In this episode of the DevReady Podcast, hosts Andrew Romeo and Anthony Sapountzis talk to Surge Singh, Co-Founder of Locumate, a platform, the aim of which is to create a community dedicated to Locums in Australia. Listen in to this insightful conversation to learn more about the platform that is looking to bring about the much-needed technological disruption in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that Locums can find the perfect shifts, get paid on time and get access to additional educational resources to help them grow their career as pharmacists.
Surge recalls how the idea of Locumate came about—it was the month of March in 2020 when his wife Kavita Nadan, a pharmacist herself, (also Co-Founder of Locumate) came home fuming about the invoices; and growing frustrated because of problems she was having in regards to the engagement with locums. Wanting to help her, Surge took it upon himself to find if there was software that could ease her work.
To his surprise, there was no such software available, not just locally but also in the international market. So, the duo decided to build one on their own. With Surge’s technical expertise and Kavita’s know-how of the domain, they took a methodological approach in delivering a technology that would help solve the problem in the industry. They sat down and designed what an end-to-end process would look like. They built a prototype and established a feedback loop with the end-users, which in their case, were not just the Locums but also the pharmacists.
Surge goes on to talk about how having a product is one thing but building a business around the product is an entirely different challenge. From his experience, he says that he consulted the experts and hired a team that knew how to build a business rather than trying to do something that the founders weren’t particularly good at. When asked about how he caters to a niche audience, his key pointers were:
1. Have domain expertise as it allows you to identify and then solve unique problems/ pain in the industry.
2. Build trust in the brand as people need to know who is behind the product that they are likely to use.
3. Create a feedback loop with end-users as it might help address additional problems and concerns that might have not been covered when building the prototype.
· Building a Transactional Platform for Locums and Pharmacists
· Balancing Domain and Technical Expertise
· Building a Product and Developing a Business around it
· Creating a Feedback Loop with End Users
· Creating and Sticking to Core Values
· Finding a Great Tech Partner
Listen or watch the complete episode to learn the complete story of Locumate.
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Key Quotes (Time Stamps)
· “As I went through the process of trying to find a piece of software—locally, globally; it turns out, one doesn’t exist in terms of what you actually want to be able to do. And that’s when, sort of light-bulb moment goes off saying, ‘Hey! Maybe we can build it’.” (3:06 – 3:22)
· “Part of that journey has been getting the idea from her head on to a process and validating that with the users because at the end of the day you could process and define anything but if it doesn’t solve the problem for the end users—in this instance we’ve got two sets: the pharmacy itself and the locums; and hence why we say we connect pharmacies and the locums through the platform.” (3:46 – 4:09)
· “Sometimes as technical people we come up with a great technical solution and we think it’s quite clever and quite simple but it’s not simple enough; and we’ve actually made it more complex by putting too much technology in.” (5:55 – 6:10)
· “You don’t want to create the end product too early because if you get it wrong you’ve invested all this time, money and effort into creating something that people can’t use.” (8:06 – 8:14)
· “If you don’t engage your actual users as you’re building up the platform, even in the prototyping phase, you may miss something which is a big thing to fix later on.” (8:28 – 8:38)
· “You could have a product but if people don’t know about it or you don’t know how to make it into a business then it doesn’t last very long.” (5:52 – 9:59)
· “You might have 100 users. One user wants something specific but 99 of them want something else. You have to, sort of, whilst being in a niche industry, you’ve to be generic in your approach as well and solve for the masses rather than the five percent.” (21:35 – 21:48)
· “You need a clear vison of what you want the product to be able to do and that is the guiding principle.” (23:19 – 23:27)
· “Our vision is not just a transactional platform but building a community.” (29:28 – 29:32)
· “Find a great partner. When I say a partner, it doesn’t have to be a co-founder that you go in search of because that’s a serious commitment, right? But find a tech partner that can help you build the product and fill the void of not having a technical co-founder to be able to help you on that journey; someone you can build trust with to be able to bring to life from a technical perspective what you want to solve.” (33:59 – 34:24)
Social Media Clips (Time Stamps)
Solving a Problem with Locumate (2:26 – 4:09)
· Finding the Right Balance Between Tech and Domain Expertise (5:16 – 6:10)
· Seeking Validation from the End Users (6:48 – 8:38)
· Turning a Product into a Business (8:40 – 9:59)
· Evolution of the Product from Concept to Delivery (13:54 – 15:34)
· Adhering to the Core Values (23:19 – 24:53)
· Finding a Great Tech Partner (33:37 – 35:22)
Connect with Surge Singh
Connect with Andrew Romeo
Connect with Anthony