In 2017, Hannah Burrows and Jay Shah set out to solve a problem that takes up hours of dentists’ time and designed a platform to automate clinical note-taking.
Some five years on and Kiroku is going from strength to strength. Jay and Hannah chat to Payman about the challenges of starting out and their vision for Kiroku’s for the future.
In This Episode
01.20 – Kiroku
07.20 – Meeting and incubation
11.56 – Early days and getting feedback
17.07 – Dentistry Vs changing the world
20.42 – Influence and impact
22.42 – Day to day running
25.44 – Motivation
28.36 – The mom test
33.14 – Scale, pricing
40.12 – Future vision
43.17 – Blackbox thinking
47.18 – Weaknesses
53.13 – Mistakes
55.06 – Investors
56.55 – User stories
58.14 – Backstory
01.03.21 – Exit dreams
01.04.56 – Last days and legacy
01.07.43 – Fantasy dinner party
About Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah
Dentist Hannah Burrow and machine learning engineer Jay Shah are founders of Kiroku automated note-keeping platform.
[00:00:00] We knew an awful lot.
[00:00:02] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just built something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise just by listening to people and watching the media, we learnt so much. Yeah. So the first two years was pretty slow. I think we had a to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks, I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there. There’s this big snowball effect from that point and.
[00:00:28] And like I think I’ve said this before, but I just I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like, we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.
[00:01:02] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[00:01:20] Gives me great pleasure to welcome Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah onto the podcast. Hannah and Jay are co-founders of Karaoke, a platform, a platform that aims to save dentists time by kind of writing their notes for them as it listens to what they say. Sounds crazy and impossible. But I first met Hannah something like three years ago when she was pretty much starting this business. I guess you were one year in, and when she said it to me the first time, I thought, this can’t can’t be real. And now it’s a fully fledged business. So lovely to have you both.
[00:01:58] Lovely to be here. And I’ve got one slight, slight a caveat there, which is we no longer actually focus on the voice technology. We do actually automate record keeping. Everything else was was right. But we do it through kind of different technology these days. So one, one, one change over the years.
[00:02:19] To what you do now.
[00:02:21] So now Kyriacou learns from how you’re entering your notes, what you’re doing over and over again. And then it makes suggested changes to your to your crew who workflows based on that. So it is learning to the individual over time and it allows the dentist into the notes in a really easy kind of clickable way. But it’s also doing all of that learning in the background.
[00:02:44] So what happened with voice? Was it too complicated?
[00:02:47] So it was actually kind of a variety of different reasons. I think the thing that I was always kind of awestruck by was the quality of the technology that Jay built. And I say Jay because I had nothing to do with it early doors. But I think the thing that we actually found really challenging was in a loud clinical environment like dentistry, where you’ve got the chair and aspiration and everything going on. It was so, so difficult to get good quality audio through and therefore actually any, any cool technology you built was was reliant on that. And then that was kind of one area of challenge and then another area was each dentist, even if we’re kind of following a similar flow, still has a unique way of doing things. Might use certain acronyms and a certain structure, so it needed to be a little bit customised to the individual. And so we created the platform that allowed that. And as soon as we did that, our dentist just found that with this kind of really clickable, easy to use workflow, they actually didn’t need the voice anymore. So it became something that our user users led us away from.
[00:03:51] Voice Yeah, we realised there’s a huge element to, I guess control of your notes where with the voice system you didn’t have full control because it was almost like magic in the background. And there’s a huge trust element that if your notes aren’t perfect 100% of the time, then you start to take away the trust and they start reviewing their notes. And that takes even more time than writing them from beginning. And with this new way, it’s completely their input and what they want to have.
[00:04:17] To walk me through it. I’m going to do a Crown Prep. What happens next? I’m going to write my notes at the end. Right. You go. Yeah.
[00:04:25] Well, because everything is kind of clickable and you’ve already got this structure for your note entry. You all actually your nurse can just go through and knows what needs to be filled in. So one or either of you will just go through and click the relevant things. And the example might be, okay, so you’re doing a Crown Prep on an Upper Six, let’s say. So automatically you could make an assumption that you’re going to use a certain type of LA, you’re not going to be doing an ID block, you’re going to be doing an infiltration. So it’s able to then populate that information for you. So rather than you having to type all of this information, make these decisions, it’s just guiding you through that.
[00:05:05] So go on, though, literally. Walk me through it.
[00:05:08] Okay, fine. So you’ve got okay, you’ve got a clickable option for a patient has got no complaints medical history you select no change tooth that we’re treating today X risks that we’ve been through and you can click through as many as irrelevant.
[00:05:23] They’re already there.
[00:05:24] Already that exactly so you don’t have to think because everything is there for you. And then let’s say that you are routinely using a certain material, using a certain lab. It will learn that for you. So we’re doing a restoration on a posterior tooth. You only use Emacs, so then it’s going to input that in for you when you’re doing an immaculate only using X lab. Okay, it’s input that for you. So you’re not having to go through and think all of these things that yes, are very repetitive but still take your brainpower. And so this is just so easy. You click through and notice it would take minutes. Take seconds with Heroku.
[00:05:59] Yeah. And everything’s customisable. So if a dentist prefers one way and another dentist prefers another, they can customise their templates and the system will learn over time to make it more and more personal to them.
[00:06:10] And then how do I input that into my software programme?
[00:06:13] You don’t need to. So we’ve kept it as simple as possible so it runs in Google Chrome. This doesn’t need to be a practise wide decision. You just open Google Chrome, you go to the website and you’re able to do your full notes on Google, and then you’re able to just export it into the text box of whatever Dental software you’re using.
[00:06:30] We’ve got a button on one platform. You click that button and it’ll copy it to your clipboard.
[00:06:35] And you see like a copy and paste.
[00:06:37] Yeah, exactly.
[00:06:38] Perfect. Actually, quite sort of the simplest thing.
[00:06:41] Yeah, exactly. We’ve kept it simple because funnily enough, it’s just not something that actually causes our dentist’s much of an issue. So we’ve kept things as simple as possible so that the dentists, the autonomy of whether they want to use a new software, whereas if we create creating integrations and things like that, it has to be a practise wide decision and that can be limiting to me.
[00:07:02] Back to what were you doing, Jay, before you met Hannah or where did you guys meet in the first instance?
[00:07:07] So yeah, we met about five years ago now. I was at university, in fact, so I studied computer science. I was here in London and then I went to study Natural Language Processing, which is an arm of artificial intelligence, where they focus on language and how machines understand language. And then after I graduated, I was trying to figure out what to do in my life. I had a few options for carrying on for a PhD or to had a few offers at banks and like bigger firms. And then this programme came along called Entrepreneur First. That’s where I met Hannah actually.
[00:07:38] And yeah, so an accelerated programme just for context is a programme that you can go through where they provide you with individuals who’ve exited large companies before, basically people who’ve done it before, and they can provide mentorship to starting a business, particularly sort of tech technology businesses. And if they believe in you as you go through this programme, they’ll provide investment for you as well. But the most important thing is they actually find 80 other individuals who want to start a company and have got these very interesting backgrounds. So you actually have the opportunity to meet people who you might start a business with. And so yeah, that’s where, that’s where we met. Yeah.
[00:08:18] So I guess I got quite lucky there because I met in the first few weeks, I knew nothing about the industry at that point and Hannah provided me kind of all the realms of dentistry. And how about how dentists hate taking notes? And I think that’s a huge part of it. As a patient, you don’t really see you don’t see all the background work, all the screen facing stuff when you are a patient, but also what happens at lunch time and off the work. And then I was quite lucky that I focussed on a similar problem at university and yeah, we put the two together and we started working.
[00:08:48] So that’s like they call it an incubator. Is that what that is?
[00:08:52] Yes, exactly.
[00:08:54] So then they give you funding as well as know how.
[00:08:57] Yes, exactly. Is that what happened? They don’t. Yes, that is what happened. So they don’t kind of promise to fund everyone. But if they if they believe. Yes, exactly. Then then then they will fund it.
[00:09:10] And so, you know, you went into that with the idea.
[00:09:14] Yes. Actually, no, because I went in with just a knowledge of certain areas of inefficiency within dentistry. And honestly, the thing that I was focussing on when I first applied for the programme was actually quite different. It was a way how could you provide consistent preventative advice to patients when we’re not actually kind of incentivised financially as dentists to do that? That’s what I was thinking about is kind of the area of inefficiency. And actually then I went through the process and I realised two things. Number one, that isn’t that meaty a problem to solve. And then the other thing was actually that wasn’t the biggest problem. And I went and interviewed so many dentists and what, you know, what is the biggest problem? And, and I was so biased to the answer as well because they were saying, oh, it’s note taking. I spend so much of my time doing no taking. I hate it. And I was like, Are you sure it’s not giving positive advice? And they were like, No, no, it’s definitely no, it’s not like, okay. And it took interviewing so many different dentists for it to finally drill into my numb skull. And that is kind of the the as we came to the problem and also by that point as well and you knew Jay’s area of research and so I knew that there was actually a solution to it. So it very much was born out of the kind of environment that I discovered that in as well. And meeting Jay.
[00:10:36] To be honest, even when he told me about the problem, I still didn’t believe it. And we did a survey, I think, to about 200 dentists to ask how much of their time did they actually spend taking. They came up with much higher than I expected, 20% of the day.
[00:10:50] 25% of the day.
[00:10:51] When you were adding it up from there, I.
[00:10:52] Couldn’t believe it. I can believe 25%.
[00:10:55] Yeah. So it was significant.
[00:10:58] The thing is, around the time you guys started, when was that 2018 or something?
[00:11:02] 2017, actually. End of 2017? Yes.
[00:11:05] 20 around that time was when when it became that you had to write essays for your notes.
[00:11:11] And when I was a dentist, it was literally, you know, two lines and that was that. Yeah, actually, I bet abroad it’s like that too. Which limit the size of your market a little bit.
[00:11:22] Surprised actually it’s it’s.
[00:11:25] Actually in some country more.
[00:11:27] Widespread of an issue and increased like all countries seem to be going in that direction as well that it’s getting increasingly litigious and they have to write more and more detail within their loans.
[00:11:38] Yeah, I get it. So, so then so have you done other languages or is that not yet?
[00:11:43] So actually we’ve had our dentist translate it into different languages themselves. So we’ve got German dentists. We’ve got Danish dentists on the platform, but they’ve actually just gone through the Heroku workflows and they’ve translated it for themselves, which is pretty cool.
[00:11:56] Oh, nice. And so when was it from the moment you two met to the moment you got your first customer? How many how long did that take?
[00:12:05] So. I like customers. My first customer here so we.
[00:12:08] Don’t pay some painful price.
[00:12:10] Yeah. So I guess our first non-paying customers in a couple of weeks and that was for that initial voice product. And then I’d say our first actual customer that was paying us.
[00:12:19] Actually the first I don’t think I should say the name because I don’t know if I’m allowed to, but it’s someone who’s been on this, on this podcast, who was our first paying customer and who was loyally supported us from the get go.
[00:12:31] I think.
[00:12:31] That’s the name.
[00:12:33] I do know. I don’t know if they would be annoyed.
[00:12:35] Go. Can’t say the name and then we’ll edit it out.
[00:12:37] If it’s fine. It’s Martin one day.
[00:12:39] Oh, really? Yeah.
[00:12:41] I’m next, in fact, as well.
[00:12:42] Actually, I’m not completely, completely. Both of them. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.
[00:12:47] Actually, they did.
[00:12:49] That in 1980.
[00:12:52] Yeah. So because we were spending all that time focussing on voice and because it was so difficult to get that product to a point where people could actually use it effectively. Really? We didn’t start any proper commercialisation until we had the product as it is now. So that was more like 2019. 2020.
[00:13:10] So so in that period where you have no customers and you’ve got I guess a team of developers, right? It’s not just you is it. I mean it must be low.
[00:13:20] Gravity versus not. Yeah.
[00:13:22] Yeah. Then, you know, did you get the points where you were running out of money and runway and all of that or I mean, is that your side hammer raising money?
[00:13:32] Yes, I suppose it’s both of ours. But yeah, I think we’ve we’ve been through a we’ve raised money a couple of times and actually, no, we’ve never been like dangerously close to running out. We’ve been extremely lucky in that we’ve got people who believe in us as people. And I think that’s ultimately what it comes down to, because when you’re that early in a business, they’re not investing in metrics or anything like that. They just do. These people seem like people who are actually going to do what they say they will. And so the thing that was most challenging, I would say, in that time was without any feedback from customers, you’ve got no you’ve got no understanding of whether you’re spending your time on the right thing. And I think motivating yourself when you’re getting no positive or even negative feedback, that that was the most difficult and challenging time of growth for me when we were putting effort into something and not understanding it was just like shooting in the dark.
[00:14:24] Yeah, I’ve been there. I know how that feels. And you know, there’s things like what they call it, they call it product market fit, right? Where you’ve got this brilliant product and the market just doesn’t want it or the price is wrong or or whatever it is. Did you know from the beginning that it was going to be like the SAS model?
[00:14:46] I wouldn’t say we knew. We knew an awful lot.
[00:14:50] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just felt something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise like just by listening to people and watching the media product, we learn so much. Yeah. So the first two years is pretty slow. I think we had attempt to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there was this big snowball effect from that point.
[00:15:16] And, and like I think I’ve said this before, but I just, I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.
[00:15:45] But they haven’t randomly been contacting you, have they? I mean, it’s part of your process to contact them and get the feedback right?
[00:15:52] Absolutely. I mean.
[00:15:53] I think it’s a bit of both really. So for example, last week we’re at the Media Showcase and so many of our customers just came up to us and some of them were asking us if we can log into their account. So they want to show us specific parts that they they’ve built on our platform. Some just want to give us see about there and then. So yeah, it is a bit of both. Yeah. I think the part that we can control is how we take that feedback and what we do with it.
[00:16:16] And I think also trying to I mean, I always try if I’m speaking to a dentist who you need to scroll you to make it absolutely clear that we want this feedback so that they know that it’s well received if they’re giving it. And I hope that helps.
[00:16:31] You do fine once you only find customers that once you act on their feedback, they’re willing to give more. Because I think they know changes. Change will happen. Yeah.
[00:16:39] Yeah. Very true, man. Very true. I remember once early on, Enlightened, someone said something about our leaflet. I think it was.
[00:16:47] And I changed it and he came back to me and said, you know, anyone who’s ever listened to my feedback. And he became one of the key guys, actually, Julian Holmes, who unfortunately passed away. One of the key guys who used to give me advice in the. It’s early days. Tell me, Hannah. You know, you could have just been a dentist. Yeah, like, you know, wet fingered dentist. What made you go on this particular tangent so early in your career?
[00:17:20] It’s such a good question, and one I don’t have a very neat answer to because I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m not a full time dentist. I did dental school. I did my love dentistry. Like, no part of me is not doing dentistry because I don’t enjoy it. But I think.
[00:17:39] When you study.
[00:17:41] Bristol, Bristol.
[00:17:42] Bristol Dental School and then did my feet in central London and did my teeth at Barts. So I’ve been in London for a while now. I think there was a couple of things where I could just see that things were being done in a really inefficient way. And I think, again, to go back to your point of that was the time when the notes became kind of essays. I think I was graduating in a time when that was happening, and we were constantly being given lectures from indemnity companies or from our from our university, saying that basically the message was no amount of detail you’re going to include is enough. You’re going to get sued. So just buckle up and write down.
[00:18:21] It didn’t happen. All of that.
[00:18:23] Yeah, exactly. All of that. And I think that just that just like put me into a work environment that was always more stressful because it just felt like either you were prioritising patient care or you were prioritising looking after yourself from a legal perspective. And I think that kind of frustration or resistance is what led me to think surely there’s a better way of doing certain things.
[00:18:50] And then here but Hannah, I mean, every single dentist is frustrated with some aspect of that. You know, I don’t need to tell you. Oh, wow. Bloody Matrix Band is ridiculous, isn’t it? So ridiculous, right? The fact that that hasn’t been I mean mean we all get frustrated every day. I get frustrated with almost every day. I’m frustrated with this microphone right now. But it takes the type of person to, you know, get up and do something about that. I mean, what was it in your sort of outlook on life that said, I’m I’m going to change the world? You know.
[00:19:28] I definitely I couldn’t possibly say that. I was like, I’m going to go out and change the world. I think what I did think was this feels like there’s something that could be exciting here and something that is going to I’m going to expand myself as a human, even if in six months I’m going back to dentistry. And I also thought and honestly, this is my entire journey with career. I’ve always been like, you know what? I’ll do this for three months. And then when I fail that, I go back to dentistry and it’s all good. And that’s genuinely and then, you know, when I actually met Jane, we had a company, I was like, okay, cool, we’re going to do it for another six months and then we’ll see what happens. And it’s just extended because I genuinely felt if I don’t do something different now, I’m never going to do it because then I’ve got a dental salary and it’s a double edged sword because it’s so well paid. So it’s addictive. Exactly. And if I don’t do this, I’m going to get a mortgage and then I can never make this decision to do it. So I was like, I’m going to do it now. I’m going to see. And I think the thing that actually drove me to do it and this can make me sound quite selfish, was not I’m going to change the world. It was I want to I want to widen my own skills. I want to learn more about myself. And so that was kind of a thing that pushed me towards.
[00:20:42] You had an influence, though. I mean, you must have had an influence on you, whether it was a friend or family or, I don’t know, some famous businessman. You must have been influenced by.
[00:20:52] Something, I think. I don’t come from a family of doctors or dentists. I come from a family of technologists. So my parents are retired programmers. My brother works at Google. My other brother’s an actuary. So I think I was I was like, okay, there’s different things out there. And and I also got all the reasons coming out now, but I also did a year of public health. My role had a mix of public health. And I think that just gave me a view of, okay, this changes that you can make that actually affect hundreds of people rather than an individual, like doing an individual feeling for an individual person. And I think that was also something that was slightly addictive that I was like, Okay, yeah, exactly. What can I do that causes a bigger impact? Perhaps that was an element of it as well.
[00:21:38] Jay, what about you? You could have gone and worked in Google or whatever with your skills. What made you go down the entrepreneurial sort of Start-Up route?
[00:21:46] Yeah, kind of similar to how to be honest. It’s poor people selfish to improve my skills, I would say I always go back and get a job and that was something that entrepreneur first convinced me on. They said, If you really want job, go in six months and get one. You might as well try this out. And I think I’ve always been interested in the entrepreneur part. So I started a few. I was in very small business as well as at university, at school, and then I thought, This is great, this is fine. And I think I would particularly like a project like Out of Hand. I think when I started it was, you know, Yeah, we’re just having fun, let’s see how it goes. And then as we started it, we’re like, okay, this is a bigger and bigger problem than we thought initially. And the skills I was learning, what I was learning was unbelievable rate. And I still am. You know, the day never looks the same for us. Right. And I think as you get comfortable in what you’re doing, something changes and you learn something new. And I think that’s kept me going over the last five years. Like, I feel quite lucky in the fact that I’ve got the job that I’ve always wanted and that sense.
[00:22:42] So I get the basic picture. J You were Chief Technology Officer and you’re CEO. I guess Hannah is right. So, so day to day, what does that mean? Does that mean that you’re taking care of all the IT brains and hands, taking care of the commercials?
[00:22:58] I’d say on paper, probably, but in real life, I think we’re both just founders at the moment.
[00:23:02] Yeah, I’d say it’s like they are kind of titles, but ultimately we’re both just doing you’re doing.
[00:23:08] Everything we’re.
[00:23:09] Doing. That’s exactly it. And we’re doing we’ve kind of managed to find a balance of certain things. It’s like one of our strengths and certain things that might be another. But really we both have a hand in a lot of it right now. I think as we grow as a team, that might change and probably something for us to be aware of. But right now it’s kind of all hands on deck.
[00:23:29] So how many people are you?
[00:23:31] So we’re our full time team is seven. So we’re not we’re not massive. We’re a small team, but we hope to be growing over the next three months.
[00:23:40] Did you have an outsource team as well?
[00:23:43] No. So all of our developers and everyone’s in-house. What we do have, though, is it kind of part time Dental team. So a lot of in fact, a lot of them are early customers, Heroku, and they just reached out saying they want to be involved. And we’ve got kind of a way of bringing them in where it’s flexible so their full time jobs is being a dentist. But a couple of hours a week they help us in what we’re doing, give us input, feedback and help with some of the customer support and new features that we’re building. We’ve got about, say, about 7 to 10. Yeah.
[00:24:14] And so do you run that sort of classical sort of iterative process of, you know, sprints and all of that?
[00:24:20] Yeah, yeah, we do. So I think one of the things that we’re quite proud of is a lot of the software in dentistry I found is very old school. Yeah, we can do this. We can move fast, like faster. And most of the companies are already out. And the way we do that is we’re a small team. We can talk to each other, we can do like the first 50 customers. I would probably speak to them personally and so would Hannah. And now we try to talk to as many as we can, and we can feed that directly to our team and get something out within weeks.
[00:24:48] And I know this kind of thing is never really finished because you you have to keep on improving it. But how long will it be before you sort of I’m sitting back as the complete wrong word for it, but where you’ve got a version of it that you don’t doesn’t need more and more developing for a while until the metaverse comes along or something.
[00:25:11] Then I think again, it’s just kind of how long is a piece of string because parts of it we’re now not embarrassed of, but most of it we still are. And and so I think it really is it’s just like pushing it’s pushing a rock up a hill, basically. I don’t think I don’t think it’s going to we get to a point where we’re like, it’s ready. But yeah, there’s the core product I think we’re not cringing at anymore.
[00:25:44] And you know, in that in that sort of period where, you know, you said that sort of frustrating period where you’re not. You can assure if you’re asking the right questions and you’re working your butt off and you’re not making money, you’re spending money. What is it that keeps you going? I mean, do you have that sort of mission focussed? I want to make the world a better place now. I mean, you both look like you’re enjoying it. You’ve got kind of smiles on your face. When I was when I was at your place, I was hating my life because I was expecting something different to what I got. I mean, maybe in that entrepreneur’s first thing, they train you to understand what the process is. But I don’t have any of that right. I was just like working my butt off and losing money, and I hated it. We never raised any money. Of course, it’s a bit different. What keeps you going? Do you have that sort of purpose led sort of idea?
[00:26:40] I think for me it’s kind of two things. There’s the big mission of what we’re trying to do as a company and yeah, leader from the beginning. And that’s to obviously I’m not a dentist, but I am a patient and I’ve seen the impact that our system has on patients. And, you know, I’m quite proud of this year is that we’ve been seen by a million patients. So a million appointments have been done through. And I think that’s for me, that’s great because I’ve obviously received the care from a dentist or a doctor and you can tell the difference when somebody is giving you attention and focussing on you, your of, you know, what’s actually wrong with you compared to somebody who’s on the screen. That’s the second part. It’s much more than just a team I’m around because they definitely had a the rest of the team is is fantastic. I’m surrounded by people that inspire me every day. So it keeps you going quite easily.
[00:27:26] Conan I would say kind of like very similar, I think. I believed in what we were trying to do because I could feel myself that it was a problem that needed to be solved and also team and being around people that you like to work with. I think also for me and to my detriment as a person, sometimes I actually don’t know when to quit and sometimes I will do things when it’s actually too much pressure on me. But I just I don’t see quitting as an option. And I think that really sustained because I do genuinely think during that time when you’re not getting that feedback and you are kind of spending money and the the way that that felt to me as an individual then was not frustration, it was actually just self doubt. And it was it was I’m not good enough for this and I’m not spending my time on the right things and I’m being too lazy or whatever it was. And so they were the voices that I was finding quite difficult to, to contend with during that time. And then I think as soon as you then get that feedback awake, someone’s actually appreciating what you’re doing. That is the thing that kind of passed me through that.
[00:28:36] It’s very true because, you know, I bet they talked about this in the incubator because in the end, you know, you can bring in an expert. You can you can change as the early founder, you really can pivot. Right? I mean, pivot is a big thing. I guess you guys did pivot right from the voice to the voice. And I find sometimes what you said before about, you know, your preconceptions of what things should be like compared to what they’re actually like. And being stuck to those preconceptions can cause a lot of delay. A lot of delay. At the same time, what do you think about that sort of Steve Jobs idea of you can’t ask people what they want?
[00:29:19] I think only Steve Jobs can do that. To be honest. I thought about asking people what they want you to build. It’s asking what the problems are. Yeah. And then need the solutions to get to you. Yeah, I think it’s a thing of constantly testing your solutions as well. I think it’s a book that we try to live by which is this sort of yeah, it’s an idea is obviously iterative development. Don’t build something that takes you months and release it. Yeah. In stages where you validate validate what you’re doing the quickest way possible.
[00:29:53] I also have another book recommendation actually, which every dentist who’s ever kind of reached out to me, I think I’ve sent it to every single one of them, but it’s called the the mom test. And it’s kind of in complete agreement with that, that Steve Jobs quote, which is if you ask people if they like your business idea, they’re inherently nice and they’re going to say, yes, that’s a great idea. You should definitely pick you should definitely build a tinder for dogs or whatever it is. And instead what you should say is, okay, does your dog have an issue meeting other dogs? You don’t even say that. You really need to just go super broad and say, okay, what are your dog’s main issues in life? And you just go very, very broad and allow them to lead you to the problem. And again, like and yeah, I highly recommend that if there’s anyone who listens, who wants to explore a business idea.
[00:30:42] What was it called?
[00:30:43] It’s called the mom test.
[00:30:45] The mom.
[00:30:46] Of my.
[00:30:46] Mom. Which is why I said just. Yeah.
[00:30:50] Yeah. I mean, I think I listened to someone who was it? Some, some venture capitalist on some podcast. I was saying. He was saying, yeah, if you ask people about your idea and everyone sees it and everyone gets it, then it’s a really bad idea because there’ll be loads of competitors. Yeah. And if it’s such an obvious problem, there will be loads of competitors. He was saying if you ask people and no one gets it, that’s also a bad idea. Yeah, that’s going to be very difficult to convince that you were and he was saying this is in between where some intelligent guy might get it or some some thinking out of the box person might get it. But he was saying as a general, when everyone thinks it’s a good idea, it’s just too much competition. Yeah, if you had any competition.
[00:31:40] So yeah, we actually have. So more recently we’ve got other companies that are trying to do kind of similar stuff to what we’re doing. And yeah, I suppose it’s just something that we just need to keep our head down and we need to keep listening to our customers and make sure we’re building something for them that is actually genuinely solving their problem. Because that’s the thing that is going to best protect us from any competition.
[00:32:03] Is that IP in this environment or is that.
[00:32:07] Ip is actually quite a difficult one because I think a lot of a lot of people will quite often say, you know, do you have a pattern and things like that? But actually patent on software is very difficult to enforce.
[00:32:20] Building something is very flexible in the way you can do it.
[00:32:23] And there’s a million different ways you can code something and do something.
[00:32:26] Exactly, because if you’re applying for a patent, you have to say, this is what we’re doing. And then as soon as you’ve made that process public. You know, just a different way to skin a cat. Someone else can just do things in a slightly different way. So I think the thing that can best protect us is actually just having a product that is genuinely solving our customer’s problems and always striving to do better. As I said, I think that’s like the best equivalent of a patent we’ll ever have.
[00:32:49] Yeah, I agree. I agree. It’s strange with competitors, though, because, you know, sometimes there’s a there’s a place that a part of the market that you’re calling your own and a competitor will jump into that. And then then it’s like your communication strategy has to change. Also, you know, tell me this. How many users do we have now?
[00:33:12] So we’re in the thousands now.
[00:33:14] Oh, wow. Really? Wow. That’s quick. So. So how did you manage to sort of distribute it? I mean, what’s the mechanism?
[00:33:24] So I think over I think we really took off over the lockdown period. So we we set up the first commercial kind of launch was, I think October ish. But we were really slow at the beginning. And then in March, we just started to release kind of a payment model. And then about two weeks later, the pandemic hit. And we were just like, well, it’s unfair. Nobody, nobody’s working, so they shouldn’t pay. So we just made it free for everybody during the pandemic time. And I think.
[00:33:49] That’s a great move.
[00:33:51] Well, it was like we genuinely didn’t do it as a move. We genuinely did it because it’s what felt right. Yeah. And I think actually probably we only did it a week or two earlier than other companies, but the response from our customers was so positive that they felt really moved that we had kind of proactively made that decision. And I think that really bought a lot of goodwill with our customers.
[00:34:14] What was interesting, we thought, great, the pandemic’s hit. We’re going to be out of business, like just can’t use our products. We’re not going to get any customers, we’re not going to get the traction we need. And weirdly, it was the exact opposite where our product needed a bit of time investing. So like we tell anybody when they sign up, you need to spend about half an hour and you can do this at home, just learning the system, making it perfect for the way you do this, and suddenly you don’t have a lot of time on their hands. They were at home, they weren’t doing much. And so so we had a huge uptick in sign ups over that period where people were really trying out. I think it was around June, right. When people start to get back into work. Yeah. And our numbers just shot up reading thousands of women’s every day after that.
[00:34:52] Yeah, but how were you. I’ve seen you’ve done some paid ads on social. It was that the main way.
[00:34:59] So, so that is a channel we use but I think our strongest channel is actually just word of mouth, our dentist talking to their friends and colleagues about how they find it. And really that is that is the strongest thing that we have in our favour. And I mean, we’re already as I said, you know, other people have translated translated it into their own languages. We’re not just in the UK as well. And again, that’s happened purely through word of mouth of dentist telling each other and it kind of spreading internationally in a small way still. But but from that point, yeah.
[00:35:32] Hmm. That’s lovely, man. That’s that’s quick growth. That’s quite good, considering you said the final sort of your first customer came about two years ago.
[00:35:43] Yeah, yeah.
[00:35:44] That’s quick growth, man. Let’s go a long way. Continue. How do you charge for it? So how much is it?
[00:35:50] So it’s for basic, which is the kind of product that we’ve talked about. It’s $24.95 per dentist per month. We charge per individual clinician and then we also have a pro tier. And largely, I suppose the most notable thing within that is the ability to automate your follow up letters. So particularly for our specialists who do lots of referral letters back to referring clinicians and to the patient that is entirely automated from their career notes as well. So that product is 69, 95 per clinician per month.
[00:36:26] Well, that’s a big job.
[00:36:28] It’s a big job, but it’s a lot more work that has to go in from our team. And it’s also an order of magnitude more time that we’re saving those users.
[00:36:37] Although, I mean, obviously you’ve done your research or you’ve got your your position on this, but for me, the £25 products too cheap.
[00:36:45] In terms of the amount of time we’re saving them. And what that equates to is I think I think I’ve worked out quite recently and it’s 100 X return on investment for our customers. So you could argue that in terms of the value that they’re getting and what they can do with that time, it is.
[00:37:02] But is there something in SAS that says that’s the magic number?
[00:37:06] No, not at all. And actually, I wish that there was something magical, in fact, that told you that. But it’s absolutely just figuring it out on the go. And us, we shouldn’t ever see pricing as something that is fixed. We should see that as something that we’re testing out and changing as well.
[00:37:20] But for me, if I was forward thinking enough, if I was a dentist, number one, if I was forward thinking enough to be the dentist who was going to try something like this in order to save me time, and then it’s saving me loads of time. I just think I should charge more. Let’s just say so.
[00:37:40] Dentists about half an hour per day. And so you can work out what that equates to. It’s a significant amount. If they wanted to fill that time with more patients, it’s extremely significant financially.
[00:37:54] It’s very impressive. So so to 70, the bigger what would you call that product to the pro? It follows up on referral letters.
[00:38:06] So if a specialist is filling in, let’s say a correctly workflow is about them doing a period console, let’s say.
[00:38:18] They’ve seen a patient, they want to go back to the referring.
[00:38:21] Exactly. They filled in their set of notes. And then actually what what these dentist are having to do is then spend 15 to 40 minutes after the appointment writing up the letter specific to that patient with karaoke. That is a click of a button. So they’ve done their notes. All of the relevant information is populated. Populated.
[00:38:41] This was, I guess, a by-product of of main product. So we what we actually do is we structure notes. So that really hasn’t been done before. So we structure the way somebody should write notes. We know what sections they’re in and how, how somebody writes it time and time again. And what that’s allowed us to do is a one click translation into a letter, and that’s really translated into humanised English that can be sent to the patient or to the referring dentist.
[00:39:05] And again, you might not want the language that’s in your medical record to be what goes out to the patient, you might say Upright six, but that doesn’t mean anything to a patient. So the thing that you want to go at in your letter is the upper right first molar tooth, and that’s fine because you can do that translation because it has that intelligence built in.
[00:39:22] Is it is it limited to notes and medicolegal or is there some sort of marketing application?
[00:39:30] I mean, right now, in terms of our areas of focus, probably for for the near term, we really are focussing on the no element and the and the actions that we can take based on that. So if you are sending follow up material consent information to patients and things like that, how can you very, very simply export that? So you’re not wasting your time on that. So we’re focussing on what actions can be taken from the conversation you’re having with your patient.
[00:39:57] So I guess the whole business is around taking away those repeated things that you do every single day. So your brain is focussed on that 10% of the day where you actually spend it on a unique case or, you know, a unique part of your notes even. Yeah.
[00:40:12] It’s what you see occurring.
[00:40:14] I mean, number one, I clearly don’t like to look too far ahead, just like to to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we’re increasingly believing and getting more and more belief that this is a business that can grow. And we want to provide it to as many dentists as we possibly can, both in the UK, but also internationally. And I think also an element that really excites us is eventually the technology that we’ve built doesn’t have to be limited to dentistry, it can be applied to other areas of healthcare, it can be applied to other professions where they might waste their time writing notes as well. So that’s how long term we see this business developing.
[00:40:58] Is that your pitch at the next funding round?
[00:41:03] Did if it sound like it turned into a robot to this.
[00:41:11] My eyes glazed over.
[00:41:14] Yeah. That’s quite early on that I seen as like it’s for me, the whole dental work is very new. But since we started releasing as dentists, we have a lot of GP’s coming up to us. Yeah. Yeah. We spent even longer than dentists writing notes. Why aren’t you building this for us? And the process is one step at a time.
[00:41:30] It’s one step at a time. And it’s making sure we don’t try and do too many things too soon and not actually focus on our customers. But yeah, long term that’s that’s what we see.
[00:41:40] I mean, yeah, if you could, if you could solve the GP thing, but I don’t know your experience with GP, but when I’ve been to the GP they’re not even looking at you at all.
[00:41:52] They sort of kind of quick glance up. Quick question. And then and it’s mad because because you think like is he originally listening to the he’s you know, because we kind of know something about it, right? He’s kind of busy covering himself.
[00:42:14] So true. And I think something that genuinely, like moves me emotionally is with the thing of being a dentist or a doctor. If you could actually just focus on the the fantastic, the empathetic part of that conversation, actually providing care, actually listening to your patients and allow the repetitive things to be done by computers, then that is that for me is a human’s time when well spent, whereas us doing repetitive things, doing it over and over again, that is actually where a computer is so much better than us. So why not delegate that away?
[00:42:50] Yeah, I think what we found from correct a lot of customer sources that the end of the day they just had a bit more energy. I think the more we look into that is because of decision fatigue. They’re tired of making that same decision every single time and it does take that away from you.
[00:43:07] Yeah. With those sort of things you don’t, you don’t realise how stressed you are about them until they are taken away sometimes. Yeah. You know that. That’s very true. Let’s, let’s move on to the darker sort of side of all this we’ve got. I don’t know, if you listen to this podcast, we tend to move to the dark side around 40 minutes. What’s been your worst day at karaoke, each of you?
[00:43:33] What a good question.
[00:43:34] Then I think one day comes to mind. This was like two years ago or something where? We were fundraising. So like I said at the time, we would get for money, but we were excited by the idea of what we could be doing next and I think we had about three. So with fundraising, this is the first time we were raising money. You expect 90% rejections, so and all for different reasons. But we didn’t know that at the time. Right. So we were crashing. So I hadn’t I had about, I think three emails in a row on a monday morning and it just like, yeah, we’re not investing, we’re not investing, we’re not investing. And in that moment where we looked at each other and I think we wanted to kind of shelter the team from that side of things. So that was that’s the one that comes to mind straight away. We were just like, Let’s go for a walk and stretch ourselves up.
[00:44:22] Let’s go for a walk and have a cry.
[00:44:24] How many how many meetings did you go to? How many how many pitches did you do?
[00:44:28] Oh, God, I couldn’t count. Like, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was like 100 like.
[00:44:33] 190 said no.
[00:44:35] Genuinely, that is. That is that’s what you need to expect. But it doesn’t. You gradually get thicker and thicker skin like the longer you’ve done this. But it really is like for me, I’ve always found fundraising difficult on an emotional level because I find it quite wearing.
[00:44:50] And it’s tough. Like you’re, you’re getting rejection off and it’s for completely different reasons. Some, you know, some just might not believe in your vision or some might not believe in you or your team or and I guess another thing is back to what I said, I’m getting feedback. It’s really hard to get true feedback and that’s the most part, the hardest reason you don’t really know what the reason of the rejection is.
[00:45:10] How do you even set up these meetings? How does that.
[00:45:13] Work? Luckily, we’ve got really good network through through the incubator that we went through. So they have like created these they’ve made these introductions to begin with. And now you kind of you’ve got that network and you can reach out to those investors. But you also then because we’ve now got other investors that are invested in Kroger, they really are extremely powerful in terms of making more introductions, meeting new investors, and it really is just kind of back to back meetings, talking through your business, talking through, answering any questions they have. Quite often it won’t even be that they don’t believe in your business. It might just be that they aren’t the right investor to feel like they’ve got the knowledge to support you. But all the same, you do feel it. I think actually my day would be quite different of my my most difficult day of Kroger and it would come down to team. And when we had an employee who handed in their resignation, which happens, you know.
[00:46:09] It just wasn’t a good day.
[00:46:10] Though. It’s just part of part of the process. But when there’s someone that you really, really respect and they’re not continuing to work with you, even if it’s because they’re going to start their own business or they want to be exposed to a different type of technology or whatever it is, that.
[00:46:26] Sort of thing.
[00:46:27] Exactly like that for me felt like a huge failure of leadership or communicating vision or being effective at listening to not even sorry, not customer employees. So that was for me a really that was kind of a tough time.
[00:46:46] I definitely agree with that. I remember that day.
[00:46:49] That’s only happened once.
[00:46:51] So it’s not that we’ve only had one one resignation ever. We’ve had more than that. But quite often, you know, they’re coming. But it wasn’t even the first one, actually, it was just a particularly difficult one where we didn’t see it coming, whereas a lot of our resignations, we’ve known from early doors that they’re considering starting their own business or, you know, it’s been a conversation and I think it being unawares felt like a huge failure because it’s, you know, that is you should have been able to pick that up sooner.
[00:47:18] What would you say is your biggest weakness, Hannah? To the classic interview question.
[00:47:24] I think my biggest weakness and I’m giving you a really classic answer because I’m going to give a really I think I’m not going to say that because that’s just not true. But I think my biggest weakness is probably also a big strength of mine and is that ability not to not quit, not to give up, because I think sometimes that’s allowed me to have real grit. But I think sometimes I have put myself in situations where it’s not returning what it should anymore. And I haven’t called it because I just didn’t even consider I should quit. That would be a failure.
[00:48:00] Yeah, I’m the same. I’m the same. And you find a lot of times your biggest weakness is your biggest strength. Yeah, but I’ll give you example of that moment when you just would not quit.
[00:48:12] I think for me, actually, this is going to sound really like but like not a big deal. But I think it was just when I was I was working in a practise on Saturdays as well as doing Kokrokoo and to say it was 9 to 5 as is not the truth. So like doing a very kind of intense job and doing every Saturday and did it for two and a half years. And I think I just got to a point where I actually just wasn’t going out and seeing my friends. I wasn’t going out for dinners because I was just always so, so tired. And I eventually got to a point which was like, Why am I doing this? It just I hadn’t even considered that I shouldn’t be doing that anymore. And even if it was just kind of changing when I was doing it, you know, it’s not even that I’m not doing any clinical work these days, but I think that for me was me just doing the same thing over and over again and not considering that I could I could change it.
[00:49:00] What about you, J.
[00:49:02] You know what? As you ask that question, I thought I’ve asked this so many times to people. I never thought to ask myself.
[00:49:09] What your answer.
[00:49:10] Is. I’d say maybe sometimes paying too much attention to detail rather than just stepping back and. I think that’s know, I’d want to if I see a process, I want to know every single thing about it. I want to know how it works, what’s going on. But I don’t have time to do everything. And as much as I’d love to try and figure out every line of code and everything within view. I think part of it is actually just stepping back and realising that other people can do a great job better than me at that and letting go of certain things.
[00:49:40] Yeah. And you know, that sort of perfection paralysis thing and delegation paralysis will slow you down. Big time. Big time.
[00:49:49] Exactly. And I’ve learnt that a lot I think recently where there are times where I’ve done the opposite, where I’ve actually just left something and I’m like, Wait, no, we can run. Like it’s actually running a lot better than what I would have done. Yes, it’s kind of just.
[00:50:04] What I found. What I found is at the beginning, you’re doing everything. And then what happens is as you start to delegate it, someone does one little thing not quite as well as you would have done that thing. And that makes you go berserk and you forget the fact that they’re doing all of this other stuff. I tell you, though, it’s funny, because if it comes down to trust in a way, doesn’t it? Yeah, absolutely. And there’s no way you’ll grow if you don’t trust, right? There’s no way at all.
[00:50:34] Exactly. I think I’ve learnt that where we the biggest thing we can do is have the right people. I think the biggest impact we can have on Heroku and what we do is just hire the right people. I think we’ve made really good decisions at the moment with our team.
[00:50:46] I think we have and I think there is more that we can do there because I think quite often I allow myself to be overly busy when actually if the thing I’m doing is making myself more scalable, making myself slightly redundant, that’s actually a good thing for the business. But quite often it leaves you feeling slightly redundant. And I think a lesson that I could develop and I think I would be in a better place if I learnt this quicker, is actually I’m okay not to be really busy all the time. I just need to find the right people who can do this better than we can.
[00:51:17] Yeah, you know, you should take. I’ve learnt something recently and you know, don’t, don’t let it take 20 years for you to learn this. This message is that in a way if, if you’re doing anything, then you’re doing something wrong. In a way I’m not saying don’t do anything, but if you have to do any little thing, then why? Why is it that you’re doing that thing? Why isn’t someone else doing that thing? You know, and it’s an interesting idea because it sounds ridiculous, but but when you actually examine examine it, you know that you want they want to sell this thing, right? Yeah. And and you really want nothing to do with the day to day of it at all. At all. You just want to be leading the sort of the zoomed out plan. And the zoomed out plan means not doing anything at all. Yeah. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m doing I’m doing things. Don’t, don’t get me wrong. But the thought process, it’s quite empowering.
[00:52:20] If we if we aim for that, if we aim for doing nothing, that’s probably doing nothing but not being required for like decisions. I think that’s probably the right thing to aim for.
[00:52:32] And I think it’s really timely advice, to be honest, because now our team is growing and we’re at the stage now where we do have to take a little step back and bring in other people that can actually do this day to day things.
[00:52:42] But there is one big problem with it in that, you know, it sounds all well and good. Hire a guy to do that job, but that guy needs managing and then whoever’s managing, that guy needs managing. And in the end, that comes back to you again. And it’s sort of the difference between finding outsource people and having people in-house. Yeah, because there’s there’s benefits to both. But one of the biggest benefits of outsource people is that you don’t have to hire and fire in the usual way. Yeah, it’s a difficult one. What would you say should be been your biggest mistakes?
[00:53:18] Wolf. So many to pick from.
[00:53:25] To think of this one.
[00:53:30] It’s a bit early because you haven’t had time for, you know, to reflect, really.
[00:53:35] I mean, I try I try and reflect frequently, actually. Clearly, I’m not doing it well enough.
[00:53:41] What comes to mind, actually, is I think almost every company hears this at some point, which is start charging earlier, because I think the moment it came hand to hand, when we had our first customer feedback and charging, people automatically assume you give value to what you’re doing. And if someone’s for free, they’re not valuing it right. They’re not running it, but they’re starting to get feedback. And I think as soon as we started charging for our product, we got feedback instantly and then it kind of spun off from there. So that’s one that comes to mind right now. Whether you call that mistake or not, I don’t know, because I think it worked out.
[00:54:18] I mean, the voice thing was a mistake.
[00:54:20] Again, I find it hard to call it a mistake because I don’t think we would be here if it wasn’t for the voice. We stumbled upon the new product because as a consequence of the voice, it sells other ways to get here. Yeah, definitely.
[00:54:31] I think, again, it’s not like one clear mistake. I wish we’d got to that conclusion quicker because I think we would be know 6 to 12 months ahead of where we are now if we if learn those lessons sooner. But equally. You know, with first time founders, we didn’t. We’re learning this as we go. And I don’t really know what we could have done to have done that much faster. But but to me, if there’s one thing I wish we’d been able to do, it was drive for customer feedback far earlier however that was and realise that that was the problem.
[00:55:06] Without, you know, antagonising investors. What kind of role do they play as far as the day to day? Do they take a position on the board and advise and interfere?
[00:55:19] And I actually we have we are so lucky with our investors and actually genuinely, I would never use the word interfere. I would only use the word support. Yes, they might have a board seat or a board observer. See. So we will have quarterly meetings with them where we present what we’ve been up to. But largely they are there when we need when we need them and they in different ways. We’ve kind of got two main investors in different ways. They get very, very different types of information and support and feedback. And I couldn’t be happier. The people that we have as partners to build Heroku, they they are both supportive and wise and holistic in their in their advice.
[00:56:08] Well that’s that’s nice to hear because you do hear some horror stories.
[00:56:11] Yeah, you do. I think I think that because of the horror stories we were so careful in, I guess who we picked. Quite lucky, to be honest, in a way as well.
[00:56:18] I think luck.
[00:56:20] Is a huge amount of luck.
[00:56:22] But then every time, every time you raise more, you’re going to have a new person to deal with. Is that how it works?
[00:56:27] Exactly. And the unfortunate thing is, again, it’s like suppose it’s like hiring someone. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like. Work alongside them until you’re actually doing it. Except with an employee, if it’s not right, you can kind of do something about it. With an investor.
[00:56:41] You can’t really.
[00:56:41] There’s nothing you can do about it. So you have to pick right and try and try and maintain a kind of filter from your side. Even if you do, you do want the investment you need to make sure they’re the right investor.
[00:56:55] Tell me a couple of stories that your customers have told you. About using. You know, something something that’s changed the way they work.
[00:57:07] I think that it’s like one of the things that is just repeatedly said is like, I’m home. Like this is completely changed. I used to have keys for the practise and be the last person.
[00:57:20] Oh, just writing up all the crap.
[00:57:22] Exactly. And now I am the last person to enter in the morning. I’m the first person to leave in the evening. And I’m able to actually have dinner with my family and I’m able to pay attention when patients are talking to me. So it’s again, it’s so varied because different people use that time different ways. A lot of people actually just want to get home on time. A lot of people wanting more patients. A lot of people want to actually just pay attention to their patient.
[00:57:48] But I think for me, the idea of an idea of somebody getting home has been mentioned time and time again that before they would you know, I spoke to a dentist, in fact, last week that I built a little four day work every day at five in the morning to write letters, but with curfew. Well, now they get to sleep. So it was interesting, home and time, but nice stories were good to hear.
[00:58:14] Generally, we asked this question at the beginning of the podcast, but with you guys it just felt like the wrong time. Tell me about where you grew up, what kind of kid you were.
[00:58:25] I grew up in the countryside outside of Manchester. As you can tell from my accent.
[00:58:33] And the south or the north.
[00:58:36] South Manchester kind of peak district, the area so very, very kind of rural. But I went to school in central Manchester. And what type of child does I am the youngest of three siblings. I have two older brothers. And so I very much embodied the little sister character. I don’t know what else to say. Really gone. Very lucky. Lucky with my parents and lucky with the support I’ve always had from my parents.
[00:59:03] And your parents were it people you said?
[00:59:06] I think people. Yeah, both. Both programmers.
[00:59:10] But were they entrepreneurs as well?
[00:59:12] And no, they both work worked within kind of bigger corporations. My mum gave up working when she had us and so I know that she always missed her work because she was doing so well and I think it just came at a time when she was having kids. So I know that for her she’s kind of always instilled in me that find something that you love doing and don’t stop doing it because you have to have family or don’t do it unless you want to. I think she wanted to give up work.
[00:59:42] That’s fine. You hurried. Get this thing sold, kid. Where did you grow up?
[00:59:56] So mine. I was. I’ve been born and growing up in London. Yeah. For example, the accent kind of is very standard today. There’s not a huge amount. It like great parents. I was. I was in a state school. So, you know, for a variety of people, we had three, 350 people in our year. And there’s a variety of people from people that became athletes to entrepreneurs to a bunch of other stuff.
[01:00:23] Where did you study, Jay?
[01:00:25] So I was at University College London for my undergrad, and then I went to University of Cambridge for my first read.
[01:00:31] The what the I stuff.
[01:00:33] Yeah. Yeah.
[01:00:34] What was it like being in Cambridge with those brains?
[01:00:37] To find out. Just, I guess going from a state school. I thought I never wanted to go to Cambridge because I thought I just wouldn’t fit in. So I thought I’d literally go have no friends. Everybody would be very posh and I wouldn’t be able to click with anybody. And it was exact opposite. It was just a group of really smart people that love what they do. And I think as you get to post-grad you realise that a lot of people have chosen to do something in underground. Often you do find a lot of people that are in the, you know, studying for the sake of study, studying for the sake of somebody told them to. And it’s a good way to do things. I think when you go to post-grad, people will love what they do. And I find that really fascinating.
[01:01:12] Because you’re 18, aren’t you, when you go to university, I mean, it’s a child. What made you decide to be a dentist when with all these technologists around you?
[01:01:23] I liked sciences. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, probably because I’d grown up watching Scrubs. I did my work experience in a hospital and realised, Wait, this isn’t like Scrubs. And actually being on a geriatric ward is really, really sad. And so my school organised work experience in a dental practise and I remember my mum being like, I don’t know why you’re doing that, you’re not going to enjoy that. And I loved it. I mean, I was in work experience with the dad of someone who I went to school with and he was just a really, really nice, relaxed guy. And I think I just kind of liked his attitude and I just really liked that. It was like craft on a tiny, tiny scale. And there’s, yeah, there’s so much pride to be taken in doing that well. And I think I just thought that would be a good fit. Yeah. And like I said, I never regretted studying dentistry. I really, really enjoyed it. Just sad not to be doing construction on a tiny scale more these days.
[01:02:22] And Bristol, such a fun, fun city to be studying and it’s such a fantastic city. I was in Cardiff, but I love Bristol. I really.
[01:02:32] Love I.
[01:02:33] Love Bristol as well. I’m just waiting for the day where I can move back to Bristol.
[01:02:39] It was honestly, it’s just it was so fun. It was really a good mixture of like good music. Yeah.
[01:02:47] Just great art scene.
[01:02:50] Exactly. There’s just a really nice mixture of culture and and it being a beautiful city in its own right.
[01:02:58] Yeah. I really, really enjoyed Bristol.
[01:03:00] Is your office London based now?
[01:03:02] Yes, we’re based in Moorgate.
[01:03:05] Oh, really? In that little hub of technology.
[01:03:09] Yes. Yeah, yeah.
[01:03:10] Well, they call it silicon something.
[01:03:12] Yes, Silicon Roundabout people roundabouts.
[01:03:16] It is kind of spread out now, isn’t it?
[01:03:21] In Cambridge, they call it silicon fen that bit. One last question before our final questions, which are always the same on this podcast, if this imagine, I don’t know, some company Microsoft came along and give you a billion. To walk away. Yeah. What would you do next? It’s hard. It’s hard question to answer.
[01:03:47] Is this what what would you do when they offered you or what.
[01:03:49] Would you do once they sold it? You walked away. You walked away. We can deal with yourself and and you listen. Everyone says the same thing to this. Yeah. They say charity holiday. Yeah. So outside of charity and holiday day to day.
[01:04:06] I think because I don’t think I would do charity, I don’t think I’d do like loads of holiday. I think the thing that excites me and I think maybe because I went from doing clinical dentistry to doing quite a different career, the thing that would excite me is like, What’s next? I’m only going to live once. Why not jump back several careers into one lifetime? And like, what else could I learn and start from scratch again? I genuinely think I’d kind of want to.
[01:04:30] I’ll just I’ll probably start your business and whatever I say, I would drag her into as well.
[01:04:35] So yeah, I don’t know. It’s so exciting that like you could, you could do a whole different thing. I definitely wouldn’t just.
[01:04:44] Take your money behind you so you can kind of do what you want with it as.
[01:04:47] Well. You wouldn’t take holiday. I like that. I like that very much. Let’s just end it with the same question. We always end up with the same question. It is it’s difficult with people as young as you too, but you’re on your deathbed. Yeah. You’ve got your friends and family around you. Three pieces of advice you’d leave for them.
[01:05:12] I’ll let you go first.
[01:05:14] Those are the ones. The ones that I thought of is this one. I really do try to live by it, which is just enjoy the journey. I think you never know what’s going to happen, especially both in business and in life, really. Just enjoy every day and what you’re doing and find a way to make yourself happy with it. Second one is follow your instincts and trust your gut. I think whenever I’ve done that, it’s always worked out somehow. So keep doing that. And then the last one is just live life to its fullest. Try and avoid being lazy and just realise like, you know, again, life’s short. Try and make the most of it.
[01:05:45] Lovely, lovely bits of advice on your death.
[01:05:48] What about you?
[01:05:50] I would say one is very important to me, as is stay silly like I do. I don’t want to grow old. My my grandmother. You actually like in the last couple of years passed away was like the most mischievous soul I know. And she was 80. She was 92, and she was just so silly. And so I would always remain silly and laugh at ridiculous things. That would be one. The other one would be, again, this is so like so generic that it’s almost pointless would be just be kind because you have to leave the world in a better state than you arrived in. And for me, that’s just how you treat the people around you. And if you just strive to constantly be kind in every interaction you have, if feel like you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing, you’re moving in the right direction. And the final one, I’m not sure. I think you’re going to have to think this one on the spot. I think this is this is rather than yeah, I suppose it is advice, but this is more just kind of me saying something that I’ve taken huge value from, which is immerse yourself in other people’s stories. And by that I mean I personally am an avid reader of novels, and the reason I do that is because I love getting perspective on other people’s lives and situations. I wouldn’t I haven’t been through myself. And so whether you choose to do that in the form of reading or watching films or listening to stuff, I think constantly prioritising, getting other people’s perspectives will widen your world and widen your your reaction to things as well, how you perceive the world.
[01:07:34] And of that walk in other people’s shoes, sort of.
[01:07:37] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, probably. That will help you with the kindness one as well.
[01:07:43] But I like that. The fact you know, this question, it’s not my question, perhaps question. It tends to give many of the same answers. But those three or kindness comes up a lot but Cillian shoes that they’re good ones they my final question is it’s to do with a fancy dinner party. Yeah three guests that are.
[01:08:07] Like I’m going to hand it over to you first.
[01:08:09] This is a question I always ask and always avoid giving my answer.
[01:08:14] I think. When do you ask this question?
[01:08:17] I think when things get a bit silent, the three to I said one is Sundar Pichai, who’s the CEO of Google. I think his story is just amazing that he grew up from nothing and now.
[01:08:31] He’s the current CEO, isn’t it?
[01:08:33] Yeah. Yeah. And the next one just has to be Steve Jobs. Yeah, I just I’m obsessed with Steve Jobs a bit too much. But, yeah, I had to pick up on this. And the last. I’m a massive Arsenal football fan, so it has to be Thierry Henry. I’m yet to meet him. It’s a one day.
[01:08:54] It’s an interesting dinner party going on.
[01:08:58] And I’ve actually only got two answers to this. I did actually try and wrack my brain, but two, two came to mind very easily. So I’ll actually just answer answer those. The first one is my grandma from my dad’s side, because I was so young when she passed away that I actually never got to interact with her. My dad speaks so highly of her. I think that would be so lovely to actually understand more about her life and therefore probably understand more about my dad and therefore probably understand more about myself. So that would be one. And the other one that instantly came to my mind is Anne Boleyn. I don’t know why I love the Tudors, but also I’d want to. Anne Boleyn for me, as someone who’s the way that she is told in history, is with a very, very sexist perspective and angle. So I would love to meet.
[01:09:49] The first wife.
[01:09:50] Second wife. She beheaded, beheaded yet, but clearly caused massive change to to England and history. But I feel like I’d want to understand what she was like as a person because she sounds like she might have been quite a powerful, impressive person.
[01:10:10] Yeah, I think I’ve had one of the answers was Henry the eighth, so you might as well invite Henry the eighth, all your other grandma. That would be the third guest.
[01:10:20] I mean, I’d love to.
[01:10:22] You can come. You can come back. Grandma did.
[01:10:27] Well, it’s been a pleasure. And I know I only met you for that 10 seconds in dental showcase, but. But. But, Hannah, you know, I really understand why investors, customers, employees are inspired by you. Just you give off this energy of sort of enjoying everything you do and really listening. I really do. I really do.
[01:10:49] That means a great a great, great deal, especially from you. Yeah.
[01:10:53] There’d be sitting but it’s just, you know, I know again, we’ve met each other twice. Twice, but both times. Both times are very, very, very impressed with you. So I’m sure your work is going to go from strength to strength.
[01:11:05] And thank you so much for having us.
[01:11:09] Yeah, thanks very much.
[01:11:10] It’s been a long time coming.
[01:11:13] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.
[01:11:29] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.
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