Discover the role that the Boostcamp played in the development of Esperity!
Can you introduce yourself? Who are you, what do you do for a living?
I’m Mitchell, founder and CEO of Esperity. Esperity is a company that develops solutions through technology to empower patients and improve their quality of life.
By actually getting insights from the patients to better understand what they go through and what they experience, how they look at their condition and see the outcome of their treatment. The more insights we get, the better the suggestions we can come up with.
We gather these insights by the mean of qualitative and quantitative interviews but also by data analysis. We also look at the behaviors of patients and see how they react to certain posts, how they report certain side effects or certain quality of life indicators. By having that aggregated view on all these different parameters, we get more insights on actual experiences of the patients. Not only purely “How do I experience a symptom?” but also “How does it impact my social life, my family life, my routine balance, etc”.
We really try to approach healthcare in a more holistic way and not purely based on medical parameters only, although medical parameters are important as well.
How did you get to know the mic.brussels ?
A long time ago, an acquaintance used to organize sessions where he grouped people together to brainstorm about a project, throw a challenge on the table and had us discuss it. One day, he told me “Hey, the mic.brussels Boostcamp could be interesting for you” and this is how I got introduced to mic.brussels.
And you then took part in the 1st Boostcamp in 2012 and won its Grand Prize?
Yes, this was before Esperity was actually born. It was my first idea, based on my personal experience where I needed a solution to track my medicine, track my doses, track my symptoms. At that time, I was also doing a PHD in bioengineering so was already very much interested in the healthcare sector and I’d just developed my own system to track medication. And at the end, that was the project I pitched at the Boostcamp.
So the main idea of Esperity was there from the very beginning ?
No, it came a bit later because I didn’t find my current co-founder at that time. I met him one year later. He’s a physician, working with patients and he also saw that patients need much more education about their disease but also about their treatment. We decided to join forces, and this is where we started to build a social community for cancer patients to connect to each other, share experiences and track how they feel, etc., but we didn’t really have a business model at that moment.
We launched the platform in 2014. We got a good traction from the start. Still, the business model was not easy to define so we put a lot of our finances for this. A bit later, we really got more and more insights, because of course you start working in this ecosystem and people start to ask you: “Who are you?”, “What do you know about healthcare, about oncology?”, etc. In the end, the more you start working in this field, the more you get knowledge, you understand the processes and what can be done or not. Bit by bit, we can proudly say that we are now one of the experts in terms of patient engagement in Belgium and beyond Belgium as well. Because of our experience of working with different parties, that is hospitals, pharma companies, academic care-centers or patient organizations, we really came to understand what are our true value was.
And what kind of help did you get from the Boostcamp? How did it help you get to where you are now?
First of all, I think it’s about the network because the mic.brussels is really connected to the tech side. We developed our technology based on Microsoft solutions. Secondly, of course, they helped us challenging our business model which is. a must. The mic.brussels really has good coaches to do that.
How big is your team now?
We are 8 people to be hired soon. We are quite small but still growing and we are increasing our number of international projects. Since corona, we really can say that we’ve had a nice boost in our activities and our visibility.
How do you see Esperity in several years? What are your next milestones?
We’d like to keep on scaling in terms of clients but also geographically and to expand beyond Europe. We would like to continue on this path and make sure we remain focus. Focus is key. Initially you go in all directions if you don’t find the right business model. Now we have a solid business model, we are scaling and simplicity is key to success. We discovered now how to keep things simple, make it scalable and make sure that we have the necessary services that can back it all up.
What would you say to someone reading the article and who is thinking about launching his/her business? What is your advice in terms of entrepreneurship?
Just do it! You also must be passionate about the subject because you will, as an entrepreneur, always face ups and downs. If you don’t have this drive, this passion, you will not be able to get through the bad periods. Passion and persistence are key. Also make sure that you surround yourself with the right people and hopefully it will work but it’s really about following your passion.
A closing word for the 10th anniversary of mic.brussels?
I think it is nice to see that mic.brussels is 10 years old and I was telling myself “Damn, I’m getting old!”. It’s great to see that it really has an impact on the ecosystem, on people that have an idea, that are looking out but are not really sure what to do. mic.brussels provides that little push and provided it to me. I really hope that mic.brussels can continue to have a positive impact on entrepreneurs. Technology is becoming more and more complex, you need more and more specific skills and I think that everything that you do can only accelerate adoption of technology for the better.