April 9, 2019
By: Matthew Kim (Co-Founder)
I think now we're really starting to feel some of the ups and downs of being a startup, but we're ready for more.
To start off, the holidays were particularly difficult for us because it put a stop to the hiring sprint that we were in, it had started in mid November and the hope was to have 2-3 people on board before the start of the Holidays. That was unrealistic and by the time we had some good candidates the holidays were right around the corner and it ruined the flow that we had with building up our candidates, all of the ones that I sent offers to declined saying that they were no longer interested. Since then it has been a constant learning experience where I'm going back and tweaking my questions, changing the way I explain certain things, and my overall ability to convince someone of what we're doing; I can say with confidence that if nothing else this has been a great opportunity to practice my pitch on all these candidates. Even now, 3 months later I'm still learning how to reel in a candidate and keep them engaged even though we're offering a part-time unpaid position with the hope of it transitioning into a full-time position.
While all that was happening in the background we finally had a chance to regroup in early January, it was at this point where we really start to shift focus and try to get other stuff done while I work on hiring in the background.
On the institutional side we were able to get a meeting scheduled with a local hospital where we could pitch a partnership through our connections at Seneca HELIX, because of this we spent a lot of time cleaning up our pitch as well as some of the resources that go with that. As a result we spent a lot of time fixing our timeline, financial forecasts, and cleaning up major components of the business plan. In the end we didn't get a partnership with the hospital but we did learn a lot about their process, as well as point us in the direction of some possible prospects to look into next; according to them it's not that the idea is bad but it's just not a good fit for their hospital because their current EHR system is very comprehensive, but it's always hard to tell if they're genuine and like it or polite and hate it.
One of the things that I'm proud of is the time it took to get the hardware prototypes out the door, there was some difficulty in communicating with the suppliers that are in China (through Alibaba) but we were able to get samples shipped out, tested, and now we've chosen who to go with. We also were able to pick out a PVC ID card printer in that time and have that sent over; so by early April we had our first major capital purchase. With those two combined we were able to print whatever we wanted and try them out on the various NATO wristband straps. I think we're going to be going with Black and White wristbands that are 14mm wide.
For marketing we started to lay the ground work to build off of. We started with creating a comprehensive marketing plan for our NexID consumer products, we plotted out the various marketing activities that we will be conducting but we also set a timeline for each of them so we know when it's appropriate to do which actions. A core part of this was creating our social media accounts and getting acclimated to everything, Mitchell and myself are not on social media so it was a learning experience for both of us, and I'm sure it will continue to be that. There's not much posted there now but we have our eyes on some useful tools to help manage the various accounts and we're looking at creating a social media content plan very soon.
This quarter was also very interesting for events. I had the opportunity to attend PitchItTo Markham in the YSpace, it was a relatively small event but it was my first time attending a pitch event aside from the innovation workshops that got us into HELIX. I learned some things from the pitches that I saw and implemented those changes in the newer version of our pitch, I think soon we should start competing in those pitch competitions. Another interesting event was our HELIXer Mixer, as the name suggests we worked with HELIX to organize an informal networking event, there are a lot of ventures that are separated because they have coaching on other days and different schedules so the goal was to connect those people. The event was pretty successful, there were around 20 people, some familiar faces but most were completely new people to meet. If you look at some of the first tweets from us you can see some embarrassingly bad selfies but we just rolled with it; all in all, it was a pretty fun event and we got some great cookies out of it too. The last event that we did was the Innovation Showcase at Seneca, it was a tradeshow that was meant to highlight the HELIX ventures and Applied research projects; there were not a lot of bites but we did meet some interesting people with some possibilities for collaborations in the future. Over the past quarter we've been doing a really good job of being very visible at HELIX, there are certain perks with that such as possibly being able to participate in the Discovery tradeshow in May; but I'm concerned that we're becoming too comfortable in the friendly Seneca environment and we're missing out on a lot of external opportunities that are outside of our comfort zone. In the coming months I want to put a greater focus on attending, and hopefully competing in other pitch competitions and participating in networking events such as Health TO.
I wasn't sure how long this was going to be but I can say that my unfiltered ramblings is much longer than I anticipated. Going to leave it for now but future updates will probably be more condensed.
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This is Matt, signing off.