, you know, we had an equity group here that came in and as well as the Wolfpack investor network. And so, the support from both groups have been tremendous and, you know, the mentorship and guidance has really helped, you know, navigate the waters as we continue to grow the business. And, you know, we’re excited with how everything is unfolding and, you know, really looking forward to the next steps as a company.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah. And so what do you see? You know, you keep talking, you talk about kind of expanding the network kind of outside of the Southwest more nationally, but where do you see Medicom maybe in five years or even a shorter runway than that?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. You know, for us, we have really grown the platform itself and really automated a lot of the processes so that, you know, if a patient is being discharged and now going to see a specialist, all of that information automatically is already at that physician’s internal systems, being able to automate and do patient matching reconciliation for records coming into a health system so that nobody’s manually typing that into the EMR, or being able to link as an external media within Epic or Cerner. And not only is it automating those processes, but now taking that and being able to provide the insight necessary also for research. One of the big things that, you know, we’ve really built out over the last year is, you know, taking that search functionality of relevant clinical information and, you know, utilizing that for research, you know, one of the biggest challenges with AI in healthcare right now is having access to longitudinal data sets to be able to conduct machine learning and understanding trends. And, as AI is developed, you know, it’s such a heavy reliance on that relevant, you know, longitudinal data sets provide AI that’s going to be helpful and relevant for physicians and patients to help not only diagnose, but also throughout their journey of care. And, you know, we took that search functionality and, you know, we allow researchers and, and clinical groups rather than spending months trying to manually proactively capture these cases that match their criteria and spending a fortune in an inefficient process of capturing the data that takes years to, to really curate, we provide the ability for them to search for specific cases, exactly to what they’re looking for in their research, and we then basically run a federated search for all the opted-in data that’s the identified. So it’s not identifiable information, and then they can use for research initiatives, and that cuts down their research time tremendously, cuts out quite a bit of ineffective costs associated to it, but it also really drives the final product of what they’re working on, whether it’s a pharmaceutical drug or AI, now by having that longitudinal on understanding and understanding of the trends, their final product and go-to-market is much greater than what it was prior.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You gotta have the, you know, the size of the data in order to do the research that they’re looking to do. So what are, what are some of the big hurdles to, kind of, accomplishing that goal or reaching that point where you have a big enough network to have that valuable data?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the biggest things is really understanding the curation of the data and, you know, having the leverage of the help of existing health information networks, and then being able to take that information and be able to deposit it into the researcher’s environment, exactly in accordance to specs of how they have historically looked at the data, you know, for the last 10, 15 years that their AI division has built out. And so, it’s always a learning process as we implement across new research groups and pharmaceutical companies to be able to provide that insight. And so, for us, it’s now looking out into further years of, OK, if we can be able to provide this level of understanding, now, really, how can that really drive value for the patient because at the end of the day, everybody, all parties involved from the health plans, the providers, the researchers, the end result is to improve the outcome of the patient throughout their journey.
And so for us, that’s always what ties us back to is, you know, how does this help the patient? How can we utilize our platform and suite of products to ensure that the value of care is continuously improved upon and try and drive that efficiency, not only here in the United States, but also across all other parts of the world where they are seeing the same challenges.
Trevor Schmidt: Yeah. That’s fascinating. And you know, we live in, as we all know, pretty unprecedented times right now, just both given the pandemic that’s going on and the state of the economy. How has, how has that impacted Medicom and how, how have you responded to it?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. You know, that’s a great question. With COVID-19 really the challenges of having access to outside relevant information for health systems, hospitals only heightened.
It is now more critical than ever. As you know, they’re seeing an influx of patients in the ED being able to have relevant access to information, to be able to adequately address that patient’s symptoms and understanding their background, and then, you know, if they are testing positive for COVID-19, they’re getting CT scans and getting that diagnostic data, whether it’s to the labs or if they’re being transferred to another ICU, you know, being able to provide that information real time. That is something that we’ve worked diligently over the last a few months to ensure that, you know, these hospitals – they already face a lot of pressure with COVID-19, it’s something that they’ve never seen before, and we’ve really rolled up our sleeves trying to make it as smooth of a process as possible capturing this outside information so that they can get to what they do best and that’s taking care of the patient.
And so, that’s really been the focus on health systems and then the outpatient centers that haven’t seen a really solid, quite a bit of a drop off from outpatients visits, we’ve worked with them to ensure that, you know, we could work on different projects and making sure that we can continue to build out these platform suites for them to ensure that they’re capturing the value. Since they’re not seeing as many patients, it’s been a great opportunity to work with the directors there at those facilities to continue building out their workflows. But, at the end of the day, you know, with COVID-19, we’ve really worked and so as everybody, you know, within the Medicom broader organization, you know, the distribution partners to really address where we can and help alleviate these health systems that are facing a tremendous challenge treating these patients.
And if that – we can assist by providing that relevant information so they can focus to the patient, we’re all in on it. And.That’s what we’ve been focused on and really growing those health systems that really require that need, even if they’re under emergency use operations and the budget’s frozen, we didn’t hold back.
It didn’t matter for us. It was not driven from a financial means. It’s never has, and it never will be for us. It’s the value of the journey of care. And we wholeheartedly believe in that and you know, COVID-19 allowed us to really demonstrate and put, you know, rubber meets the road stand by our, our values.
Trevor Schmidt: I was gonna say, it sounds like to me that COVID-19 hasn’t necessarily been a, a barrier or interference for the company, but rather more of an opportunity to demonstrate again, what you can provide for these healthcare institutions, how you can contribute to care.
Malcolm Benitz: That’s exactly right. And it has really amplified, you know, the, the need across these organizations to have that access to outside patient information.
Because myself, I went to a local hospital here, not, luckily, in the last couple of months, but it was a couple of years ago here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I went to a local hospital, and I had severe abdominal pain and they had asked, “How did I know what my initial prognosis was?” I was telling them what my opinion as somebody who does not have a license, but based off my own history, I was being able to provide them some context and they asked where I had been. What was the last hospital that I’ve been at? And I couldn’t remember, and then finally, after, you know, 20, 30 minutes, I remembered it was a hospital in Greensboro. Not a worry, they have an Alliance, they can have access to information. Two hours go by, and they still did not have access to the relevant information that they needed.
And so they had no visibility, so I had to go in still into the, into the imaging department and get scans. And, you know, they operated in the dark of understanding, you know, what is the cause for it, how to treat it, and eight hours later when I left the ED, they still had no idea. I had to come back to see a specialist the following day, and they never were able to obtain my information from an outside hospital.
And if, at that time, they had Medicom. You know, they could have had access to all of my relevant information. I wouldn’t even have to recal where I went and I would have been out of that hospital within 30 minutes. And my insurance bill, instead of being almost $50,000, would have been just a few thousand dollars and the insurance would have picked it, you know, the entire thing up.
But it just goes to show you the inefficiencies of not having that relevant information, both from an expense side, but then also from a patient experience.
Trevor Schmidt: Well, I mean, I think it’s fascinating because you highlight so many of the problems with the historic system. They’re having to rely on your own personal memory to remember where you went, who the doctor was that you saw, then having find that information, get that from one place to another, you know, for, you know, hopefully us with it with good memories that may be one way to do it, but if you’re, you know, you’re coming in for a problem where you can’t remember where you’ve been, even the last few hours, how are you going to be able to provide that information about your medical records or if you’re unconscious in an emergency room department, how you can provide that information. So, again, just speaks to that, the problem that you’re solving.
Malcolm Benitz: Absolutely.
Trevor Schmidt: So did you always imagine yourself in this type of a role?
Malcolm Benitz: Well, for me, it was being an entrepreneur and even in middle school when we were going through careers class and understand where we want to be, even then I remember saying that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and really start my own company.
Meeting Michael and Chase allowed for that opportunity, for that goal and dream, to become a reality. And it’s, it’s been a pleasure to work with them. You know, Michael, he’s currently is the company CEO and Chase is our chief product officer to Jason, who’s our chief architect and, and Chris, our chief technology officer.
So it’s been a pleasure to work with them and really see something that I’ve always wanted to do, just as they have, to become really a reality. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Trevor Schmidt: So how has that been kind of starting off with three founders, how have you kind of from the outset made big decisions or kind of shaped the direction of the company?
Is that something that’s always flown really easily together? Or is it, or is it something that you’ve worked to kind of develop a systems and structures?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. You know, that was something that, you know, we’ve from right out the gate, you know, we’re three equal partners and, you know, we’ve always evaluated very strategic business decisions as a team.
And it’s something that, you know, we hold really close to, you know, ourselves and our counterparts that our relationship is something that we hold to very high degree. And by maintaining that level of, of the relationship amongst the three of us, it has really been a phenomenal experience because we have heard before, you know, having three co-founders can be a bit of a challenge.
And, but for us, it really wasn’t because the three of us have such a, a unique personality that we all kind of counterbalance each other. And so it’s, it really works out really well. And it couldn’t have been planned out better.
Trevor Schmidt: That’s fantastic. So is there an entrepreneur or, kind of, somebody who has really shaped your vision of technology or what you want to see in a company, somebody that you look up to?
Malcolm Benitz: Yeah. You know, I wouldn’t say necessarily on the technology front, but I think more as a, as a leader, obviously somebody who is fresh out of college, there’s an age discrepancy between somebody who has been in the industry that you bring on to the team and, you know, they have kids your age. And so it’s a position that a lot of people, you know, right out of college are not put in that position, so it requires a very unique thought process in a way to conduct yourself that, you know, not many people share in that experience. And, you know, the person that has really been a mentor in that aspect has been, you know, my father and my father has spent his entire career in pharmaceutical R and D and regulatory affairs, and he’s been in leadership positions and really has helped provide a really, almost an advisor role as to how to conduct myself and how to lead a team and how to really energize a team that otherwise, from the outside looking in, may look bleak, but, you know, really have a really bright lit fire within the team.
And, you know, really drive forward to meet that objective. I mean, a lot of that has come from him. And, you know, I individually would not be where I am today, if it wasn’t for him. And you know what, he’s been able to really help grow myself both personally and professionally.
Trevor Schmidt: That’s great. Well, is there a one piece of advice or something that kind of stands out in your mind that he’s given you that you think of often?
Malcolm Benitz: You know, really listening first and then speaking and really leading by example, you know, it really comes into play as you’re building a small team, you know, to really hear the differences of different potentials options on the table, on which way to approach it.
And then, you know, even assessing it, the situation, whether it’s with the customer or internally and making sure that all sides are heard and really coming to a formal, educated, decisive decision, and then standing by it. And that alone really instills confidence because you’re taking an unbiased approach into a situation and assessing it rather than jumping the gun and, and really having it as a shooting from the hip mentality.
And so that has really been probably one of the biggest pieces is, you know,being a leader in an organization and growing a startup is, you know, really conducting oneself and ensuring that you’re really instilling those leadership values and instilling confidence with the team and the customers.
Trevor Schmidt: So, you know, this is our podcast is the Founder Shares podcast, and so I’d like to ask if there’s any advice that you would share with someone who is thinking about starting a company, or has recently started a company, what would you tell them? What’s some advice that you would offer them?
Malcolm Benitz: First and foremost is assessing what you’re building and what you’re working on, and really making sure that there is value out there and that you’re addressing a specific problem with the customer.
You know, that was one of the things that we first did was we looked and saw, “OK, radiology is very specific,” and focused on that niche and built out from there. You know, we were very driven to the detail, and I think that they need to really hear out the customers and hear out their audience of how they can provide that value.
I mean, we do that everyday. We’ve got a medical advisory board that also is physicians and consultants that provide input as well on our products and our functionalities and our entire product suite. And to really be open to hearing that feedback and, you know, making sure that they’re making the right assessment of what’s worth it as an organization.
And at times they’re going to hear no, either that they’re not experienced enough or that they don’t have, you know, the, what it takes to really take it to the next level. If you have that market and you see the challenges and what you can really provide, go for it. I mean, that’s the biggest thing is whether it’s fundraising or from previous accelerators. When we first started applying to, you know, we heard those same things and, you know, we didn’t let that, you know, really affect our vision of the company and really our pathway of what we saw to really address these issues. And they’re going to face that, don’t get discredited. Don’t get burnt out by it, go two feet in if you’re going to do it and stand by it because it’s all worth it, because at the end of the day, you know, you know best with your own platform, what you’re applying to the audience. And if your gut is saying, “Go for it,” then do it. You know, that’s probably the, the one thing that I can give to those that are listening is don’t give up. You know, it’s a famous NC State with Jimmy V don’t ever give up.
Trevor Schmidt: I love it. That’s a perfect way to end it right there. So I appreciate it, Malcolm. Thanks so much for taking the time out and I appreciate your willingness to come on and talk to us about your experiences.
Malcolm Benitz: Absolutely. Thank you, Trevor.
Trevor Schmidt: That was Malcolm Benitz, co-founder of Medicom (Trevor, LinkedIn says CEO until December, but it’s not updated to new title. Not sure we leave it as co-founder or if we should add current title, which may have changed since recording). You can find more about Medicom by visiting Medicom.us.
Thank you for listening. If you missed our first two episodes, with Bob Freedman from SimpleAuctionSite.com and Karl Rectanus from Learn Platform, they’re available wherever you get your podcasts. And while you’re listening, leave us a rating and review. That helps others hear these startup stories, and we may even share your review in an upcoming episode.
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This show was edited and produced by Earfluence.
I’m Trevor Schmidt, and we’ll talk to you next time on the Founder Shares Podcast!
Founder Shares is edited and produced by Earfluence.