The Luxembourgish startup is living its American dream. It’s the story of a startup that has everything of a great and an entrepreneur, Jacob Arnould who decided to take his life in hand, literally and technologically.
Photo: Jacob Arnould, Founder & CEO of MyMedBot / Credits © Serges Deuces / Silicon Luxembourg
Tell us about your startup.
MyMedBot was founded because healthcare services are stuck in the 20th century. Whether you look up emergency protocols or the response to this pandemic, it is clear that technology can play a better role in healthcare.
Today MyMedBot provides a screening application used by more than 140 U.S. schools to help them operate safely. The solution helps them monitor the health of their students and staff daily and ensures that only healthy people enter schools’ premises. It is closely tailored to the complex needs of public and private schools and incorporates privacy-protection features, crucial in this day and age.
You’ve decided to pivot from emergency prevention to Covid symptom detection. Can you tell us more about these reasons and how you made this decision?
MyMedBot has evolved over the past three years. Prior to Covid-19 sweeping across the world, we were developing a solution to help improve emergency response on campuses (see our article “MyMedBot, the emergency alert app“). This involved an app that provided first responders (e.g. school nurses or on-site doctors) with all the necessary information to help in an emergency situation including precise indoor geolocation of the person seeking help. Specifically, we were addressing the needs of schools, a market which we know well.
Our pre-Covid solution included installing Bluetooth beacons on school premises, which became problematic in a pandemic. With Covid-19 cases increasing, we realized that organizations would need ways of securely monitoring the health of their communities – something that had not been done before. This occurred to us when we went to a business meeting and were confronted with paper forms asking about our symptoms! We immediately realized paper forms would not work at scale and decided to provide a better solution.
“Fast-forward to today and we now have more than 140 schools across 20 U.S. states using MyMedBot.”
What were the main challenges in achieving this, technically speaking, in terms of human resources?
We needed to quickly hire an experienced full-time web and mobile developer to make this happen. One of our close friends, previously the CTO in a startup, had just lost his job due to Covid-19. This meant that he was ready and willing to start working with us immediately. It was a sprint! However, we were fortunate enough to be able to guide our product decisions by the needs of school nurses, a group whom we were speaking with on a daily basis. The product released on August 1st was fit-for-purpose and helped schools from day one.
It is not enough to simply release a product – you also need to have the team to ensure great customer support and further grow as a business. For this reason, we rapidly expanded our team which is now pushing our business forward! Our customers are relieved by the support offered and that is precisely thanks to our passionate and capable team.
Based and developed in Luxembourg, you were initially targeting the American market (where you come from). What are the first results of your development? How are you doing, commercially speaking?
How we ended up addressing the US market is also an interesting story! Initially, we thought a variant of our product could be used closer to home in Luxembourg. That all changed when a local school nurse who we have known for years put us in touch with her colleague in Switzerland, who was coordinating an international forum for nurses. Apparently, there were hundreds of American school nurses who had joined the forum looking for advice on school re-openings. The Swiss nurse posted our one-pager on the forum’s group chat and within one week we got 50 inquiries!
That was back in May. Fast-forward to today and we now have more than 140 schools across 20 U.S. states using MyMedBot. This is all in the span of 6 weeks from launch.
“As a health-tech business, with in-depth market knowledge, we were able to respond quickly and create a critical product for schools”.
What are the next steps?
We will continue to listen closely to our customers and improve our solution with their feedback – but also with our new ideas. We remain focused on bringing health protocols into this century! What we have developed is, at its core, a very effective communication and surveying tool for communities. This means that we can continue bringing value to schools post-Covid, but also that other establishments can benefit from our solution. Very recently a health club chain and a restaurant chain signed up with us.
In your opinion, how does this Covid crisis create new opportunities for startups?
Covid has changed the rules of the game for businesses. All companies now must be able to adapt to sudden change quickly. For any startup which finds an opportunity in this crisis, there may be ten that fail. It is important to stay humble and acknowledge that. As a health-tech business, with in-depth market knowledge, we were able to respond quickly and, with a bit of luck, a lot of sweat and a great team, create a critical product for schools who, just a few months ago, did not know they needed that product.