The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week announced that an “unprecedented” number of healthcare workers are infected with the deadly Ebola virus, raising questions about resource allocation and global health crisis management. The WHO cited shortages of personnel, scarcity and misuse of protective equipment, and medics working far more than the number of hours deemed safe.
Crisis management of this scale is one of the applications that Seattle-based startup BoldIQ aims to tackle with its software. The company harnesses real-time data to help organizations like the WHO create optimal response plans under complex and variable conditions.
“We can more efficiently manage the allocation of scarce resources such as medications, doctors, first responders, test teams and hospital beds,” said CEO Roei Ganzarski.
The software startup was originally founded in 2008 as an optimization engine for the air carrier DayJet, an operation that offered on-demand jet travel. The platform was designed to support the complex world of air taxi, which operates under constantly changing customer demands, unpredictable environments, and a variety of legal and operating constraints.
After DayJet suspended its operations, the BoldIQ team sought broader applications for its software. They continue to work with private jet carriers but their customer base has expanded to include ground transportation and drones as well.
“A million things change every single second of every minute and every hour,” Ganzarski said. “Given that, the simulation changes every time. So we answer the basic question, given everything I know right now, what can I do?”
We caught up with Ganzarski for this installment of Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Our software creates the best possible operating plans for you in real-time, taking all your data into account including resources, demand, costs, rules, and constraints.”
Inspiration hit us when: “It hits us every day when we see that many operations struggle through making ongoing real-time intelligent decisions while trying to take into account massive amounts of changing data — and that we have a proven solution for it.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Angel because as long as we can, we prefer dealing with individuals that make decisions based on their own timeline and expectations.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Just that — secret. And we do it better and faster than anyone else.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focus on proving our software and solutions in one industry — in our case business aviation — before moving on to the next.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “One of the mistakes we’ve made is to underestimate the value of what the product brings. There’s a group of people that continuously try to solve these problems as they come up, so they have very stressful jobs. The customers who use our software literally push a button and it tells them what to do, so it created a much less stressful environment. That’s something we never even thought of, so I’d say one of the biggest mistakes was not looking at the third and fourth derivative of the value in our ability to go to market.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: First of all I don’t know that I would want Jobs at our company — that would be a little spooky. As for the other three, can I ask for them all? If so, I’d want Gates for his guidance in applying our solutions towards the greater good — optimizing the use and distribution of educational and medical resources worldwide. I would ask Zuckerberg for his counsel on continuing to make our software easy to use, and I’d ask Bezos to support us in disrupting industries and decision making processes as they are today.
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Our world domination has already started and will continue as more and more people realize that they can take advantage of sophisticated technologies to help them make better and faster decisions”
Rivals should fear us because: “Our solutions actually work and provide value to our customer.”
We are truly unique because: “Our optimization engine is able to take all your data, rules, and objectives into account and create a plan you can actually take action on in the time that you need it.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Continuing to provide a challenging and interesting environment along with a decent living for our employees while being surrounded by a lot of other great companies.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Throughout the good times and bad ones — and there will be plenty bad ones — make sure you are always treating everyone with dignity, and having fun!”