Our start-up of the week is SwiftQueue Technologies, which is revolutionising hospital appointments and patient flow with the NHS in the UK and the HSE in Ireland.
The company is enabling more efficient patient-centred processes.
“SwiftQueue is an innovative healthcare ICT platform that allows hospital clinics to empower their patients through self-service functionality to meet the needs of hospitals and clinics to deliver on growing patient expectations and provide more efficient and accessible healthcare appointments,” explained SwiftQueue’s chief executive Brendan Casey.
SwiftQueue customers are hospitals and healthcare clinics, Casey said.
“The healthcare market is mature but also growing and our focus is on Ireland and UK and then internationally in Canada, the Middle East and Australia.
‘We will process 1m healthcare appointments across Ireland and the UK in 2015 and our sights are set on leveraging our recent investment to grow to 5m appointments in 2016’
– BRENDAN CASEY, SWIFTQUEUE
“Since 2011 we have used direct sales and referrals to engage with our customers and key influencers in healthcare. Our strategy has been to build a referenceable installed base of customers and create relevant case studies to engage with other customers with similar requirements.
“We have received excellent feedback to date and are generating a growing sales pipeline from customer referrals,” Casey said.
SwiftQueue was founded in 2011 by Brendan Casey, CEO and Declan Donohoe, CTO.
The SwiftQueue founders have a mix of business, IT and healthcare experience and are comfortable working with small clinics and large hospitals, leveraging a combination of 35-plus years’ experience.
Casey has founded two other start-ups in the past, including Idiro and Curach Technologies, which was acquired by Deloitte in 2010.
Donohoe has also founded two other start-ups, Irish Backgrounds, a pre-employment screening venture, and Unite Recruitment.
SwiftQueue is a cloud-based SaaS solution built on proven mobile and internet technologies within a secure framework allowing healthcare clinics to enable their patients to manage appointments online and improve patient flow while delivering operational excellence and improved resource usage and predictive models for demand forecasting.
“We keep in constant contact with our customers to ensure we continually develop our solution to meet their growing requirements and to simplify any repetitive tasks and continuous innovation,” Casey said.
“SwiftQueue has extensive experience of providing product and service innovation to meet customers’ needs within the healthcare industry and our short and long-term development roadmap is prioritised to meet with our customer requirements.”
The company’s founders are razor-focused on establishing SwiftQueue as the platform of choice within the NHS and HSE.
“We will process 1m healthcare appointments across Ireland and the UK in 2015 and our sights are set on leveraging our recent investment to grow to 5m appointments in 2016,” Casey said.
Fueling growth and investment in R&D
SwiftQueue recently raised a €550,000 syndicated investment. The funding round comprises of a €300,000 investment by Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund and the remaining €250,000 of the funds were provided by Enterprise Ireland.
“SwiftQueue will use this round of funding to drive growth in international markets and to fuel further investment in R&D,” Casey explained.
“We currently employ 11 people and are planning recruitment of key hires over the next 12 months to support our growth plans.”
“Like most start-ups we have had our fair share of challenges along the way but each time you have to learn the hard lessons and not make the same mistakes again,” Casey said.
“Selling to healthcare, one of our challenges is that our sales cycle can range from three months to over 12 months, but understanding our customers purchasing behaviour allows us to target our efforts and be ready to scale up when the time is right.
“Like every other start-up we know we are constantly on the look out for good people for both technical and business development roles.”
Casey said that being part of the start-up scene in Ireland is invigorating but, for all the successes, he has witnessed failures occur too. Despite this, there is a healthy attitude in the community towards learning from mistakes and failures.
“Over the last four years we have seen the growth of the Irish start-up scene, we have seen great energy and incentives promoting entrepreneurship and we have benefitted from our involvement with the Endeavour Programme in 2011 and DCU Ryan Academy in 2012 and we are currently residents of the Trinity Enterprise Centre.
“We have seen many startups succeed, grow and some have been acquired and that is great. But we have also seen those who didn’t succeed but who have gained valuable experience and that is one of the noticeable changes that there is a new understanding and acceptance that if you take a risk it might fail and if it fails for whatever reason valuable experience will be gained and entrepreneurs will be able to bounce back and take on new opportunities.”
Start with the first step, followed by another
Casey’s advice for other start-ups is to take the first step.
“On one of our recent NHS Hospital implementations we were one of three IT projects being implemented by three different Irish companies. Senior NHS management regularly commented that the Irish companies involved were leading the way in new product development, innovative solutions and all supported by first class implementation and support.
“So our advice to other self-starters is that the Irish start-up brand is good to take the first step, but work hard and deliver on your promises and don’t be afraid to ask other successful Irish companies for advice or lessons learnt.”