Today’s episode is a recording of a live fireside chat we had this past week in Indianapolis where we discussed the topic of “Trends in Digital Health”. Joining me on this special podcast episode are two absolutely amazing guests who have been in the Indy tech scene for a number of years and have entrepreneurial experience with a focus in the healthcare tech space. 

First up is David DeRam. David has been founding successful companies for almost 30 years across multiple sectors, including startups and finance, medical and nonprofit industries. Through his experience in digital health he has enabled countless hospitals, universities, research centers and pharmaceutical teams in 80 countries to manage complex genetic and clinical data and to bring key hereditary information to the electronic medical record record field. Today, he is the co-founder and CEO at Green Light guru, a healthcare company disrupting quality management in medical devices.

Joining him is Miles Sterrett. Miles is an entrepreneur with years of experience. He currently runs the Indianapolis Ruby Brigade and is now the Director of Engineering at Olio, where he leads an awesome group of software engineers to help physicians and post acute providers collaborate and improve patient outcomes. Tune in for more!

In this episode with David DeRam and Miles Sterrett, you’ll learn:

  • How David and Miles got started in the entrepreneurial space
  • What working at a health tech startup is all about
  • The challenges that most startups face and how to overcome them
  • How to scale and build a successful health tech startup
  • The opportunities and the future of health tech

Please enjoy this conversation with David DeRam and Miles Sterrett!


If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

David DeRam and Miles Sterrett quotes from this episode of Igniting Startups:

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Companies and organizations:


Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank David DeRam and Miles Sterrett on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have a few seconds to spare, let David and Miles know via Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Click here to say hi and thank them on Twitter!


What stood out most to you about what David DeRam and Miles Sterrett share in this podcast?

For me, it’s the opportunities and the future of health tech.

You? Leave a comment below.


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Episode Transcript

Matt Hunckler 00:13
I’m super excited because we have some amazing companies represented here. Hopefully you had a chance to talk to some of the exhibitors. And tonight I’m gonna get to talk to two of my favorite people in this tech community here, both in the healthcare industry. I’ve known them both for quite a long time, at least 710 years, both of them, and they’re working at some pretty amazing tech companies. So I want to dive right in. But first, I want to tell you a little bit about what we’re doing here tonight. This is a live version of our podcast. So back when we launched in 2017, Entrepreneur Magazine, named is one of the best podcast for entrepreneurs. We’ve since grown that to cover all of the tech in the middle of the country in communities like right here in Indianapolis, Nashville, Denver, Cincinnati, etc. And really excited because more than 5000 people listen to this podcast every month. It’s all about raising the awareness that tech does exist outside of Silicon Valley outside of New York, and some of the most important industries are being disrupted by the innovations happening in communities like this. So thank you for being a part of this. I also want to give a huge shout out to xo tech. Zotac is our headline sponsor, they’re in the very back back there. So tech, you want to raise your hand up so they can see you? Yeah, they’re awesome. Let’s give it up for as low tech. So one of the best kept secrets in town, they are doing some amazing things in healthcare. I’ll tell you a little bit about that later tonight. Or you can just go over there and talk to these guys. They’re amazing. They’re hiring a ton of tech, senior devs. All across various departments. So make sure you talk to these folks. I want to introduce my first guest. This person eifert first met when I brought him on stage. Actually, we had a meal one meal before I brought him on stage seven years ago at his previous company. He has a very storied bio. And I have to stay on script because if not, I will go way way off because I’ve spent a lot of time with this guy over the years. So I’m going to use my approved script. This. This guest has been founding successful companies for almost 30 years across multiple sectors, including startups and finance, medical and nonprofit industries. Through his experience in digital health, he has enabled countless hospitals, universities, research centers and pharmaceutical teams in 80 countries to manage complex genetic and clinical data, and to bring key hereditary information to the electronic medical record record field. Today, he is the co founder and CEO at Greenlight guru, we’re going to talk all about that on stage tonight, which is a healthcare company disrupting quality management in medical devices. Please help me welcome to stage my friend and leader here in the tech community CEO, Greenlight guru David Duran. All right, sir, you get the chair on the left.

We’re gonna stick to the script. Right? Sounds good to me.

Matt Hunckler 03:08
That’s good, because I don’t have one. All right. Yeah, let’s sit man, let’s settle in. So I’m really excited to talk to you on stage because you have such a story to tell. And David and I were talking the other night, and he was talking about a story. When someone on his team, he was meeting with a bunch of really important executives, which included customers, key customers, as well as prospects, all in a dinner and this employee put them on the spot in front of everyone who said, David has a toast to give. David did not have a toast to give. And the question he asked everyone to put them on the spot with is the same one I’m going to put you on the spot with right now. Which is why do you do what you do?

You want me to give a toast? Is that what you’re asking? Yeah,

Matt Hunckler 03:50
give the toast? Let’s raise our glasses. Before I

answer that. I want to do one thing real quick. So for the last 10 or 15 years, this guy has been tirelessly serving the tech community and putting me and founders and executives and startup founders in touch with each other and connecting them and inspiring them. So before we get started, let’s give this guy a round of applause. Let’s give him a standing ovation. Thanks, appreciate you so much. Thanks for having me here.

Matt Hunckler 04:19
Thank you, man. I appreciate it. And I knew I could not actually do a decent interview with you, you would not lead the charge. So I’m gonna I’m still gonna make you answer the question. I really appreciate that. That That means a lot to me. Why do you do what you do?

Well Oh, that reminds me. So Cory from blast media was interviewed me for a Forbes article and he connected a lot of dots. And as long as we’re talking about blast this has been a big day for Indiana when there was a record set for the largest webinar ever and blast media was named PR firm of the year. Let’s give it up for blast media.

Matt Hunckler 05:00
are you doing my sponsor shout outs now to

said, I love those guys at West media. So he said I looked at your background. And what I see is and I had never thought about this before is you’ve got the foundation where you work with at risk kids trying to help get into college. You’ve got the progeny was in healthcare IT as well. And then Greenlight guru is in healthcare IT. He said, I seems like the mission Greenlight groups improve the quality of life. But as I’ve been around you, it feels like what you’re trying to do is make people’s lives better. And when I’m doing that, I’m having fun. So that really is become a mission for me to improve the quality of people’s lives. And whether it’s helping a basketball kid get better and make it into the SEC, or working with somebody like a brand new hire a Greenlight guru and helping them through the training process. If we’re helping people and it’s in one of your big things is connect and Inspire, Inspire before inspiring people to be better. That is where I get recharged. That’s where my cup gets filled. And that’s what’s exciting to me.

Matt Hunckler 06:05
Well, I definitely want to dive in on sports, because I know sports has been a big influence on you, and really drives a lot of culture at Greenlight guru. But I want to I want to wine back a little bit and just ask you Do you remember when you first kind of felt that urge, particularly in healthcare, because I know before green light, you had progeny before that you were still kind of in the healthcare space? What was it? What was your kind of first memory of getting that itch that like this is where I want to spend my career,

it’s for healthcare, I started in consulting. So imagine a kid that’s 21 years old, that went to school on a financial need based scholarship. And I land my first position in Toshiba in Germany and Dusseldorf, you know, just complete culture shock, can’t speak the language. And it’s a pretty, it’s a pretty aggressive language, if you’ve ever been there, you’re a little intimidated by it to start with. So you find yourself in a beer garden, you know, banging back these beers and eating pretzels, and you’re completely, you know, out of out of touch with it. Then I moved to Toyota in Australia, Sagan and San Francisco, Simon Schuster in the UK, just these amazing companies that I was working with. And there was an oncologist that approached us and said, We’d really like to tie this visual piece to the data piece that no one’s ever been able to do this before. Would you guys be willing to do that? And with no idea how hard this was gonna be? Sure. Let’s leave this, you know, let’s jump out of this perfectly good airplane, let’s let’s leave this perfectly good consulting gig where everybody’s happy. And this is completely comfortable existence into the world of building a company.

Matt Hunckler 07:44
And was it actually that easy?

If you if you can do anything, this is the opposite of what people you want me to say. But if you can do anything else with your life, then start a software company then you should do that. Only the sick twisted demented people that have to do it should be the ones that actually do that. And I have mentors that you know, there’s there was an exit recently bigger than the exact target exit, who raise your hand if you’ve heard of Equine. 12345 only because he told me about it. There are 150 people in this room. Only five people have heard of the exit that was bigger than exact target, here in Indianapolis, here in Indianapolis. And he told me, never, ever what I this is a $3.2 billion transaction. Never in a million years, would I try to start something from the ground and move it up? It’s too hard. So put that in a perspective write a $3.2 billion transaction he never would I tried to get a plane off the ground.

Matt Hunckler 08:50
So I just want to get you on the record to confirm you are crazy.

Anyone that does it is crazy. Not just me. It’s hard.

Matt Hunckler 08:57
Yeah. Do you remember a time in the early days of that first startup when you hit

the wall? Like the first day?

Matt Hunckler 09:06
Well, take me back there. What happened?

There’s a great podcast out there with Edward Norton on the Tim Ferriss show and you know, Edward Norton’s made all these movies. And he says, it never gets easy, easier. It’s hard to raise money. It’s hard to get actors to do it. It’s you always feel like you’re half baked. Can you guys believe like that gave me a lot of confidence and thinking. He feels like it’s always half baked and it’s always bad. And somehow it all comes together in the end. So that’s how you feel in the first few days. You there’s a startup curve, have you seen that? It’s you go right to the peak and then there’s the trough of sorrows. And then the moment of ineptitude, right the all these points on the line where you just feel like the world is closing in on you but you have to have a certain amount of alligator blood and just keep digging it out of the dirt with your fingernails and, and you will get there it’s just it’s not it’s not as pleasant as A journey I think is some people want it to be. So I’ve

Matt Hunckler 10:02
heard you use that phrase before alligator blood. What the hell does that mean?

So alligator blood has become part of our DNA. It’s bigger than a core value for us at Greenlight guru and there’s a group of us sitting around in the first month, say of the company, and we figured out how hard this was gonna be. And I told my CTO, who’s a great friend been with me for years. What part 11 Man and his next two words were I quit? i Sorry. Clearly, the reason that no one’s ever done this before is because it’s really hard. So we’re going to have to strap up and get some alligator blood transfusions. So you can’t kill alligators. They’ve been around for 70 million years, they made a battle armor, they have 2600 pounds of bite force. These things are ferocious, they will chase you down and eat you.

Matt Hunckler 10:53
Have you always been interested in alligators? No,

it started here. It started at Greenlight guru and it’s everything we do is green alligators are green. I love that there might not have bat alarm or what could be cooler than that. But it’s a it’s a grit. It’s an organizational toughness. We have fun with it. All of our conference rooms are named after places alligators live, you can go into the bayou and the gator pit. It’s, it’s just become part of what we do. And it’s expected. It’s an organizational toughness, we don’t waste time whining about how hard it is, it’s okay, let’s start solving problems.

Matt Hunckler 11:28
I want to go back to that time and maybe even just a little bit before because I I feel like I have this with a lot of my fellow entrepreneur friends where it’s like, we have seasons, where it’s like, we’re hanging out a lot. And then like, one gets busy, and then the other gets busy. And then we don’t see each other for two or three years other than like, Oh, hey, hello, I saw you at that event or like, Hey, how’s it going? Man? We’re just like text to check in kind of thing. But right before you started Greenlight guru, you had just exited your previous genetic software company progeny. And I know you’re kind of looking for what is that next thing? Can you take me back to that timeframe? Because I know you’re exploring beyond health care at that time? Sure. Can you take me back to that time?

Remember when? When I ran into you at the coffee shop? Which time? Right? Right at that moment, I run into Matt shop and he says, You showed me a pitch deck. He says, Hey, would you like to come to the next event? Yeah, it’ll be a speaker, whatever you need. And he’s like, No, would you like to be a member in the workshop? And I was like, oh, geez, I went home. And I talked to my wife about it. And I was like, I think I should be teaching this class. And she said, why don’t you go with an empty cup, and see what you can learn. And the stuff I learned from Matt and his team in that, that workshop, it was like a two day workshop at the Conrad was amazing. And I think that that learners mentality is just so powerful. To sit with a lot of first time entrepreneurs, guys right out of college and to just bang our heads on solving problems and starting companies. It was an amazing experience.

Matt Hunckler 13:01
As cool as good good vintage of CEOs at that event. I think Max Yoder has now lessonly was there. We had a man who was late it doesn’t entrepreneurs who are now running multi 10s of hundreds of millions of dollars businesses. Yeah, that was a good one. Yeah, that was good. Well, and the fact I remember you started, when you introduced yourself, you said I come with an empty cup. Everyone’s like, what is this guy talking about? Yeah. But But yeah, you did. You had that beginner’s mindset? Do you remember what one of your bigger insights or takeaways from that was?

Well, I met Kevin Bailey there. Who Shawn swagman was a part of the speaking crew.

There was a really great Legion workshop there. And then just the connects, I think just the connects with the people was really important.

Matt Hunckler 13:48
Who were some of the people in your career, whether it was that progeny and starting that software company, or even in the consulting business before that, who were some of those key people that really helped you level up? And in the moment when you needed guidance? We’re there to kind of tell you, Hey, this is the next place. You should take a step.

Yeah, you can imagine running wild through Europe as a 21 year old kid had its moments. And there was a vice president there that took me under his wing. His name was Bruce Iker, current investor and Greenlight guru and actually pushed me hard to go out and get our CFO who was retired, living in the mountains in Bend, Oregon. He relocated his family here. No one’s ever come from Bend Oregon to Indianapolis. But he relocated his family here into a 1500 square foot apartment and he was basically living in Tiger Woods house in the mountains in Bend, Oregon, moved back here to be a part of the mission that he had the pain that our customers have, and purely to give back to the industry. And Bruce made that introduction. So when I say that people are really important, even in your very first position, those people can come back and be a big part of your your life going forward.

Matt Hunckler 15:03
And that ultimately is sort of what sparked Greenlight guru, you met someone who kind of you helped come up with this idea together. Right? Can you take me back to that time? Because this is around that empty cup. timeframe? Well, you and I were hanging out a lot. Yeah, I don’t know. Five years ago, maybe

John had been changed. John spears are a real founder, a visionary subject matter expert. He’s become a rock star in the medical device industry. When we go places. Nobody wants to talk to me. It’s fantastic. Nobody wants to like when I’m on stage, or like, Get off, get this guy on, they taken selfies with him, would you take a picture of us with John sphere, but he chased me around, would come to parties with tag on, pull on my shirt, we need to build this thing, we need to build this thing. And it was kind of like a bad girlfriend. That wouldn’t go away. So he’s one of the first people that I talked to. And I asked him if you’ve done anything about this, and he had pulled a couple, a couple of strings and made a couple of moves, but hadn’t done anything serious. So it was it was time at that point. When you talk about your network and the people that had been a part of your journey, then for the last 25 years. I’m really grateful that I got the chance to build this all star team.

Matt Hunckler 16:10
So you you had seen a lot of ideas at that time. I mean, I had to talk you out of buying a restaurant. I had to I had to talk you out of starting a venture studio, where you’re gonna like start 12 companies at the same time. Why did you choose to do Greenlight guru? What was it about the product and the mission?

When I gave the toast in Boston on the night you were talking about so Nick TEDMED, who’s standing right there, he he comes over with a wineglass and things the glass and says that we’re going to our CEO is going to give a toast in front of some of the most power packed roomful of people you’ve ever seen. And I told that room that I really have the best job in the world, I get to see devices and companies that are truly, truly in the battle to end cancer that are getting people the use of their legs back that are giving people their hearing back. It’s not just you know, fitness trackers, it’s nothing wrong with fitness trackers, but these people are really cutting into improving the quality of life eliminating disease through their their pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of these technologies. And I get to go and hang out with these people, I get to see the imaging device, that they’re feeding the images into AI, that are finding the tumors faster than doctors, and then the techniques that they’re using to make sure that those tumors don’t form, we’re talking about the end of cancer here, guys, I’m on the frontlines seeing that. So knowing that these devices were being created was that was compelling. And then knowing that we could do this, that we had the technical team, the sales and marketing team, the investors that could do this. And knowing that it would be really hard, you know, there’s there’s something to doing really hard things. That all made it extremely compelling.

Matt Hunckler 17:58
Describe the problem that you went out to solve when you started Greenlight guru.

So when you’re when you’re building a medical device company, you know, say, say that we invent, like a pen, that you can stick in your ear and cure headaches, you can’t just build that and test it on your dog and zip it out and start selling it. FDA requires that you have a quality management system. And everybody just went to sleep right? That quality is the most boring thing in the world. But it’s really not quality is the center of every company, your commitment to quality determines your brand. It determines your your retention, it determines your ACV it is the it’s the footprint, it’s the fingerprint of your company. And when a company, think of it this way, they’re just not here’s how I think about quality. When I was a kid, I cut the grass who had to cut the grass as a kid. And you always have asset, right? I know that I did as a last thing I had to do before I could hang with my friends. And there’d be grass all over the driveway and you missed a row there sticks all over the place and you’re like done. And you knew it was bad. You knew it was low quality, but then that one time you did it right. And there wasn’t a blade of grass out of place. And you kind of wanted to lay down on it. Right? Quality is attractive, you know quality when you see it, you know a quality person, you know, a restaurant when you step into it, if it’s high or low quality, if the menus are dirty, if it doesn’t smell right, if the people aren’t friendly, it’s not high quality. So what we help our customers do is to take these devices like these cancer ending devices, and make them super high quality. So the quality management system is what allows them to build it predictably repeatedly, and to make it through. So there used to be this mentality of compliance. What do we have to do to make this thing compliant to get it to market and when we came with the idea of like, let’s not focus on compliance, let’s focus on quality and then compliance comes for free. And we’ve changed in industry. You know, we heard this guy read Dalio was on a podcast, his hedge fund guy, and he said I would never go back into business unless I could change an entire industry. And we thought, let’s change the biggest industry in the world, which is health care. And let’s make these devices let’s let’s change the thinking to quality. And the group of 60 people at Greenlight guru has changed an entire industry, from compliance to quality. And we’re pretty proud of that.

Matt Hunckler 20:24
Well, and I did a little research ahead of this. The medical device market brings in between 405 100 20 billion a year. Like I had no idea because I live in like b2b SaaS world. So to end I know greenlights b2b SaaS, but yeah, healthcare is huge. And I looked up some research to on McKinsey, they, that consulting company found the direct cost of poor quality in the med device industry. It’s between 26 and 36 billion a year. So I imagine like even if you can save companies 10% of that. They’re pretty happy to pay you today.

It’s a fairly straightforward ROI. Yeah,

Matt Hunckler 21:05
yeah. That’s cool. So how quickly were you able to kind of figure out that equation, and turn that into something that you could actually go and sell

you never really have it all figured out is always improving. But so that was 2013. We had a product in early beta in mid to late 2014. So our MVP was, was online. And when we turned it on, Nick could give you the stats, but it was like a kazillion Twitter followers we had, I think we wanted 32 initial beta users. And we had like 64, in the first day, we hit a nerve, exactly like John said, John was foaming at the mouth. And when we would go to trade shows, everyone else was foaming at the mouth that we really need this product. So we knew that there was a need, we knew it would be really hard. So we built the best possible team, we built a team full of like, you guys ever seen the Avengers movies? Those are the guys that I get to go to work with.

Matt Hunckler 21:59
That’s pretty great. You to fly around with them? Yes, sir. So you’ve mentioned one of your Avengers, Nick, a couple of times. Can you describe this character for me? How did How’d you meet him?

Yeah, he’s standing here, you’re probably going to want to get to know this guy right here. before sitting down, he’ll probably have a billion dollars. He’s a true Jedi. We, we work with a company called Dream fuel that does mindset coaching for our sales team. Hit me later over a drink. And I’ll tell you some funny stories about breathing exercises. But we hook this guy up to like an EKG machine and everybody’s it goes red, blue, green, and green is what you try to work yourself up to. But when we hook this, everybody’s on the bottom level when we hook this guy up. He’s already on the green. So he’s, he’s a walking Jedi.

Matt Hunckler 22:50
Did you know it from the first time you met him? What was your experience? The first time you guys had a conversation?

So the first time that I ran into Nick was at this event? I guess it was seven or eight years ago,

Matt Hunckler 23:02
when you were still a progeny that was that event is that we did

this? Yeah. And I met him in the VIP room before I went on. And he was telling a story about how he just threw this great party for Mark Cuban at the Super Bowl. So it must have been 2011. Yep, that we did this. So Mark, remember that party? Mark Cuban put a tweet out and he said, if anybody could throw it, or no, it wasn’t Mark Cuban. It was like that the handler. If anyone could throw a party for Shark Tank, let us know. And he hits him back on the tweet. And somehow in a week, he gets a venue during Super Bowl week and throws a party for Mark Cuban for the Shark Tank viewing. And he had this story and I’m just kind of staring at this. He looks like he’s 12 years old at the time. Who are you? And then you and I got on stage. And we did this. And we did a q&a. And he said I just have one question. Sure. shoot fire. He’s like, if your lifetime value divided by your AC v times the square root of pi is 14 or less. Does that mean that you should reinvest in sales and marketing? We got to find that somewhere but and I said let’s take that offline. But he’s a huge part of Greenlight guru, one of the smartest people that I that I know one of the most driven people that I know and it’s been an amazing ride.

Matt Hunckler 24:15
What role does he play now on your team?

He’s a VP of marketing. Nice.

Matt Hunckler 24:19
So making making sure John has that thought leader in the industry. That was a nick move. Yep. Yep, absolutely. So I want to talk a little bit more about Greenlight and the conflict that you hit in taking this thing to market and scaling because I No, no startup is just straight up into the right. Talk to me about like that darkest moment that you had, at any

point, like every day like this morning.

Matt Hunckler 24:46
No, no, not when you wake up at 5am I’m talking about just like there’s a hard times there’s a

dark moment every day like you’re a genius at 8am and then you can’t believe how dumb you are at noon and then like this is just the life we live and I will say The scale part is harder than the startup part. The startup part is kind of fun, because you’re like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Let’s go, we’re gonna fly out there. And we’re gonna do this. And we’re gonna build that. And when it’s against all odds, and everybody, nobody believes we can do this, it’s only the people in this room that believe we can do this. And then you hit a couple of homeruns. And it’s like, Okay, now it’s time to scale. And scale requires process and discipline and systems. And that’s a different skill set. And so you shift gears and you go into Scale mode. And we don’t really believe in over capitalizing, you and I have had this conversation over and over, but you can over capitalize the business. But what you really do is you go from JV to the NBA, you run a JV game, and then you over capitalized the business. And now you’re in the NBA. And now everything is just running faster than you can imagine. And if your growth engine isn’t solid, and you dump all that money on top of it, you’re in a really bad spot. So as far as you want a dark moment, won’t like one dark moment. That’s fun for you, right?

Matt Hunckler 25:58
It’s most fun.

There’s that moment of ineptitude, I think in every company, so you start, you’re a genius. And then the next day you go into the trough of sorrows. And that’s rough. The moment of inaptitude. So when we release the product, this is a good story. When we released the product. I promised the development team we’d sell it the first day. So we did we sell it the first day. And then the second day, I went out to a spot local, we don’t sell many customers inside of Indiana, we went out to a spot live and got a verbal. And I came back to the office and there was damn near a fistfight because we had hired so many eyes on the DISC profile. All these big thinkers and all these passionate driven people were flying around the office run into each other and there was damn near a fistfight. And to go from that high, like you’re a genius, we just sold two of these in two days. To the bottom of like breaking up a fistfight was was interesting. But that’s, I think that’s what you get in an early stage company. Like you’re getting people that are passionate.

Matt Hunckler 27:08
How do you? How do you recover from a low?

Right now what we do is we have a mindset coach. So highly recommend executive coaching, highly recommend mindset coaching.

Matt Hunckler 27:21
I know health is really important to you. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Why is health so important to you personally,

probably ties with the kids with the foundation and all the coaching that I’ve done on the sports side, but from a physical tell me about the foundation, the progeny Foundation, we exist to provide high quality educational opportunities to the area kids. And what that translates into is helping them use athletics, and working with them on their academics so that they graduate from high school with both academic and athletic scholarships. We’ve been doing that for about 11 years, we put whole groups, the whole teams of kids into college on scholarships, it’s been very rewarding. We went back down now and reloaded into younger kids. And now they’re making their way back into high school. So that’s always been a focus. I think fitness has always been a focus. And that will drive what happens up here. So going through some of those darker moments, I think your your commitment to your fitness and your commitment to your health, I can take you through that.

Matt Hunckler 28:21
One of the things I think it’s interesting about you is you’re always looking for that edge. Like what is that thing that can get you that edge? So you had me a negative 225 degrees? Yeah, for a long time, a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, that was the first time I had done that, by the way. Why do you do crazy shit like that?

I think you have to do hard things. And this is a really important point, if what you’re gonna do at work is going to be really, really, really hard. And for most of us it is then if you do something harder outside of work, it’s it’s like swinging into bats in the on deck circle, you know, it’s, you just knock it off. So one of the things we’ve done at Greenlight guru is we do a we have culture around rowing. Raise your hand if you’ve done the concept to rower. It’s like the worst thing on earth. So you have to row 2000 meters and under seven minutes. And we’ll do we have a culture around this we’ll do challenges. So two people will challenge each other. I probably shouldn’t say this, but $1,000 each. Spread the money on the floor, bring them rowers out Captain Morgan sailor hats. Everybody else is having a good time but then you’ve got two people suffering tremendously to try to make this row and what what you’ll find in the pain cave is the answer to a lot of the things that are pushing you in your in your work life. So if you do things that are hard, then you’re not so intimidated by the big meeting or we work a lot on people’s skills, you know someone’s in your face. And you know, say you’ve got someone unhappy with you in your face. You’re much more emotionally equipped to handle that and really all problems come down to people problems. Does that make sense? It makes a ton of sense. But putting you in the 225 was fun.

Matt Hunckler 30:07
And you put how it was something. It was something that the interesting thing is, I did not expect to feel as good as I did after being a negative to 25. And I think it’s been like, it’s been weeks. But like with my health tracker here, like the data shows, I am like performing way better than I did before going in that like deep freeze.

You’re having like a pro. I never thought you’d make it.

Matt Hunckler 30:32
It was fun. It was it was something you put yourself through a ton of pain. You have you have really grown Greenlight guru, the business, the team. Before we hop off here, can you tell me a little bit about what you’re where you’re at now? What kind of results have you seen as the result of going through the hard stuff going through the troughs getting back up to the peaks going back into the trough again? What are you doing now? And what are you most excited about?

From a greenlight perspective, we’re excited about the scale that we’ve seen the opportunities for us to really advance in the market and create some of the momentum that we’ve seen. As we scale this, you know, we just brought on another six people, how many people do you have great class 6062. Now, nice. The talent I’ve just I’ve never seen a group of people I joke around about the Avengers. I’ve never seen a group have concentrated talent like this. All the way from the very first hires, through management through the exec team. It’s just, it’s all stars, it makes you a little scared to go into work. Because if you’re not prepared, it will show you can’t you can’t coast you can’t skate. And that, you know, this is not for everybody is what I tell everyone, this this level of intensity is not for everybody.

Matt Hunckler 31:55
That’s good. And talk to me a little bit about what’s next. What’s the what’s the next rung on the ladder for you?

For me, personally, yeah. Well, at some point, I would like to put a facility in place for the foundation. So that would be an achievement that’s been about 20 years in the making.

Matt Hunckler 32:15
If someone in this room could help you with that, who would that be? What what needs to happen to take another step towards that?

Well, there’s a lot of logistics that had to be handled just in the construction and the, the lot and the space.

Probably just to take the next step would be to understand from an operational perspective, what that would mean, because that’s not my business. Yep. So just knowing what that would mean, operationally would would be really interesting. But how to operate a foundation at that scale, that would be a game changer for the kids if they had a home. And the vision is, a kid can come in there. Like we’ve got kids that have to carry guns to go through certain neighborhoods, we got kids, when we drop them off from practice, they don’t have food. So to be able to come there, eat breakfast train, have a session with your tutor, have a strength coach, play a play a pickup game, and then watch college football is a transformative experience for one of our kids. And that’s that’s where we’re headed.

Matt Hunckler 33:20
Well, hopefully, someone in this room or someone listen to the podcast, will know someone or be that person. And those paths can cross check and ask you some crazy question out of the audience. And then seven years later be on your team. David, I want to thank you very much for being vulnerable, sharing some of the hard parts of what Startup startups entrepreneurship, working at a startup are all about. And thanks for helping save lives.

Thanks, man. I really appreciate you as does everybody here. Thank you.

Matt Hunckler 33:50
Appreciate it. Let’s give it up for David Duran. All right, my next person I’m bringing up to the stage I met probably almost a decade ago when I was starting with the beginning of this community was he was starting a community here in Indianapolis, focused on bringing software developers together. We learned a lot together I learned a ton from him. And so I’m super excited to bring him to the stage because he is an entrepreneur unto himself. He is now in the health tech space explicitly at a really cool health tech startup. I as I mentioned first met him when he was starting indie hackers. Now he also runs the Indianapolis Ruby brigade, which I sat through some of those early meetups and like 99% went over my head because I am not a software developer, but he was kind enough to let me sit in and learn as much as I could. He now leads an awesome group of software engineers to help physicians and post acute providers collaborate and improve patient outcomes. Please help me welcome to the stage the director of engineering at OLIO miles Sterrett Oh, nice hot man. Hey miles welcome.

How’s it going?

Matt Hunckler 35:05
Where are you coming from today?

Nashville. Actually, we’re in Nashville for the past

Matt Hunckler 35:11
Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee yet to be confused with Nashville, Indiana,

right? Yes. No, they did not, unfortunately do Rubicon in Nashville, Indiana this year.

Matt Hunckler 35:19
Did they do healthcare in Nashville?

A little bit? Yeah, they haven’t. So they have the largest for profit health care entity there in Nashville. Yeah. Yeah. Although I did not personally visit them was I was busy doing Ruby comp tech stuff, you know, that sort of thing? Yeah.

Matt Hunckler 35:38
I mean, that’s kind of always been your gig, at least since I’ve known you. You know, back when I first met you, I was just getting plugged into the tech community here in Indianapolis. I had no idea what I was doing. And you were kind enough to humor me and help me figure that out a little bit. I’m still trying to figure it out. I thought you knew that. I also didn’t know what I was doing. Oh, nope. We’re all just assuming that everyone else knows what they’re doing. Yeah. That’s how it goes. Well, tell me tell me a little bit about those early days, or at least my early days when you were kind of just starting indie hackers and bringing software developers together. Why on earth? Did you want to bring a bunch of developers together?

Yeah. So really, what happened is, first, I found out that the indie Ruby brigade existed, and I was, so I was actually living in Lafayette commuting down here to work. It was called inframe. At the time, it’s now expedient. And I found out that this group of geeks was getting together monthly to talk about Ruby, which sounds terrible to many people in this room, I’m sure, but it sounded awesome to me. You had great pizza. We did. We had good pizza. And we usually ended up at a bar afterwards, which was a good time. I was good at that part. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the that’s a good reason to come to in DRV. Really, I think. But yeah, so I found out this group exists. And I was like, this can’t be the only one right? There have to be some other of these little sort of tech meetups happening around town. I’m gonna start to do some research. I’m gonna come in and buy research, I mean, type stuff into Google. So I started typing stuff into Google. It turns out there were a bunch of them. And a lot of people didn’t know about other ones that were happening, right. Sorry. So by the way, powderkeg thank you for the tea. Matt asked me when I got here. My throat a little scratchy, that my voice doesn’t always sound like this. If I wanted some tea, and I was like, Oh, you have tea. That’s awesome. And he was like, well, we’ll get you tea. I’m like, No, but you have tea. Anyway, someone went to Starbucks and brought me a venti, Earl Grey, I believe, and it’s pretty awesome. I’m excited.

Matt Hunckler 37:36
I got a nametag on it. Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I

move my nametag I didn’t want to over overshadow Leo here. Yeah, gotta get the brand out. Yeah. Anyway, so when I found out there, all of these other events, I just started a shared a public Google Calendar, and started inputting all of these events on it. And then I would tell people about it, like, Hey, there’s this Google Calendar, they’re like, cool. How do I get to it? Like? Well, you go to, like, of these are, you know, anyway, it was, it was a mess. So it’s like, I’m just gonna register a domain and pointed at the calendar, and the domain Register was indie A community was born. Yes, yeah, that’s set off a chain of events. And here we are. Well, and

Matt Hunckler 38:19
ultimately, you were at a startup at that point in time, at least as I recall, you’re at a startup, one of the more funded startups in Indianapolis, and ultimately, you decided to start your own company. Tell me about that decision. Why did you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

thing? So I had actually, I had started freelancing. So I was at chacha. And I had worked on some of the more background, I guess, or internal tools there. And sort of that time was sort of coming to an end. And but they were like, look, would you contract with us for at least a while on some of these things that you have written here? And I was like, Sure, that sounds cool. And I had had a little bit of freelancing experience. But I was like, Yeah, I can do that and figure out what’s next. Right. And that led to freelancing solely for a year and a half. And I was sitting in actually a tech conference kind of web dev design conference here in town, put on by a friend of mine, Tony Diwan. And there was someone on stage talking about you need to kind of know yourself and know how she’s talked about productivity. And she was talking about how know yourself and how you work best. For instance, some people work really well so low. I was like, Yeah, that’s me. I’m a freelancer. I work really well. So it’s me. She was like, some people work a lot better with a team. They get energy out of being with a team and I was like, Ah, no, that one’s me. Oops, what am I doing? So I’m sitting in a chair and this woman is still talking and unfortunately, I’m no longer paying attention because I’m texting her friend. Mine, hey, do you want to, like start a thing with me? Like, do you just want to do a consultancy? We can do that. Right? And this is someone I’ve worked with that inframe previously. And he was on I apologize if anybody’s in it at IU, but he was in it at IU and not enjoying it will say, and he texted back within 30 seconds. I’m pretty sure yes, when. And so I think what two months later, we officially started a consulting company called fretless. And that’s what I had been doing for six years.

Matt Hunckler 40:33
You did that for six years? Yeah. Wow. It was good. So I didn’t realize it was that long. It did not

seem like which is like an eternity in tech. Oh,

Matt Hunckler 40:41
I know, I, we talked about this with David, I feel like a similar situation with you and me. It’s like we went through seasons, then you started a company. Then I started a company. And we didn’t see each other for several years. Yeah, this is true. And then like you pop back up recently, because you’re no longer running a consultancy, and decided to go back to a full time role. Tell me a little bit about that decision. Why did you decide to close your business? Because you’re doing great, at least from all outside perspectives. You had tons of customers, you had an awesome team met a lot of them super talented developers. And then you’ve got some with you now at OLIO as well. So why did you decide to jump out of that perfectly good airplane to jump into another one?

Yeah, it was I mean, it was a really tough decision. But I had been working for OLIO for about a year. And been the CEO made me an offer. And I just, I remember when he when he made me the offer, I just kind of like, nodded my head wide, I didn’t really know what to say at the time, because all of this sort of scenarios are going through my head. But ultimately, there are three different reasons, three main reasons that I chose olio. One of them is I from day one, when fretless and OLIO, decided to partner, I was really impressed with the decisiveness of Ben and the rest of the leadership team. And you don’t you don’t get that everywhere. It’s very easy. And I am the type of person that will deliberate on an on a on an issue of some sort. For a very long time, and unnecessarily long time not making the decision and trying to decide, well, we might get more information tomorrow, if we wait till tomorrow. And from day one OLIO demonstrated they would take in all of the available information and make a decision based on that information very quickly. And then, you know, race down that path. And I think a good way, and not always impressed me. The second reason is one that frankly, as a consultant, I didn’t think that concerned me that much. It wasn’t necessarily something I had ever sought out. But I can see that what we’re doing makes an actual impact on humans every single day. You can look in in our product today and see that a patient was uncomfortable had some when their health was bad, they’re at a skilled nursing facility. And in a lot of scenarios, they would have just been the the school nurse facility would have called an ambulance sent them back to the hospital, which is not fun for anyone now they’re back in the hospital just gonna be a less comfortable place to be and now the hospital’s got to try to figure out what’s going on, right. And on a weekly basis, we’re able to prevent that from happening. And give the skilled nursing facility and the hospital the chance to collaborate and make that person comfortable and healthy, as healthy as they can be. Because they’ve just had some sort of acute scenario, right? In minutes and some sometimes. And that is that is that you don’t get that everywhere, right. And it feels really good to see that happen on a regular basis. And the third is that I genuinely like every single person at olio. And that is a rarity. I even like Paul, where are you? Even Paul? Yeah, like everybody there? Sorry. We have Paul, the engineering team has a little rivalry with Paul. So I take it Paul’s not engineering Engineering. He is not he is sales. He is customer success. Okay. But he also does he he kind of checks us from a QA perspective, and really, really enjoys rubbing it in everyone’s face if he ever finds anything wrong. The problem is the poll has picked a battle with not like one individual but the entire engineering team. So on any given day, he’s got at least five people who are going to fire back with something. So I think actually the result is that I probably should feel bad for Paul but it’s Paul. So

Matt Hunckler 44:59
you For Paul, by Paula beer after this, you probably should. So I did a little research and found that it’s estimated healthcare employees typically spend over 25% of their time on administrative tasks like data entry in one system or another. It seems like a ton of time, like entering data. And I know OLIO solves this, but I’m not that familiar with the product. Can you tell me a little bit more about sort of like the specific niche that OLIO serves?

Yeah, so what’s interesting is really, even less than than data entry, what what OLIO solves is the problem of someone having to either drive to or call on the telephone, I don’t know if any of you ever call people on telephone, I try not to at the skilled nursing facility, or the home health agency, and and literally go down a list and ask like, how is Paul? How is Bob? How is Sally? You know, asking different questions like, Is their weight up or down since they got to your facility, which a lot of the facilities be like, No, there’s really not, they don’t even know. Yeah, see, that’s and that’s, that’s terrifying. That’s everybody’s reaction is Wait, there’s not already something that does this that allows these two entities to communicate. So we’re tech people here, right? If you’re familiar with Trello, or, or Pivotal Tracker, or some sort of project management tool, really what OLIO is, is a specialized project management tool, instead of a user story, or a task or a ticket or that sort of thing. That that ticket is a patient, like picture a patient name on a card in Trello. Right. And we are helping the acute entities such as the hospital, the people at the hospital, in some cases, they’re referred to as navigators. So there’s people that are kind of trying to oversee the patients through which they are responsible, once they go to a post acute entity, which is a skilled nursing facility, or a home health agency, we’re helping those people collaborate with that post acute entity, because that doesn’t really happen in an efficient manner at all today. And so that’s why I said there are a lot of cases where a patient will have some sort of cardiac event a heart attack, right. And the procedure in the hospital will go swimmingly well, and so that we’re going to send them to the skilled nursing facility to recover, right, because they still need some oversight, but they don’t want to, you know, be stuck in a hospital. And then something goes wrong. At the skilled nursing facility, it could be unconnected, it could be unrelated. They spike a fever, their weights dropping something is happening in the skilled nursing facility doesn’t necessarily have the expertise to diagnose that thing. So they’ll throw their hands in the air and throw them into the ambulance and put them back in the hospital, which is not good for anyone. And of course, you know, the maybe dirty little secret is that costs a lot of money.

Matt Hunckler 48:01
So everybody to everyone, the hospital, the patient,

exactly, and, and a ton of discomfort, also right for the patient in the patient’s family. So every time we can stop that we’re talking about 10s of 1000s of dollars in savings and a much better outcome. For the health entities involved in a much better comfort and life for the patient.

Matt Hunckler 48:23
I love that you’re working on solving that problem, man, because I know you’re a smart dude. And I know you built a really smart team. So I did do that. Yeah, so I and I know you’re humble too. And you’ll you’ll brush all of that up. So I, I’m curious to know kind of what you’re most excited about in the space of tech, it doesn’t even have to be in the healthcare space. I’m always trying to ask my smart, more technically minded friends, what they’re actually most excited about, whether it’s technology, or a certain trend, or a certain industry, or even a certain thought leader that you’re just enjoying learning from?

Yeah, I feel like I’m gonna sink your battleship on this mat.

Matt Hunckler 49:01
You’re not excited about anything? Yeah,

it’s all terrible. No, what I am actually excited about is that there are I think there are more not that I can like, identify any of them for you right now. So that you can go build a giant, awesome tech startup. But I think there are more of these kinds of opportunities, and especially inherent in healthcare. There are these opportunities where someone in tech, if if they looked at that problem, they’d be like, Oh, I just need to apply this solution that we’ve been using for this other thing, you know, for years and years and years need to apply that to this and then make it specialized for that particular problem. Right. I think there are lots of those sorts of opportunities that have not seemed attractive to the tech world for so long because we’re all scared of acronyms like HIPAA, and high trust, and compliance and all that stuff is really scary. Sock two, there are more Are and they are terrible, but they’re not scary. They’re absolutely doable. And I think as more really smart tech people, like the people on my team that myself analyze these problems, will see a lot more solutions and better health care for all hopefully, hopefully, sound that sounded real lame that please don’t sound bite that and put my name on it because I feel like

Matt Hunckler 50:24
it’s too late. It’s already out taking it. I think it’s exciting. Personally, I I’m, you know, recovering marketer myself. So I love marketing tech. I love that Indianapolis has a huge marketing tech sector. But I think healthcare is an industry that here in Indianapolis just seems to be exploding in all the right ways. And that’s exciting because you are helping people live better lives by improving their quality of life. So that’s pretty sweet. And I appreciate you coming up here and talking a little bit about your journey. And why you decided to go back into a full time role at olio. And hope we can have you back and give an update soon. Yeah, as oil continues to grow, and I know you’ve been growing gangbusters How big is the team right now?

We’re 18 We, as you and I discussed or fellows starting? So we’re like 19 There’s like a ghost person there. But 19 As soon as that person graduates Yeah, so

Matt Hunckler 51:19
or fellowship for those who are not indoctrinated is?

Oh, I thought you were going to do it. Matt was an old fellow FYI.

Matt Hunckler 51:26
I was I’m also recovering more fellow.

I feel like you’ll do it better than I.

Matt Hunckler 51:32
So it’s a it’s a first year roll out of college, you get placed with a High Tech High Growth tech company. It’s not necessarily a direct path to a C suite. But you get direct access to people in the C suite and even the founders of the company. And for me, I learned so much 10 years ago when I joined a high growth cloud hosting company called blue lock, which sold last year they had a nice nice exit the founder is now an investor in powder keg. And I’m deeply grateful for that experience. And I think the or fellowship, it’s an Indiana program. And I wish there was more like that and the rest of the country Venture for America is probably the closest thing in other markets for those listening on the podcast or those who traveled here to be here. But definitely worth checking out or fellowship or are named after former Governor Bob

or shout out to Meg our current or fellow by the way,

Matt Hunckler 52:19
shout out to Meg by her beer too. While we got the round of applause gone, can you please give a mild stare at a huge round of applause? Thank you