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Posted on: 04/21/2020

Special Kruze COVID-19 Good News episode with Michael Wang and Rohit Prakash, talking about what their companies are doing to help during this crisis

Michael Wang

Michael Wang

Founder and CEO - Inspiren


Rohit Prakash

Rohit Prakash

Founder and CEO - Coast App


Michael Wang & Rohit Prakash of Inspiren - Podcast Summary

Michael Wang, founder and CEO of Inspiren, and Rohit Prakash, founder and CEO of Coast App, talk about how their companies are making a difference helping healthcare and frontline workers during the COVID crisis.

Michael Wang & Rohit Prakash of Inspiren - Podcast Transcript

Singer: So, when your troubles are mounting in tax or accounting, you go to Kruze Founders and Friends. It’s Kruze Consulting Founders and Friends with your host. Scotty Orn.
Scott: Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast, and we have another segment of Kruze COVID-19 good news. And my very special guest here is Michael Wang of INSPIREN. Welcome Michael.
Michael: Hey Scott. Thank you so much for having me.
Scott: Oh, it’s my pleasure. And it gives me so much joy to be able to share all the companies that we work with that are doing amazing stuff. And you’re doing something super cool, which I can relate to because I used to work at a big medical device company a long time ago. But maybe Michael, you could just tell the audience how you had the idea for INSPIREN and retrace your career a little bit.
Michael: Yeah. I came up with the idea for INSPIREN while I was working at the [best] side as a cardiothoracic nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital. And during my work I realized that there was a need for a technology that can allow nurses and managers and clinicians to have more insight into the patient’s care environment by having a automated ambient patient monitoring platform that allows us to be able to automatically spot danger, prevent adverse events, and allow us to be able to essentially have a force multiplier that allow us to do more with less. So, that was the original concept and four years later INSPIREN is now on the market and we utilize advanced computer vision and proprietary sensors to automatically monitor the patient’s room and the patient’s care environment and abstract really important clinical data that can be in the hands of clinicians and allow us to be able to do a lot more than the manual monitoring.
Scott: I love it. And for those who don’t know, nurses, especially in this situation, but just in general have a ton of responsibilities. They have a ton of patients they have to monitor throughout their shift, and so having something that’s automated that’s on when they’re not there is incredibly powerful-
Michael: Correct.
Scott: What’s the feedback from the nursing community?
Michael: Actually, nurses love using our platform because on multiple levels it really allows them to be able to have insight into patients that are not physically with them. Obviously, we can only be with the patient that’s physically in front of us, but to be able to have that safeguard to identify danger, identify risks, and also to be able to be recognized for the great work that they do. Our platform also has a terrific mobile app platform that recognize nurses for the incredible work that they do through a virtual trophy and points program where they’re consistently exercising best in practice activities, working consistently with each other as well as the patients. Those are being recognized and also being posted in a really fun and engaging way, so that’s something that’s really very popular with nurses that use our technology. And they’ll we specifically built that to give nurses more morale and also introduce a little bit of fun into the care environment.
Scott: Yeah. I love the recognition aspect of that because it is … A lot of nurses are kind of solo throughout the day too, so there’s-
Michael: Absolutely-
Scott: Nobody really checking them or monitoring them or pointing out the amazing things they’re doing. Maybe there’s some patient feedback at the end, but to have a tool that surfaces all the amazing stuff they’re doing is really neat.
Michael: That’s correct. And to be able to not only have data that reflect that, but also to have pure recognition, recognition by management, leadership, we make that platform very easy to do all of that. And nursing doesn’t have to be a thankless job. It could be something that is fun. And also, we know nurses don’t need that necessarily to do an amazing job for all these years, but to be able to have that little bit of pat on the back, it’s a tremendous boost in morale for them.
Scott: It’s an amazing … Like you said, they’re not doing it for the recognition-
Michael: Correct.
Scott: Because they [crosstalk] take that job are just selfless in general.
Michael: Correct.
Scott: But it’s really cool that that’s available to them. And the other thing I really like about your platform, you guys have a pretty amazing dashboard-
Michael: Yep.
Scott: Maybe if you just [walk] … Not just for the nurses but for maybe hospital administrators or doctors or even maybe patients that might need to take a peek at that sometimes. It’s really beautiful.
Michael: Yes, thank you. We really wanted to build a platform that can display the clinically significant data in a very easy and consumable kind of a way. We didn’t want the hospitals to have to deploy 20 people data analytics experts in order to make sense of the data. Everything is right there. You don’t have to know Tablo, you don’t have to know Excel even. Everything is already refined and available for the nurses and managers to make critical strategic decisions without having to become an expert in data analytics.
Scott: That’s really fabulous. And I think this all probably cycles back into better patient outcomes, right? Because-
Michael: Absolutely.
Scott: Yeah. Is there some data on that, or how do you think about that or how do you talk to the nursing community about that?
Michael: Actually, as soon as our technology deployed, there were drastic decreases in adverse events. There were increases in teamwork as well as clinical efficiency. All across the board this technology really did what we intended for it to do, which is to be a force multiplier for the nursing staff to be able to really keep an eye on the potential dangers as well as any inefficiencies within the clinical environment that we can automatically identify and benchmark and specifically implement clinical protocols that can prevent those things from happening. Within about two to three weeks of deployment, we were able to see very clear signs of improvements all across the board in all of those different things. So, from an effectiveness and a feasibility and also adoption perspective, INSPIREN has really been very effective in combating some of the frequent adverse events that happen on a daily basis, but also really making it easy for staff and management to be able to use. And we also deploy very rapidly and very easily without infrastructural change, without having to put things into the walls or ceilings or anything like that. Deployment is extremely simple. It just clicks right on the wall and then that’s it. You forget about it. All of these things together really make a solution that’s very easy to adopt and also enjoyed by the frontline staff.
Scott: That’s incredible. It’s enough that you’re doing INSPIREN and that you’re making that contribution, but we were talking before we turned the mics on. You’re a very modest guy, but I just want to highlight this, that you’re heading back into the hospitals tonight to relieve some of the nurses so that they can get a rest, right? And I know you’re modest, but maybe just share that a little bit with the audience.
Michael: Two years ago, I stopped working as a bedside nurse to focus exclusively on INSPIREN and to be able to run the company. And I’m still doing that, but knowing that in the next two to three weeks, especially in our community here in New York, especially Queens where … I’m Chinese American, so that particular area will be hit very hard in the next two to three weeks. So, outside of the time that I am spending with INSPIREN and I’m still contributing to the company, during the evening times I will begin to pick up shifts at New York Presbyterian Queens, which just to give a tremendous appreciation and a huge shout out to all my colleagues and everyone that we know and all of our fellow nurses who are at the front lines every single day, day in and day out, and at the most dangerous areas in the world essentially and for them to really make the ultimate sacrifices to do that. What I’m doing is extremely minute compared to what they’re doing. But if I can just help them answer one call bell, to move a patient, to take a little bit of the load off of their shoulders and maybe just another friendly face to let them know hey, I’m here for you guys and I’m not the guy that just installs the technology and walk out, but I’m still very much with of you and I’m a part of the family and we’ll get through this together. Just to be able to do that I think will be really amazing in terms of giving a little bit of a relief to those folks. But the focus is definitely on them and whatever I can do to just take a little bit, however minute it may be, off of their shoulders and allow them to do their jobs more effectively. Yeah, I think would be great. And more than ever, I’m so proud to be a part of the nursing community on all levels I am. I’m just incredibly grateful for everything that they’ve done and I hope that our technology can help them do their jobs easier. And my volunteering at the hospital hopefully will also take a little bit of the pressure off of their daily activities. But the credit is all to them and all the frontline responders, healthcare providers, nurses, doctors, and just countless people who are putting their wellbeing aside and to be at the front lines risking their lives. It’s the best that humanity has to offer. And what better time now to celebrate them? It’s all about them-
Scott: Yeah. It’s really beautiful what you’re doing, and I echo what you’re saying. Thank you to all the nurses, the first responders who are doing this and doctors who are doing this every day. But I also think what you’re doing is really powerful because you’re giving them maybe the shift off or a one-hour break that will help them take a nap or something like that so their immune system can recharge a little bit. There’s a lot of help you’re providing, but please let all the nurses that you talk to today and all the other physicians and everyone in the hospital community that we’re super appreciative of them. The startup community is appreciative them, the Kruze team and family is very appreciative. We’re very grateful and this is exactly why I wanted to have you on the podcast. What you’re doing all the time with INSPIREN is to help nurses and patients is phenomenal. But this is the kind of uplifting sacrifices that people are making that … I just wanted to spread the word on this a little bit in a very small way because it’s really inspirational. And I have goosebumps just talking to you-
Michael: Thank you.
Scott: And I’m sure people listening do too. So, thank you Michael for all the sacrifices and thank you to the INSPIREN engineering team too for building this amazing device-
Michael: Absolutely.
Scott: It’s really special. I just want to thank you on our part. And maybe just tell folks where they can find you, how to check out INSPIREN and how to reach out.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Our website contains a lot of really helpful information on the capabilities of our technology for both the hospital market as well as the assisted living facilities market. Our website is [www.inspiren.com] (https://inspiren.com/){: target=”_blank”}, I-N-S-P-I-R-E-N.com, and please reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you. We’re also sharing some of the amazing stories within our own team, especially a huge shout out to our co-founder Sabrina as well as Paul who are on the front lines and the who are treating patients at the same time of still attending to the needs of the company. And we were sharing some of our stories on there as well. And please feel free to send us your stories. We will love to celebrate your story and celebrate you. And I wanted to specifically thank you Scott and also Kruze for helping us through all of this and you guys are really a fantastic team and we’re truly appreciative for everything you’ve done for us.
Scott: Thanks man. Well, Carrie is your account manager, she’s amazing. And we’re a very small part of this compared to what you guys are doing, so shout out to INSPIREN and shout out to you, your co-founders, engineers, and most importantly shout out to all the nurses and physicians that you’re going to be working with this weekend.
Michael: Yes, absolutely.
Scott: Sending good vibes to all the patients, man.
Michael: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Scott: All right buddy, take care.
Michael: Okay. Have a great day.
Singer: This here’s the Kruze Founders and Friends. With Kruze you can’t lose [inaudible 00:13:05] look after your [ends 00:13:08].
Scott: Hey, welcome Kruze Consulting’s podcast. We have another segment on good news during COVID. We all need good news. We have some amazing companies that are helping the world and it’s my pleasure to introduce Rohit Prakash of Coast App. Welcome, Ro.
Rohit: Thanks for having me, Scott.
Scott: My pleasure. You have some amazing good news that’s going to make everyone feel really good here.
Rohit: Hope so.
Scott: But before we get to that, can you just give us your quick bio and how you had the idea to start Coast App?
Rohit: Yeah, definitely. Two minutes or less, was in the medical field, science beforehand, built another company called Town Square with my co-founder [Nipool] Patel. It was a small business network, almost like a next door for local business. We come from small businesses and our goal of that company, the mission was to help businesses fail less by getting the operational knowledge they needed to succeed. And what we learned from that company over five or six years is that the way to communicate and on work is really through text messaging and list. And we’d done a small experiment and once we figured that out and that products like Slack and others just did not meet the need, we built a simple prototype and it took off. Now it’s called Coast, like you’re coasting or [inaudible 00:14:20]. And now we’re seeing all these operational workflows just coming together on the platform in a way that gives the owner and the employees visibility like never before. It’s just really been exciting to chase after the same mission with a little bit of a different twist.
Scott: That’s amazing. And is it targeted towards small business owners, or who’s the target market?
Rohit: Product really is driven for people or made for people who have a desk-less workforce. People are calling that the frontline workforce in our world, retail, restaurant, healthcare, we have factories, we have distribution centers, we have small businesses, we have delivery. There’s such a wide variety of people who do their work on their phone and the product is built for that. Obviously, we have a desktop app and so on and all the bells and whistles you’d expect from that, but the target market is really the underserved, the people who have been feet on the street doing work, construction and so on and so forth.
Scott: Yep. And that group has really been … They’ve really benefited from the smartphone revolution, right?
Rohit: Sure, absolutely.
Scott: There’s just so much you can do now and that’s an amazing idea-
Rohit: Thank you. Appreciate it-
Scott: That’s super [crosstalk 00:15:37]. Good for you. Now let’s talk about your new initiative. This is the reason why we have you on the good news podcast.
Rohit: Yep, absolutely. It was a combination of a few different things that came together at the same time. We were installed in 2019 and we took the first couple of months of 2020 getting ready to go to market. Then in the very beginning of March, obviously COVID hit. All of our worlds changed. I think we can all understand that. And we decided to put things on pause obviously, but we noticed an uptick in usage from our users because they needed a way of communicating and collaborating. We had medical groups getting on there and new restaurants and so on. And because we serve so many restaurants, food, retail and bars, what we learned was they were changing their operations completely to delivery and take out, something we just weren’t expecting. And they were using the product to do that, but we have a direct connection with our clients through support. They have support chat inside each of their inside of each of their phones.
Scott: Oh, so you could message them and see what’s going on.
Rohit: You can talk to them, yeah. We have private chats with us. And so, what we were learning from that is some businesses aren’t on the delivery app. So, we live in San Francisco and a little bit myopic because of it. Everybody thinks that everybody’s on the Grubhubs of the world or the Doordash. They’re not. They’re trying to find new ways in this new environment on how to serve their communities, and so that happened. Then a friend of ours, a good collaborator of us of ours named Phillip Thomas, was kicking some ideas around on how he could help small businesses. He showed me something and then the alcohol law came out in California where you could serve to go cocktails and wine and so on. This is about two weeks ago. These three points came up and I said, “Hey Philip, why don’t we collaborate, my team and yours, on building this thing where restaurants, bars and food and retail could actually be discovered by the consumers of the world who are sitting at home and actually patronize those people?” And that’s what where Takeout COVID was kind of born.
Scott: Amazing. And so, now it’s easy to find those restaurants, right?
Rohit: Yep.
Scott: You’ve become a scouting service. You’re letting everyone know who’s open and available and who they can find take out from-
Rohit: It’s a free public service. We’ve said that from the very beginning. It’s coastapp.com/takeoutcovid. That name, takeout is sort of like a pun, a bit of a play on words, takeout COVID. And it’s amazing to see the adoption and the local partnerships that we’re getting across United States. I think that’s what’s been really cool for us. The way that it works is that we find local partners and we also give businesses an ability to upload themselves. In the first week we were finding local partners, going slow, but people were amenable to the idea. But in week number two it just blew up. We had I think nearing 10,000 businesses listed. We’re in 20 cities. The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells tweeted about it. It’s been really heartwarming to get the stories of business owners and also try to help them. And that has led to other initiatives, which we can talk about as well.
Scott: That’s amazing and it’s so needed because those … Kudos to those small businesses, the restaurants that are pivoting, because they could just pack it up and go home. But you got to be tough to do that, to run a restaurant. And so, it doesn’t surprise me that a lot of them are finding a way. It’s really beautiful.
Rohit: Yeah, I think … One business owner told me I’m an entrepreneur and I don’t know how to sit at home.
Scott: Yep. I love it. I would be the same way, man. I’d be doing someone else’s, some financial model or something somewhere and figure out a way too. And so, what are some of the … Are there any restaurants that you just saw or other businesses that were just so cool that you’re like, I got to highlight these people? Anything jump out at you?
Rohit: Yeah. Again, I can only speak for San Francisco obviously, but I’ll … Actually, I can do one in New York as well because I knew of them as well. But the restaurant that I was super surprised about was Saru Sushi, which is in Noe Valley in San Francisco. And the owner operator there has been around for a long time. They’re a very famous place and people love going there, but they don’t do any reservations and they don’t do delivery and takeout. And that’s because they run a small operation but it’s high quality and that’s just the way they’ve operated for the past decade. And they literally switched everything because they wanted to be able to support their employees, they wanted to be able to support themselves. And it was just super honorable, the way that they thought about supporting the community too. It really touched me seeing them change so quickly, the learning. I’ve obviously ordered take out there two, three times now over the past couple of weeks and just watched their operation evolve. It’s been amazing.
Scott: Yeah. You’re doing something really amazing for a lot of people and sometimes … There’s been so much, like the intensity of COVID and the intensity of businesses shutting down and all that stuff that can … Sometimes I get down, and so-
Rohit: Totally.
Scott: I wanted to bring the fresh air and show everyone what you’re doing because you could have been someone who just sat there too. And I really have a lot of respect for what you’re doing and just-
Rohit: Thank you.
Scott: On behalf of our community thank you for helping all these small businesses, restaurants survive and hopefully-
Rohit: Scott, it’s not me. It’s the team. The team took this. Our mission is to empower local business and they took it by the horns. I’ve never seen this team move as fast over a four- or five-day period to build and launch something from scratch. It’s just an incredible thing to be a part of.
Scott: Shout out to the entire Coast App team. Shout out guys. Thank you so much. All right Ro, where can everyone find you? How can they help out? And maybe should they be spreading the word more?
Rohit: Yeah. Go to coastapp.com/takeoucovid. It’s on the homepage as well. You can find it right there. You can go to your city, click on it, you can find the restaurants. You can submit your favorite restaurant if you’d like. We go through. If you submit it we’ll verify the listing. It doesn’t have to be just a business owner that puts it in there. If you want to support local, get them in there. Maybe they’ll be discovered. We’re adding new features, search, filtering a list, trying to make it better, iterating, that kind of thing. So, pass it on to your friends. Love for more businesses to be able to get discovered in these tough times.
Scott: I love it. Ro, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Check out coastapp.com/takeoutcovid and please spread the word. This is a good news kind of thing and we should … Let’s brighten everybody’s day by just sharing this good news.
Rohit: Absolutely.
Scott: All right buddy. Thank you.
Rohit: Thank you, Scott. Thank you so much for your time.
Singer: So, when your troubles are mounting in tax or accounting, you go to Kruze and Founders and Friends. It’s Kruze Consulting. Founders and Friends with your host, Scotty Orn.

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