Pete Saunders is a digital and brand strategist with expertise in visual communication.
Pete is the co-founder/CEO of Health Delivered, leading a small team in building a platform to help dietitians manage at-risk Australians. Recently he represented Australia at [email protected] Global, showcasing Australian innovation at St James Palace in the UK and won the Pausefest Pitchfest!
To supplement this endeavour, he is currently the Digital Strategy Lead at W3 Digital. Recently he was worked with clients such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Australian Catholic University and The Royal Women’s Hospital.
Other clients include Mercedes-Benz, GMHBA Health Insurance, Selmar Institute of Education, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, The University of Tasmania, Almond Breeze and Sabco.
Pete also founded Undercoat in late 2011 as a way to explore the breadth of creative education opportunities available around the world, producing 11 magazines, two exhibitions and sharing the work of over 500 artists around the world. Now he works exclusively in health and education, with a focus on systematic redesign and the implementation of digital products and services.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
In July, 2015 an aged care hackathon was run by HealthXL International and IBM Australia-New Zealand. It was aimed at solving key challenges in caring for the elderly.
Participants included students from The University of Melbourne, RMIT, La Trobe and Swinburne, health professionals from Bupa, and IBM’s range of corporate bodies. They were supported by expert judges and mentors who were there to offer advice and expertise and ultimately pick the winners. 18 teams competed and at the end of the weekend, Health Delivered was deemed the winner of the malnutrition category.
At the core of the Health Delivered team were three friends and colleagues from a health-tech start up. They were united by the understanding that health is a common denominator and is a very complex field that requires an interdisciplinary approach to tackle a range of issues. Inspired by the interest towards their idea, they recognised that they had the opportunity to create something that could benefit every Australian.
Since that time, the core team have been actively involved in progressing Health Delivered. They have invested both time and personal funds in the company, with a view to launch in early 2017.
Could you explain your business model to us?
Dietitians are the initial customer as they are leading nutrition experts, forming part of a passionate, tightly knit and well networked community that are dedicated to making a difference for their clients. The concept for the product was generated at HealthXL by dietitians who identified common problems that required technology solutions
The initial product was then designed around this professional group, bringing credibility to the product. We believe the industry is ripe for disruption given the heavy reliance on paper based tools and traditional reactive rather than proactive communication models.
The Health Delivered platform will help dietitians increase their client contact time, client load, the quality of their service delivery and their feedback mechanisms. It also acts as a quality control tool for larger practices to ensure equitable and safe dietary management. Most of all, it will help dietitians provide better dietary management to Australians.
The market size is 5000+ dietitians in Australia and 250,000+ worldwide. On average dietitians service 40 clients per month and the Health Delivered platform could increase this to 60-80 per month within the same time frames. It reduces much of the “back of office” unpaid work that dietitians do by manually developing and manipulating menu plans for individual clients or different disease conditions.
Future markets include the 6000 registered nutritionists nationally, the 30,000 personal trainers, and 39,000 GP’s all who have a similar client reach. A “lite” version of the product can also be marketed directly to the public. Globalisation would require minor adaptation to the software allowing access to large international markets. With a critical mass, a new market in dietary patterns and food consumption practices will provide access to the data analytics markets.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
Currently we are working on our seed funding, with a view to kicking off major development in early March. Our four month roadmap aims to put an MVP in the hands of dietitians in June.
From there, our roadmap is the most exciting as we build out features, implement an optimisation algorithm and integrate with wearable and medical devices.
How do you make ideas happen?
Our team is made up of people from all different backgrounds and we work entirely collaboratively. That means that whether we have a business, technology or user experience decision to make, we each have our input and thoughts, before testing and validating our decisions. We follow general principles and best practice as frequently as possible and our process means we are not assuming anything on behalf of our customers.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
Mentors are everything. We have an incredible range of advisors and mentors. I chose them specifically for their backgrounds, expertise and interest in the area. They are always happy to discuss ideas, make introductions or offer advice. The success of a business cannot be reliant on one person and the opportunity to learn from the best is something I have relished.
What does your typical day look like?
As much as the cliché exists, there is no typical day. A lot of it is doing admin — following up on emails, doing media outreach, writing back to enquiries. The rest is spent in business development by making sure our investor work is up to scratch and that we are hitting our internal deadlines. None of this would work without good planning tools, especially as our team is all remote at this stage, so a lot of the day is spent on Slack making sure work is progressing.
When not working on our company, I also consult, so a day in our office usually involves client feedback sessions, business development and strategy report writing. Whenever there is spare time, I am usually writing articles or presentations.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing an organisation in Australia?
Australia doesn’t have a great appetite for risk when it comes to start ups. It is improving, but for the most part funding is smaller and takes longer to come to fruition. The community is smaller, so relationships are everything.
We’re also trying to work out whether the incubator and accelerator model works well here, and how to retain talent on-shore. I don’t think these challenges will be different in the next couple of years.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
People talk, especially in Australia. Meet everyone and talk to everyone. You may not have an initial outcome, but somewhere down the track, that-person-you-met-that-one-time will be able to help. And don’t be afraid to give something back. Offer but don’t push.
What people, companies or organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry in Australia at the moment?
From a start up perspective, I think Cancer Aid are doing some really great stuff and getting some good tractions. I love the team and the way they have approached their ideas.
From a culture and development point of view, I am always impressed by a small development team in Melbourne called Common Code. They are always super professional, the team in amazing and they work with their clients to develop awesome products.
More broadly, I am impressed by the work of the Royal Women’s Hospital to transform their approach to a patient-first mentality. I am a big believer in systematic redesign in healthcare, and that comes from understanding both the needs of the patients and the providers, then implementing services and products that meet the challenges of both.
What about internationally?
The Texas Medical Centre is doing some great work in the healthcare and development space. Their accelerator program is world class.
I also follow the progress of Oscar Healthcare, who is trying to disrupt the health insurance sector with some great success.
As a network of innovation in healthcare, I think HealthXL are leading the way. Their impact is still yet to be truly communicated publicly, but their ambition and network is incredible.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
I think business has the major, leading role in social change. Over the last few years, I have observed that the mindset of “make money or do good, not both” has shifted. Social entrepreneurs, profit-for-purpose etc are all major changes to the business world.
I think the new generation of leaders, particularly businesses and start ups and not driven solely by money, but by impact. It’s those people that will affect social change and want to create something meaningful. This is probably the most revolutionary shift in the business world since the industrial revolution. Australia has a strong cohort, but internationally it is happening en-masse and with huge success.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
I sat on the board of Global Ideas (a global health charity) for two years and have always been impressed by their intentions and motivations.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
It’s still new, but I have high hopes for Social Change Central.
I used to work as a designer, so I would always head to Swiss Miss for a boost of inspiration.
As sad as it is, I usually get most of my news from Facebook, as I follow a bunch of pages that are relevant to my interests.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
I don’t spend much of my time on Twitter, however I would follow Mark Suster on Snapchat.
Are there any opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
As an early stage company, we have plenty we need!
Funding is a big need as we look to close out the seed round. We want to meet developers who want to work in health tech, and are comfortable with either incredibly complex databases, Django/Python, etc. We are also looking to increase our marketing capacity, so would be happy to chat to anyone looking to get involved early. Finally, we are a company developing a product for dietitians, so anyone working in the sector would be great for user testing and feedback.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc., what would it be?
When will the Australian ecosystem recognise that there is a vast difference between biotech, medtech and healthtech and develop support for funding and innovation for each accordingly?
What’s your favourite café?