January 6, 2023: How do you Angel Invest anyways?
Plus: we meet an interesting organization, launch new content and more
What is KeyOps?
KeyOps is an insights and engagement platform that breaks down the communication barriers between life science companies (i.e. pharma and medical device manufacturers) and healthcare providers to enable better, real-time decision-making for medical affairs, marketing, and sales teams. Through a trusted and compliant digital platform, customers can build and manage on-demand relationships with a diverse, influential community of key opinion leaders and medical experts. When key stakeholders collaborate and exchange valuable insights, healthcare improves for everyone.
What is the insight/reason that you launched this business?
Discussions with life science companies and physicians, along with co-founders’ personal experiences, significant barriers to effective collaboration and knowledge exchange between healthcare professionals and industry were identified. Physicians find it challenging and inconvenient to participate in traditional advisory boards, surveys and consultancy opportunities. Life science companies struggle to get physician response rates, experience significant time delays and have to cobble together fragmented tools and data sets to understand the market.
How has it been received by the market? Why do you think it has been so well received?
Physicians love using our platform because engagements are quick and easy to commit to. They are much shorter (15 mins or less) than competitor engagements (30+ mins) without all of the hassle and paperwork that generally comes with competitor platforms. Additionally, via KeyOps, they get to maintain an arms-length relationship with the industry.
Our NPS scores with Physicians are on par with tech titans like Apple and Google. Our life science clients love that they can tap into medical experts that are challenging for them to reach on a timely basis. They value the quick turnaround of insights relative to our competitors to make timely business decisions and improve healthcare outcomes.
How did you know you were ready to found a company?
There are a number of competitors in this space, but their approaches are stuck in the dark ages and customers are still experiencing the same old problems: low physician engagement, long time delays, fragmented tools, and dated technology. Our view is that the timing is right for a new and modern approach to pharma-physician engagement. KeyOps is the first and only player to take an innovative physician-centric approach.
What has been the hardest thing on your journey so far?
Fundraising in 2022 took much longer and was much harder than we expected. Now that it is behind us, we are looking forward to taking our company to the next level.
What has been the most pleasant surprise?
The overwhelming positive response we received from our customers on the value of our product offering.
What are you trying to achieve over the next 12 months?
1) expanding our business into the US market
2) building out our team in the areas of product development, marketing, and sales
*Check out their careers site to learn more
What advice do you wish you had been given prior to launching?
The good time founders and startups experienced in 2021 was a bubble about to burst!
You just announced a fundraise in a difficult environment, how did the round come together?
It’s important to leverage your network of potential investors to stay connected. This holds true whether or not you are in a difficult environment. By doing some homework and asking the right questions, strong investment partners with a clear vision in the health tech space surfaced. There are many investment partners with good fit out there, but we worked hard to seek those who are a great fit. It’s not just funding we were seeking, but health tech expertise and connections as well. In the end, we found the perfect partners in Graphite Ventures, Velocity Fund, and StarForge, an ArchangelNetwork fund.
What is the advantage / disadvantage of starting a health tech company in Canada?
There are numerous resources available to help startups including Government funding (SRED, IRAP, etc), incubators like MaRS, a strong talent market, and a vibrant health-tech ecosystem. The disadvantage is that many investors/investment partners are looking to the US as the ‘big prize’ and will push you in that direction. The key is balancing growth and experience with the timing to launch in the US.
What is the one thing the Toronto tech ecosystem does well? What can be improved?
The Toronto tech ecosystem has a strong talent network. We have some of the best and brightest developers, engineers, designers, and product leaders in North America. As a community, we need to leverage this talent to build and foster great Canadian companies that are globally recognized and industry-defining.
Who are the 5 Canadian startups you admire in healthtech?
Blue Charm - a digital health platform that helps to improve the patient experience and drive better outcomes
ODAIA - ODAIS's AI-powered platform leverages a proprietary analytics engine to help pharma companies prospect, qualify and engage HCPs, which helps reduce patients' time to therapy
League - built to enable connected and helpful personal healthcare experiences
AbCellera Biologics - they partner with drug developers of all sizes to push therapeutic programs forward and fight disease
Deep Genomics - they are at the forefront of enabling a new approach to drug development through AI
Who are the two Canadian companies you admire outside your market?
How did you get started?
The company was bootstrapped by the founders who leveraged their physician networks and industry contacts to test the business model and concepts. After building out a successful MVP and recruiting a network of physicians, we were able to secure ourfirst few projects.
How did you find your co-founders?
Our physician co-founders knew each other through their time in training and connected with the rest of the founding team through connections with investors and their network.
How did you get your first customer?
Our initial project came from a connection to a life science partner that was familiar with our co-founders and had a specific need to gain insights in the gastroenterology space. After seeing our product, the quality of our physician network, and our value propositions of better and faster insights, they quickly signed up to do a paid pilot project.
What is the long-term vision?
Our vision is to enhance healthcare by driving the digital transformation of insights and knowledge exchanged between HCPs and life science companies.
Interesting metrics (number of customers, growth in the last year, etc)
We work with 17 leading life science companies and have thousands of expert physicians across North America using our platform.
Who are your customers and how do you help them?
We have two customer groups. The first is our physicians who complete engagements and get paid an honorarium for their expertise in patient care. The second is life science companies we help answer big questions in terms of go-to-market strategy, forecasting, and marketing/sales strategy iterations.
What is your biggest victory? What setback(s) did you overcome?
Landing our tenth pharmaceutical customer was a big milestone for us. The customer was one of the largest independent biopharma companies in the world. To us, it meant that we were on a strong path to solving the classic start-up problem/market fit equation. The win took us about 6 months and required us to:
1) acquire new relationships with key decision-makers and influencers in this very large account
2) rebuild our messaging to fit their business priorities
3) outhustle an entrenched competitor
What are the highlights of working at your company?
At KeyOps, we are human first. This means having an enjoyable, vibrant work environment where your skills and experiences are valued. We embrace the power of diversity within our team and in our network of healthcare practitioners. You are empowered with autonomous decision-making and encouraged to dig deep and ask ‘why’. We encourage experimentation, learning, and growth. KeyOps is a hybrid working environment where you have the flexibility to decide where you are most productive. When you are meeting with your teammates in person, you can enjoy our state-of-the-art waterfront facility in downtown Toronto.
Anything else you would like to highlight about your company?
KeyOps is growing! We are expanding our physician network across the United States and are ramping up our marketing, product development, and sales teams. We’ve closed our seed round financing and are looking for individuals who share in our vision to redefine HCP engagement and want to build more inclusive, collaborative, and smarter products for physicians and life science companies.
Check out their careers site if you are interested in joining their mission and learning more about KeyOps: https://www.keyops.io/careers
Quick Takes Returns on January 12
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Top Headlines and Content
- #ICYMI - Catch up on past newsletters if you hadn't yet subscribed!
- A brand new Founders Journey Series - LISTEN HERE
- How to Angel Invest - LISTEN HERE
- Tech cuts continue in Canada - READ MORE
- Calling all 2SLGBTQIA+ Founders - READ HERE
- #ICYMI - We featured an interesting take in Wednesday's newsletter on Shopify's recent approach to team meetings in 2023 - READ HERE
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Events and Links
Check out the interesting content, events, and happenings for the community here:
- TechTO Together | Toronto: January 16, 2023 - Kick-off 2023 with us! - REGISTER HERE
- TechTO Together | Montreal: January 31, 2023 - Join us LIVE from Montreal and kick off the year with the Montreal tech ecosystem - REGISTER HERE
- TechTO Together | Toronto: February 6, 2023 - Announcements coming soon! - REGISTER HERE
- TechTO Talent | Virtual | February 22, 2023 - Meet and mingle with top tech talent and employers hiring now! REGISTER FOR FREE
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