Q&A

Get a preview of Chile Connected's anticipated HealthTech panel

Get ready for a fascinating panel. Photo by WebPhotographeer/Getty

The technology and innovation portion of Chile Connected begins next week, and if you haven't already reserved your free spot for the virtual event, you'd be wise to go do it now.

From October 27-29, you can hear from high-level experts and keynote speakers from both Chile and the U.S, as well as network and make new connections that will hopefully lead to a successful partnership.

Josh Sol, the administrative director of Houston Methodist Innovation and Ambulatory Clinical Systems, will be moderating the panel on October 29. The topic is "The Present Future of HealthTech," and will address what COVID-19 means for the future of healthcare technology.

Panelists include Daniela Mendoza, commercial manager for GenoSUR; Alberto Rodríguez-Navarro, founder of Levita Magnetics; and John Dvor, managing director of Miraki Innovation.

InnovationMap recently spoke with Sol about the upcoming event.

InnovationMap: What can U.S. companies gain from participating in this session?

Josh Sol: U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain additional perspectives from other like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology. I've been impressed from the groups and ProChile representatives I have spoken with to date, and I look forward to hearing more about innovation efforts coming from a leading Latin American technology epicenter.

IM: How important are international partnerships in the health tech sector?

JS: Innovation in healthcare technology is coming from all over the globe. Cultural experiences tend to drive creation and innovation. When we collaborate with partners outside of the U.S., we have the opportunity to broaden opportunities and learn from other cultures, and, in turn, we have the potential to apply those insights to what our standard processes are within the U.S. healthcare system.

IM: Personally, why did you feel it important to be involved with Chile Connected?

JS: I have been so impressed by the passion coming from Chile Connected. Discovering new companies doing amazing things in the healthcare technology space continues to fuel my passion for what I do on a day-to-day basis.

IM: What are the key ways businesses can adapt in the pandemic environment?

JS: Businesses should be as nimble as they can — that's a pretty universal lesson most have experienced and we've certainly had first-hand experience in this area as well. At Houston Methodist, our focus is always keeping the patient at the center of everything we do, and we appreciate the collaborative business partners who help us maintain our commitment to our patients, the community, and our clinicians during the pandemic.

Some partners have even pivoted their technology offerings to align with the challenges spurred by COVID. Some areas where we have had to adapt during COVID include ramping up our telemedicine efforts, quickly turning on our virtual ICU, and diversifying the way we communicate with our patients through digital technology.

IM: What do you think is important for start-ups to focus on when trying to grow in this field?

JS: Healthcare technology organizations have many opportunities available to them and must be open to change and the innovations coming from younger start-up companies. As a start-up, it's important to know the problem you are attempting to solve, and to also understand the bigger picture of either the process, patient experience, or clinician experience you are impacting.

Too often, a company will say, "What do you want it to do? It can do anything…" Always come with a solution mindset. Drill down into your offering and what value you have to the organization you're pitching to.

Reserve your free spot for Chile Connected now.

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Building Houston

 
 

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Thomas Vassiliades of BiVACOR, Katie Mehnert of ALLY Energy, and Don Whaley of OhmConnect Texas. Courtesy photos

Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know — the first of this new year — I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from health care innovation to energy — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.


Thomas Vassiliades, CEO of BiVACOR

BiVACOR named Thomas Vassiliades as CEO effective immediately. Photo courtesy of BiVACOR

Thomas Vassiliades has been named CEO of BiVACOR, and he replaces the company's founder, Daniel Timms, in the position. BiVACOR is on track to head toward human clinical trials and commercialization, and Vassiliades is tasked with leading the way.

Vassiliades has over 30 years of experience within the medical device industry as well as cardiothoracic surgery. He was most recently the general manager of the surgery and heart failure business at Abiomed and held several leadership roles at Medtronic. Dr. Vassiliades received his MD from the University of North Carolina, and his MBA was achieved with distinction at Emory University.

“I am excited and honored to join the BiVACOR team, working closely with Daniel and the entire team as we look forward to bringing this life-changing technology to the market,” says Dr. Vassiliades in the release. “Throughout my career, I’ve been guided by the goal of bringing innovative cardiovascular therapies to the market to improve patient care and outcomes – providing solutions for those that don’t have one. BiVACOR is uniquely well-positioned to provide long-term therapy for patients with severe biventricular heart failure.” Click here to read more.

Katie Mehnert, CEO and founder of ALLY Energy

Katie Mehnert joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the future of energy amid a pandemic, climate change, the Great Resignation, and more. Photo via Katie Mehnert

Katie Mehnert started ALLY Energy — originally founded as Pink Petro — to move forward DEI initiatives, and she says she started with building an audience first and foremost, but now the technology part of the platform has fallen into place too. Last summer, ALLY Energy acquired Clean Energy Social, which meant doubling its community while also onboarding new technology. On the episode, Mehnert reveals that this new website and platform is now up and running.

"We launched the integrated product a few weeks back," Mehnert says. "The whole goal was to move away from technology that wasn't serving us."

Now, moving into the new year, Mehnert is building the team the company needs. She says she hopes to grow ALLY from two employees to 10 by the end of the year and is looking for personnel within customer support, product developers, and sales and service. While ALLY is revenue generating, she also hopes to fundraise to further support scaling. Click here to read more.

Don Whaley, president at OhmConnect Texas

Texas is about a month away from the anniversary of Winter Storm Uri — would the state fair better if it saw a repeat in 2022? Photo courtesy

The state of Texas is about a month away from the one year anniversary of Winter Storm Uri — but is the state better prepared this winter season? Don Whaley, president at OhmConnect Texas, looked at where the state is now versus then in a guest column for InnovationMap.

"Governor Abbott has gone on record guaranteeing that the lights will stay on this winter, and I am inclined to agree. With the reinforcement of our fuel systems being mandated by the Railroad Commission, 2023 to 2025 should receive the same guarantee," he writes. "Beyond that, as the demand for electricity in Texas continues to grow, we will need to rely on the initiatives under consideration by the PUCT to attract investment and innovation in new, dispatchable generation and flexible demand solutions to ensure long-term stability in the ERCOT market.

Whaley has worked for over 40 years in the natural gas, electricity, and renewables industries, with specific experience in deregulated markets across the U.S. and Canada. He founded Direct Energy Texas and served as its president during the early years of deregulation. Click here to read more.

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