Sramana Mitra: We see a ton of companies outside of the Bay Area given what we do and our global nature. The other day, there was a security company from Capetown, South Africa pitching at the roundtable. It’s very encouraging and heartwarming to see how much of the knowledge of what we used to do as this cottage industry in Silicon Valley is spreading all over the world right now.
Clint Chao: The one cautionary tale we give to entrepreneurs if they are based in a different market is just to make sure that you can still recruit easily. That can be addressed in many cases. Many of these companies are based near universities that have talent and are eager to stay in town or stay in the area. We’re optimistic about the continuing trend.
Sramana Mitra: What trends do you see in your deal flow? If you look back on the last 15 months, what stands out? What are you observing and synthesizing?
Clint Chao: As I mentioned before, our overarching thesis is something we call Reimagine Work. The way we look for companies reimagining work is primarily in three categories. One is, as we discussed earlier, new capabilities created by new digital connections.
The second type is companies that can create new ways to work. In other words, creating technology such that an entirely new different type of business model can be made possible to solve a particular problem in an industry.
We have an investment in a company called Call9. They’ve built a platform that helps eliminate 911 calls in nursing homes. They created a business model that allowed nursing homes to have instantaneous access to ER doctors located around the country connected via a telemedicine connection. They placed medical personnel in those nursing homes to act as communicators with the patients as well as with the doctors in the cloud. This new plumbing allows patients to be seen by qualified ER doctors within minutes.
The whole purpose is to eliminate the need to take patients to the emergency room when they don’t need to be taken to the emergency room. 70% of ER calls coming from nursing homes are false alarms. Many of them are not necessarily physically suited to be transported at a moment’s notice just to see a doctor.
The founder of Call9 was an ER doctor. He saw an opportunity to create a new type of service. He actually has a great story. He spent three months living in a nursing home to observe and to understand what kind of platform he needed to create to introduce to the market. Now, we’re finding that patients are able to get great medical care and doctors can determine the severity of the 911 incident in minutes rather than hours.
They are able to prevent ambulance rolls, which saves money. Hospitals are less clogged with people waiting to see doctors. They created this brand new platform. They offer it to nursing homes and nursing home patients on a subscription basis.
Sramana Mitra: Very interesting.
Clint Chao: This goes back to that original thesis. If Call9 is right and they’re getting great traction, then this could be fundamentally a new way to get medical attention and care for a large population. We like to think that if they’re right, they can become a long-standing, sustainable, high-value company providing this capability.
This kind of thing exists across all these different markets. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for the kinds of companies that have an understanding of the nuances of that industry but then can take technology and say, “I can solve the problems where data gets clogged up because of physical incumbents that have existed in the industry for decades.”