Robert Niichel is the CEO and Founder of SmartTab, the first ever wireless technology on drug delivery system. It’s a medical breakthrough in the form of an ingestible capsule that works primarily to deliver medication exactly when the patients need it, and where they need it.
In this episode of the HealthTech Hustle, Bob shares how his company made a difference in the lives of patients by making innovation and technology work together. The company’s mission is to create better patient outcomes, so tune in and find out exactly how this mission is coming into fruition.
“...you have to start with the endgame in mind, and it works back from that. If you do that, and you execute properly and fill in all the space you need with good people, you will be successful.”- Robert Niichel [21:47]
What is your background? [01:04]
Bob started out in the pharmaceutical space and spent several years working on the delivery system of prescription drugs and medicines. With the fast emergence of wireless technology, he saw the potential of it moving further forward and that’s when the idea of SmartTab was conceived. He built this company as a platform technology designed to enhance the delivery system of prescribed drugs and medicines by utilizing wireless technology.
The idea is to have a basic platform and out of this base, multiple technology platforms branch out and communicate to one another wirelessly to several target areas using an electronic system. Patients ingest a capsule and this capsule is released to target areas to treat specific diseases by releasing active ingredients. The goal of this technology is to make patients and medical workers' jobs easier and more efficient.
It has been a prevalent concern about how untimely intake of prescribed drugs is causing more problems in the health of patients and is an impediment to the desired time of recovery from diseases. The capsule platform becomes a breakthrough solution to address this concern.
With COVID on the rise, this technology is a timely and reliable aid that is sure to offer huge support not only to the patients but more so to the health care workers who mostly got their hands tied on treating patients while adhering to precautionary and safety measures.
How did he identify the problem in healthcare and the first steps he took to offer solutions? [03:58]
He noticed that larger companies lack innovation and are being left behind in the area of technology revolution as more and more people focus on bringing innovative solutions to the market. Being in the pharmaceutical space, he used a combination of the skills he has - Science skills, business skills, and pharmaceutical skills to bring innovative technologies to the market. He saw this as an opportunity to start his own company. He went outside the pharmaceutical space and leveraged on technology to start on a company that allows people to live better lives.
How did you get the word out about your company and reached the people you wanted to reach? [07:02]
He joined different health care conferences and conventions and when COVID hit, he used LinkedIn and other social media platforms to promote and market his company’s missions and services. He and his team collaborated on creating content and posts to create awareness and simply to educate the patients on how their company can add value to their lives.
How did he put his team together? [17:48]
He looked for people on start-ups who have the mindset that he has and people who can figure things out. He chose people who have the attitude that is hands-on, and with lots of initiative. He believes that having this kind of person when your company is only starting is critical because they will attract people who are similar. He hired people very much like himself. People who live up to the mission and vision of the company.
What are some of the problems that he faced as a CEO? [14:21]
Being a CEO requires wearing different kinds of hats. There are a lot of things on his plate that he needed to spend time on. The challenge is being bogged down by the details that eventually distracts him and makes him lose sight of the most important things.
What advice would he give to people who want to start their own company? [22:52]
You will have internal failures. Things don’t go your way sometimes and so you adjust. Don’t look at it as failure, look at it as a learning experience. Move on because at the end of the day, how well you can learn from those that don't work is what matters. Take those learning experiences. The faster you can move and adjust the better.
What advice would he give to his 20 year old self? [27:30]
Set your goals high, set a plan and strategy to execute on your goals and obtain your goals and get what you want. Just make sure everybody else gets what they want first.
Robert Niichel answers the rapid-fire round of questions. [26:36]