Paul Foster who heads up Skylan Recruitment Ltd speaks to Kit Latham, co- founder of Credentially joined us on our DigiTech Leaders Series to give us the answers.
0:51 What inspired you to set up a DigiTech company?
I trained as a Doctor, I worked in accident and emergency and when you’re practicing in that environment, seconds are really important and what I found was, often when you’re practicing you’re really slowed down, either by slow processes or bureaucracy or administration or very poor software. So poor digital tools, I was really frustrated by that because often you’re practicing in an environment where it is literally life of death sometimes and I was really frustrated by that lack of efficiency. So I went back and did a Masters in using technology improve healthcare and I met my co-founder there. He had experience on working on large health software projects and also the international bone marrow donor matching algorithm. A really smart guy, and we both bonded over the poor state of most medical software and the bureaucratic nature of healthcare and we both really wanted to do something about that. So, we initially entered a couple of business competitions, we won those, we entered a pretty competitive, accelerator for tech starters, got a place there and that really was the genesis of our company and how it got started.
2:26 How did you decide on your product and tell us about what your platform does?
Sure, so we had this idea, in any health system in the world whether it’s America, Burkina Faso, whatever it is, the biggest cost is always staffing and so we really had this idea that it’s the staff, the staff time is very important, it’s very valuable and also making sure that those staff are looked after is really important. So, we had this idea of, rather than focusing on the clinical side of things where we could make some improvements when it’s a very challenging commercial environment, we knew that lots of the providers that we were speaking with all time had very very outdated methods for doing really basic but really necessary work around HR compliance, signing up new staff members. So we started to work with a few of them on a project to see if we could automate much of that process to signing up a new clinician, keeping them compliant with the regulation, making sure they were trained, they read all the policies, all of that and using machine learning to try and really speed that up.
3:39 Would you say your end client essentially would be the primary care trust or who is the end client?
Potentially, yeah, so anyone that’s providing health services is a client of us and also people who are providing recruitment services to healthcare. So staffing agencies that provide healthcare staff and anyone really that has to take a staff member from first contact they have with them to being fully validated and safe to work with patients and then keeping them compliant throughout the year.
4:08 With the emergence of a lot of healthtech platforms, how would you say Credentially is different or unique?
I’d say what makes us special is that we are a software company first and foremost, so there’s lots of healthtech that are looking to be either a provider themselves or they’re looking to provide agency services. What we’re looking to do, is to really own and become excellent at onboarding compliance and ongoing management of those staff. And so really what we see ourselves as being is a tech specialist in that. So what we want to do with those other digital help platforms is actually to work with them. We don’t want ourselves to do everything. We just want to be the best at what we do and I think we’ve achieved that.
5:18 In terms of the growth journey, where did you come from, where you are now and where do you want to go, what’s the vision for the business?
We started the business in April 2016. Since then, we built a couple of prototypes and one had really strong interest from the industry, we got some initial traction, raised an initial crowdfunding round. Mostly, from the clinical staff and doctors, interestingly. We then used that funding to begin the scale up of our product do some further iterations. and then recently, we attracted a couple of high quality investors that wanted to do a seed round. Closed that seed round in August and now we’re using those funds to really grow quickly. So, we’re scaling up our team and we’re looking to scale the product firstly in the UK, but ultimately the plan for the business and what I’ve got my eye in the near future is expanding the product to different countries, particularly in the United States, Australia, Canada and possibly some countries in the Middle East.
6:43 In terms of putting a timeline against that, what are we talking?
The plan is over the next 15 months to scale up our operations in the UK. Part of that time will be spent fundraising to scale up the business in the US, that will be separate fundraise from US based investors as well as our existing investors. So that’s sort of a timeline, this 15 month period is really focused on the UK market and after that it’s internationalization.
7:26 How would you describe the culture of the business?
I think we have a very open culture. When people disagree with me, I expect them to tell me and they do. We all share the same office, so it’s not so people sort of going off into a huddle and whispering. Everybody knows what’s going on, they have a stake in it. We have an office dog, Tom, he’s a lot of fun. What we want is a friendly, informal, but motivated and productive working environment. We’ve also half of our team is based out of Belarus as well, my business partner Artem and his wife Julia who works for the business, they’re both from Belarus. A lot of development work actually happens over there. It’s really an interesting place, we sometimes go out there for our company events. We took them all out kayaking not so long ago, which was awesome and we plan to be out there in the summer again for a big corporate party.
8:44 Why do people join your business and why do they stay?
I think what most people see in our product, particularly if they have had any experience with the healthcare industry or in HR tech in general can see that what we’ve got is something special. It’s that really, that kind of special products and special technology that’s allowed us to enter a very difficult to enter a market that’s very competitive. And to get meetings with some of the biggest players in the UK in terms of providers and recruitment providers. I think the technology is a big part of it. I think the culture, we really care about nurturing our staff. We’ve worked with interns, really high quality people that have then gone on to do investment banking, get health policy jobs, work for really good consultancy firms. We really take developing our people seriously, I think that we try to have fun and we treat people with respect.
10:09 What’s your take on developing and really improving staff and the skills and knowledge?
Well working as you know, from our interaction together. I like to read a lot from the best practice in the industries, from the people that have been really successful at doing what is that they’re trying to do, so whatever that’s scaling a sales operation or doing really creative marketing. As a team, we went to work summit, we went to the SaaStr conference, both of which were incredible learning opportunities and really productive for us and a lot of fun as well. So education and training are the kind of books. I buy my team a lot of books. A lot of audiobooks as well. We also have a training package that we use from SaaStr that’s really really good. Really high quality i think and then I think on top of that, it’s just closely working with people in kind of where appropriate. It’s useful mentoring people. So I think most people want to do a good job, they want to feel their skills getting better every time. They don’t want to feel that they’re stagnating. And I find that very motivating, too. So I think that’s what we try and do.
Check out other DigiTech Leaders Series here: https://skylanrecruitment.co.uk/blog/