Ryan Whitham is the CEO and co-founder of Papercurve, a cloud-based company that simplifies
professional reviews for regulated industries including pharmaceuticals and cannabis.
In this episode of Health Tech Hustle Podcast, Ryan talks about his journey in design and product
management and his eventual healthcare tech entrepreneurship journey. He shares how he and his
partners identified a problem in the market and the step by step strategy they used to get it from just an
idea to a working business.
Listen in to learn how to create a consumer-friendly software product while bettering it based on
“Don’t try to be everything to everyone, focus on who your customer is.”- Ryan Whitham [10:33]
The importance of being diverse-skilled co-founders [1:06]
He has a background in user experience and graphic design and has always been a creative person who
likes solving problems. He started in agencies after school and worked in a large bank in Canada. He
then switched into a product manager which was more challenging with a lot more responsibilities. He
later partnered with two more people to go do his own startup. They each had different skills which
included his design, tech, and healthcare because that was a great combination for the startup.
How to manage a product [2:29]
He takes care of the higher-level executive responsibilities and all aspects of the business. He, however,
takes a seat in the product management and design. He ensures that the product is taking the right
direction, it is solving people’s problems, and it is getting better.
How to validate an idea into a business [3:27]
One of his co-founders worked in the pharmaceuticals and had noticed a problem with people dealing
with too many systems. It was just an idea and did not know how to validate it form start to finish. He
read a book written by Google investors where he actualized the step by step idea in a boardroom with
five people. At the end of the day, they discovered that the problem would be solved by software. He
describes the process of how they scaled that hypothesis and started what is now a business. They now
operate with a team of seven people and have contractors and try to keep it all a cohesive team.
How to operate a product based on customer feedback [9:09]
They have two areas where they get feedback, with the first one being the sales channels. The second
one is from the users themselves who have a lot of influence since they’re still a small company. Their
customers give a lot of feedback every few weeks where they try to understand their problems and pain
better. They have narrowed their audience which works for them without being everything to everyone.
How to put systems and processes together [11:34]
He explains how they make and get the word out about changes in the software.
The learning curve of entrepreneurship [13:05]
They had small bugs on the software in the beginning, but the major problem was with their software
PDF viewer which was a pain for people. The process took months for something they would have
started with but he insists it wasn’t a failure but rather a learning curve.
Learning to create a consumer-friendly software [16:10]
He wants to make the software easy for the consumer- something that works for them.
How to create a working product within a short time [17:17]
Do not go overboard with the minimum viable product because many things go into creating a business
that you will learn in the process. Take as little time as possible to create software and get things rolling
with your business.
How to expand a network from ground zero [19:14]
He started at zero network but looked up to companies that had the same customers like them. This
strategy worked for them by giving information on what they needed. He mentions other strategies they
used to get people’s attention and see what works and doesn’t work.
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