In episode 8 of this second season of For Starters (sponsored by Robinson Bradshaw), host Anil Chawla introduces the audience to the Co-Founder and CEO of Validic, Drew Schiller, who takes listeners though his journey of facing early challenges at the startup before eventually finding product-market fit. (Schiller was previously featured in a Download Q&A in 2021.)
Validic is a healthcare platform that allows personal data to be accessed and integrated into the systems of healthcare organizations, allowing for wellness monitoring. Originally intended to only help with weight loss, through rebranding and finding the correct customers, Validic was able to transform into a leading platform in healthcare.
Chawla and Schiller start from Validic’s beginning and its transition from being just an idea to actually being implemented widely and finding success.
- Having faced challenges with the original Validic product, Schiller said he recognized that as long as the team is resilient and prepared to keep improving, it does not matter how much the idea shifts: “I learned that it’s one thing to have a really good idea, but at that early stage, it’s better to bet on the team than it is to bet on the idea.” (14:42)
- By cold calling and cold emailing, Drew said that they learned how helpful it is to understand their business from the perspective of possible users: “Asking for feedback is golden when you’re just getting started, because people want to help, they want to give feedback, they don’t want to be sold to.” (22:12)
- Schiller said that after receiving feedback, they realized that they were marketing to the wrong customer, and decided to target groups that would specifically benefit from having their data: “What we learned is that our ideal client wasn’t actually the self-insured employer, it was actually the technology company that was building the engagement solutions that was selling to the large, self-insured employer that needed our data.” (25:15)
- When coming up with an idea for a startup, Schiller said that identifying issues that have not received all the answers yet is the first order of business: “When you’re starting a company, you’re trying to find a problem that exists for many people, but there’s no good solution for it now.” (35:42)
To hear the full show, listen (and subscribe!) below. And thanks again to our sponsor, Robinson Bradshaw.