Welcome to our new weekly CEO Q&A series with early stage SaaS CEO’s. Our mission at Forum Ventures is to build a world class SaaS focused community and as part of that goal, we want to provide short and helpful content for early stage SaaS founders through these posts.
This week, we interviewed Nathan Klarer, CEO of BridgeCrest Medical. BridgeCrest Medical is a SaaS platform that connects innovative mobile health technologies with proprietary health analytics to drive productivity improvements, reduced onsite accidents and insurance cost reductions for heavy industry around the globe. They are working with the some of the world’s largest resource companies and establishing themselves as the leading platform for driving business benefits and saving lives across heavy industries.
You recently brought on two new members to the team, what skills and characteristics did you look for in candidates at this early stage?
I think there are two main sets of criteria for hiring employees in an early-stage business.
The first set is company-wide and has to do with the fact that these early employees are your “lieutenants” who will be building core teams underneath them. Therefore, you have to trust their abilities to navigate adversity, set goals, manage a team and drive their KPIs to completion. You are broadly looking for 10x players with outstanding leadership skills. As a young company, you need to identify hiring market inefficiencies and individual interests that compel people like this to work for your company and not a company like Google.
The second comes down to ensuring that they have the skills and personality for their specific role. I once spoke to an engineering hiring manager who recommended you hire engineers with outside technical interests: open source projects, hackathons or even cooking. Activities like these show both the right skills and personality.
These days we live in an economy where small groups of individuals in the right creative environment can create exceptional value (think Instagram). You want to make sure that your hires will contribute to creating this type of environment.
Selling into heavy industries can be a long sales cycle, how have you been able to create urgency?
We’ve worked a lot as a team on framing our business in ways that are intuitive to our clients and conveying that we offer a long-term partnership rather than a quick sale. The problems we help them solve — such as predicting which drivers are most at risk for accidents while driving mining trucks at night — are naturally hot-button issues. Our job is to establish ourselves as experts and give our customers confidence that we can solve their problems. After building that trust, the rest comes naturally.
What are your company’s goals for growth over the next year?
Over the next year I think two key products will drive growth: Fatigue Management (using wearable devices to prevent fatigue-related accidents) and Infectious Disease Management (integrating next-generation diagnostic tools, mobile apps, and predictive analytics to prevent outbreaks). We believe we can achieve significant mindshare in the largest 20% of mining companies in 2015. While partnering directly with larger customers, we will work with channel partners to bring the solution to the rest of the mass market. By the end of the year we see the company broadening its focus to also help transportation and oil companies with these same issues. To sustain this growth, we’re focused on building a strong team driven by solid values and agile collaboration.
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