Innovation is the essential ingredient of entrepreneurship. Success in the entrepreneurial world often hinges on the ability to innovate—to produce new ideas, offer better solutions, and pioneer new products. The most successful entrepreneurs are not simply the most diligent and courageous, they’re the most innovative. Stretching their innovative muscles, such exemplary entrepreneurs make effective use of technology and all resourcefulness to create an impact in the lives of people. They constantly re-imagine the business world in innovative ways and strive to make the world a better place through their efforts. One such innovative business leader is Kal Patel, M.D., CEO, and Co-Founder of BrightInsight, a leading global platform for biopharma &medtech regulated digital health solutions.
Innovation and the passion to deliver impact at scale have always been driving factors for Kal. In college, his interest in innovation pushed him to do medical research. While in medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, he started a new course around healthcare economics. In medical school, although he enjoyed the one-on-one interaction with patients, and the privilege to make a difference in people’s lives, he found inefficiencies at every turn – accessing medical records was a hassle, getting imaging results required trekking to the basement, and so forth. This was quite frustrating for Kal. So, he decided to make an impact by improving healthcare through technology. This further led him to work at Boston Consulting Group, and then in pharma at Amgen and Novartis, and digital health with Doctor on Demand, and, eventually, to starting BrightInsight.
A Trusted Digital Health Platform for Biopharma and Medtech
While working at Amgen, Kal realized the immense power of technology and what it could do in the life science sector. At that time, technology was clearly way out ahead of how it was being applied in healthcare. So, this was what he thought he could bring as an entrepreneur. And with a vision to bring this amazing technology into healthcare in an impactful way, he founded BrightInsight. Its mission is to improve healthcare and to transform patient outcomes globally by helping pharma and medtech companies accelerate time-to-market for digital health products, including apps, algorithms, medical devices, connected combination products, diagnostics, and Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), across therapeutic areas. “How do you find patients who are misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, or undertreated, and do that at scale? How do you drive improvement to folks’ adherence to their therapy, in a very personalized, more effective way? How do you enable personalized drug-dosing? How do you make it easier to monitor disease progression, or identify adverse events? These are all questions we help to answer at BrightInsight, collaborating with our clients to use digital technology to address these pain points,” elucidates Kal.
Pivoting through Challenges
Every venture goes through an acid test and BrightInsight wasn’t different. Initially, the company had to face several challenges to reach the pinnacle of success. One of the key challenges for BrightInsight was to earn the trust of its customers. Its customer base consists of the world’s preeminent pharma and medtech companies and it’s difficult to break in and earn their trust to be able to work with them. You must prioritize patient safety, regulatory requirements, security requirements, and privacy requirements and their standards are incredibly high, the room for error is incredibly low.
So, despite having decades of experience within the industry, it was still challenging for the founding team at BrightInsight to establish trust. However, the company understood the challenges and the requirements at a very granular level and overcame all the odds to show that because of its experience, BrightInsight is not an outsider looking to disrupt, but rather, it is enabling disruption with a real appreciation for what pharma can’t compromise on, around safety, privacy, security and so forth. “This isn’t a job for us. This is our life’s work. And that hustle has paid off. BrightInsight now boasts a customer list that includes many of the world’s leading biopharma and medtech companies including Novo Nordisk, Roche, Sanofi, CSL Behring among many others,” Kal notes.
In addition to a stellar client roster, Kal has led the company’s successful fundraising, securing a total of $166M USD from leading VCs including General Catalyst, Insight Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners and Eclipse Ventures. In the last two years, BrightInsight has tripled its valuation, doubled its headcount and has plans to continue expanding globally.
Guiding Aspiring Leaders
For Kal, entrepreneurship is about having an innate desire to see how things should and could be, versus how things are. It’s all about the art of the possible. “You have to see it, you have to believe it. You have to know. And then the work is building the path to that. But you already know the destination, and you have such deep conviction and belief that the destination is going to be a reality,” states Kal.
Sharing his knowledge and expertise, Kal advises aspiring leaders to deeply understand the problem they’re solving, and not just from a technology perspective, but the human perspective of their customers. “The technology piece is a critical part of it, but it’s not in itself sufficient for success. In our case, I just don’t think we would have been successful if we didn’t have a deep understanding of the industry we’re serving. To young entrepreneurs, I would say again, this can’t be your job. This has to be your passion,” adds Kal.
Chalking the Growth Ahead
BrightInsight’s success and growth can be traced back to its positive work culture that is driven by three core values. First is passion— it encourages people who are incredibly passionate about its mission, and really driving improvement in clinical outcomes. Second, it emphasizes having a real sense of accountability to solve the problem and third, it focuses on the “team first” approach. “We want people who understand the problem that needs to be fixed and will make sure the problem gets fixed. We fundamentally believe we’re going to either all win, or we’ll all lose. There’s no version of this in which some people in the company win, and some people don’t,” affirms Kal.
Keeping these core values at the cornerstone, the company aspires to become the de facto platform that pharma and medtech companies use to build regulated software solutions. “We measure our success not only by the amazing customer base we have built today but how our solutions will one day enable millions of patients and their families to live better, healthier lives. That’s really our mission, scaling the clinical impact of our technology to better patients’ lives,” concludes Kal.