This week, our featured tech start-up is RYPL, a new med-tech venture that has relocated from California to Dublin, as it’s now engaged in the Startupbootcamp start-up accelerator in the Irish capital.
RYPL was set up in New York in 2010, when the three co-founders decided to come up with a new way for medical professionals to capture patient information.
The people behind the venture are Patricia Lopez, who is also CEO; her cousin Ryan Lopez, an engineer; and Han Lee, a neurologist.
New era for patient information
Via RYPL, which incidentally is a play on the word ‘ripple’, the trio have designed a tablet and application for doctors and medical professionals to document patient information while they are on the move, ie, doing hospital rounds.
Patricia Lopez says the idea for RYPL arose about a year and a half ago when Ryan Lopez and Han Lee came to her with an idea to evolve and disrupt the way doctors record patient information.
"At that time, Ryan was working as a medical device design engineer for a medical company and Han was a medical resident struggling with the limitations of current patient documentation solutions. Their idea was to create an integrated hardware and software experience that is fast, mobile and adaptable for doctors who are constantly capturing and managing their patients’ information," explains Lopez.
Having set up the first online accounting service in the Philippines called LFC Solutions, Patricia Lopez already had an entrepreneurial background. She says she was on the lookout for new ideas when the opportunity to set up RYPL was presented to her, so the timing was perfect.
"We’re driven by our passion to improve healthcare with technology and give doctors and all medical professionals the tools that help them be better caregivers," says Lopez.
Flagship product – NotesFirst
The start-up’s first flagship product is NotesFirst. So just how is RYPL aiming to give the area of patient information processing a technological facelift?
Lopez says that via NotesFirst doctors can capture patient information on a secured tablet and application designed for mobile productivity.
"We feel this unique approach to capturing and managing patient information will revolutionise the medical marketplace. By empowering doctors to capture notes and critical information at the point-of-care, doctors can focus more time with patients and less time on documentation," she explains.
And the trio also have plans to tether NotesFirst to a cloud service so doctors will eventually be able to access patient information anytime, anywhere.
So how did RYPL manage to get selected for the three-month start-up accelerator Startupbootcamp Dublin, which is run by Eoghan Jennings, a partner with Parklane Capital and the former chief financial officer of XING? "It was pure luck!’ says Lopez. "I think we were the wild-card pick. Eoghan and the Startupbootcamp team of mentors and advisers really took a chance on us and we are so grateful for their mentorship and guidance. I also think they saw our passion and desire to be coached and to learn and execute as quickly and as leanly as possible," she says.
The company had been entirely self-funded before being accepted into Startupbootcamp Dublin, but Lopez says RYPL was fortunate to have had mentors at every stage of its growth, even prior to the company being formed.
"Getting into Startupbootcamp has definitely helped us meet more mentors and advisers," she adds.
And, as with most start-ups, there have been a few challenges along the way, as Lopez can attest.
"We are definitely experiencing many typical start-up challenges, like marketing, funding, product development and building our team. But I’d say for us marketing has been the most challenging. From gathering market intelligence to validation, we have experienced and continue to experience interesting challenges as we build our market data," she explains.
In the main, getting face time with doctors can be very difficult, according to Lopez.
"I’ve waited in waiting rooms for many hours just to get a five-minute discussion with a doctor. I’ve also been threatened to be removed by security by a few office managers. But once I do get that face time with a doctor, I’m still so amazed to learn of their documentation pain and it keeps me motivated to be out there to meet more medical professionals," she adds.
Dublin’s tech scene
With RYPL having just embarked on the Startupbootcamp in the heart of Dublin’s technology hub on Barrow Street, how is the team finding the city’s business climate?
Says Lopez: "The tech scene in Dublin is vibrant and there is a great sense of community with start-ups. You can even feel the zeal for entrepreneurship from the big companies like Google!"
And her advice for new tech start-ups in Ireland right now? "Having a strong diverse team is truly important," explains Lopez. "As a start-up, you will go through a lot of challenges and experiences and it’s important that you work with people you trust, respect, and love. You should have teammates with differing backgrounds, experiences, and skills. You will find that this will allow you to learn and execute faster," she affirms.