Daniel is president and CEO of south Florida–based Modernizing Medicine, Inc., a healthcare company that aims to change the way medical information is created, consumed, and used to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve outcomes. Daniel has a BS from Cornell University where, as an undergraduate, he co-founded Blackboard Inc. Daniel serves as the vice-chairman of the board at the South Florida Science Museum and is a member of the Foundation Board at Florida Atlantic University. He is an active member of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the Boca Chamber of Commerce, and several local advisory boards.
Sramana: Daniel, let’s start with your personal background in order to set the context for your entrepreneurial journey. Where are you from?
Daniel Cane: I grew up in south Florida. I had an entrepreneurial youth with the usual sets of lemonade stands and other endeavors to make a few bucks here and there. The beginning of my modern entrepreneurial experience happened during my sophomore year at Cornell University. I founded a company called CourseInfo with a very simple premise.
The Internet was just coming out, and Mosaic had just produced a graphical browser. I had taken some course material, digitized it, and built a class website around it. I did this for a few reasons, some of which were philanthropic and others that were selfish. The only industry that I had grown up with was education. My entire existence up to that point was in education. I felt uniquely qualified to do something in that space.
I could not keep up with demand of my professors for building these class websites. I told them that because it was taking so much time, I needed to charge them something, and they all told me they were happy to pay. That is when a small light bulb went off. As the demand grew, I hired my friends and we soon had a nice company on our hands building websites.
The tool suite that we developed in-house for automation became so powerful that we decided to license the tool suite to other universities. That was the beginning of Blackboard. Blackboard grew out of a merge of my company in Cornell and another company in Washington D.C., and the two companies had the same, unified vision of a transformation in the education arena through technology.
Sramana: Did you run Blackboard?
Daniel Cane: I was the person in charge of all technology and R&D. I served in a CTO role as opposed to the CEO role. I was there the entire time on the board. We built it up, grew it and sold it in 2009. It was a nice exit for all. I don’t always focus on the exits because they are anticlimactic, but we did sell that company for well over $1 billion.