COVID-19 accelerated demand for many remote applications yet TytoCare was founded way before the pandemic… What was your inspiration for founding the company?
As a parent to two children, my daughter suffered through chronic, painful ear infections at a young age. This resulted in countless clinic visits as well as middle-of-the-night and weekend trips to the emergency room, where she was subjected to long waits and exposed to germs. And with all that hassle, the diagnosis and treatment always ended up the same. I started thinking that there had to be a better way.
TytoCare provides clinical data clinicians can trust, yet counts on the (untrained) users to provide the data in a professional manner. How does this affect the diagnosis?
The aim, of course, is that it shouldn’t. TytoCare has been carefully designed to integrate a level of AI into all exams, which guides the user to ensure that they’re placing the device in the correct position at the right angle, while verifying that all other conditions (light, sound, movement, pressure) are met to allow the best reading as well as automatic validating the quality of the reading. The validated results are then sent directly through to the doctor, so there’s no room for errors due to misinterpretation by the user – just as in person at the doctor’s office. If the physician is not happy with the results, they can of course have the patient redo the exam using our live functionality.
What was the Inflection Point in TytoCare’s history?
Getting FDA clearance made a massive difference to our business. We were able to approach US healthcare payers and providers, who had already shown interest in TytoCare but were unable to offer the device to their members until it was cleared. In addition, during the past 3 years there has been a constant move toward digital home services, to enable better access and economics for primary care. This trend was fueled by reimbursement and regulatory changes that came to a peak during COVID.
What do you miss most in an early-stage company?
Getting the whole team together in one room is something that’s much harder now! In addition, I used to interview every new employee, and meet in-person everyone quite often. This was very important for me as part of our culture, but now it’s much harder.
Toughest choice you had to make as a CEO?
When we were starting to work on commercialization, I moved together with my family to the US. This was done pretty quickly – we literally took five suitcases with us – which came with a lot of uncertainty. It was hard for everyone – especially since my kids ended up moving schools three times in three years. It was the right decision – but it was a tough one.
Gut instinct and cold Data, which do you follow?
I’m usually tempted to listen to my gut – I think we all are – but I think it’s really important to make data-based decisions. I always try to take a deep breath before making a decision based on gut instinct and come back to it later.
Where do you invest most of your time?
This is something I occasionally think about and change, depending on the situation. For me, people are the key. The culture of TytoCare is so important, and of course, that all comes from the people. Deciding who to hire, especially in senior roles, has a massive impact on that culture and how it trickles down throughout the company. That means that not only do I want to hire people who are talented, but I also want to make sure that they fit in with the culture and ethos of the company. Still a, lot of my time goes into strategic planning and aligning the team around it.
What characterizes your executive team?
When we started TytoCare we had to build a very interdisciplinary team combining people with knowledge in software, hardware, medicine, US healthcare, and consumers. Everyone on our executive team brings something different to the table, and is so talented and generous. We’re really lucky! Also, the fact that beyond deep tech, and business objective our mission involves “bringing good” and positive outcome to potentially every household out there, gives our team a major boost and solidarity, and I’m very proud that most of them are with TytoCare for many years.
How do you see your personal growth alongside the company’s?
I’ve had an amazing journey. My personal growth has been just as exciting as the company’s has been. As an engineer I love learning new things in a diverse environment, and with TytoCare I got to learn everything from building a complex global organization, the difference between leading US and Israeli operations, building a multidisciplinary healthcare solution. I get to work with consumers, with businesses, push for fast growth and deal with scaling challenges. Really, the personal growth here is endless.
Best tip you got?
A successful entrepreneur and good friend told me that being a founder and CEO is a very lonely experience. You have to have the best co-founder with you, and you also must find an external trustworthy “observer” to be able to reflect and give advice and reality-check you – I’m very fortunate to have both my wife Lilach and my partner Ofer.
Tip you wish you had gotten
Startup life, especially in successful growth phase companies, involves (beyond the hard work and roller-coaster life), a LOT of mental stress – it’s something you need to be prepared for…
One thing people don’t know about you…
Although my background is as an engineer, I strongly believe in a multi-disciplinary mindset and diversification. I am personally deeply into art – it started as a hobby, and then I took a sabbatical for two years to study in one of the best art colleges in Israel for a degree in art. I (used to) do pottery, sculpture, and mixed media, and am planning to get back into it…