MA: Scott tell us about the entrepreneurial landscape at the moment, where are the emerging opportunities?
SM: I would say biotech and health tech. Certainly from a biased perspective I would like to say health tech. But I think anything technology driven at the moment is big and is being fuelled by social media. Certainly the advancements in technology and the rate of tech change means that things that used to be something from a James Bond film is now available in people’s back pocket.
MA: Can you give me an example?
SM: In the field that I am focussed on is the advances from wearable technology to embeddable technology…
MA: Embeddable…you mean into the body?
SM: Exactly…in the next 3-4 years embedded technology whether that is an ear ring, swallowable or under the skin etc. and this will give us real time, valuable data. Oxygen saturation, endocrine levels, DNA stressors etc will all be measurable…imagine the data and insights to industry!
MA: How does this tie in, what are you working on now?
SM: Globetrekker Challenge, is a marriage between health and technology. It’s a business that is immediately and easily scalable and has global reach and business impact. Globetrekker is a team activity challenge built for the workplace in large employers based around a health currency.
MA: ok so imagine I am a CEO of a bank for example, why do I care? What business impact does it have for me?
SM: There are three points of ROI. For the CEO it’s going to ultimately improve either the productivity and/or the bottom line. It’s widely proven and understood that a healthier employee is more of an asset to a company; so they think clearer, they stay with the company longer, they are more productive, creative more supportive and they are a better player in the team environment.
So from that perspective we can quantify the value of input measured to productivity. On the flip side, we reduce the cost of an unhealthy worker through the programme.
Marketing CSR spend is often significant also and this technology is a facilitation tool for impacting social responsibility of the workforce. Lastly, from an HR perspective it’s a proven retention strategy.
MA: Where have you experienced traction for this solution both geographically and sector wise?
SM: Initially in the white collar sectors, banking and so forth and then more recently significant traction in the Indian BPO space and call centres. Industries with a high degree of sedentary job role. People in the sedentary jobs are only doing a quarter of the activity that they need to be healthy.
MA: What will be the biggest challenge facing you if this takes off?
SM: Our biggest problem is not delivery. We have that infrastructure ready.
The biggest issue is that our next innovation must be better than the last. If that doesn’t happen than the market place will view us as less valuable than we were. Our next iterations must keep enough distance between us and our lagging competitors. Period. It will be a technology challenge for us.
MA: Is this a health tech business or a big data and analytics tool?
SM: The vehicle is technology and health but the ultimate destination that we are looking to capture and understand is an entire population. And then we can delineate that by industry and by demographic. So our real value, which we will get through volume and time, is big data.
MA: How do you assess whether you have a winning concept?
SM: First of all don’t fall in love with your concept and think it’s the best thing out there. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to do that. We primarily look at scalability, technology that’s commercially available and ease of implementation.
We then went to the market and asked them what we could do with existing offerings to improve it and make it a no brainer purchase.
We needed that (no brainer purchase) as a benchmark because our offering is not business critical, it falls into discretionary HR spend. But if you invest then your business runs more efficiently, more seamlessly or more enjoyably – and that’s the positioning around our value.
MA: Disruption is everywhere now, do you have a framework that you apply or overlay to create a disruptive business model?
SM: Disruption is a buzzword; and when its boiled right down really means that you approach the same problem with a modified solution. Not necessarily a different solution. But the same solution just with different wrapping paper is not disruption to me. A different price is not disruption. As an example, we disrupted the health industry by introducing a technology to deliver a different and more valuable customer outcome and much cheaper.
I think the term is overused.
Here is the critical thing about being a disruptor; everyone has a level of inertia. So your level of disruption has got to overcome that inertia and be enough for them to see significant enough value in them changing than to sticking with the incumbent.
MA: Whereas many companies just do more of the same?
SM: Precisely and that’s not disruption.
MA: Where is the next smart money going?
SM: Drones! They will start off as a transport system from small consumer goods, through to big data and on to transport. I can see this decreasing the need for roads. Instead of having horizontal, I can see vertical highways.
Another critical need is water. Anything around smart tech solving the clean water issue is a good business.
MA: Do you have businesses in either of these two?
SM: Drones not yet, water yes; and a genuine game changer if we can pull it off. We have the technology!
MA: Sounds intriguing…best of luck with Globetrekker Challenge and your other ventures!
SM: Thank you