12 August 2021
ACV 43: Lessons Learned From Juggernaut Companies And Small Startups (Dorothea Koh, Founder/CEO of Bot MD, Part 2)
Dorothea Koh is the founder and CEO of a healthcare technology company, Bot MD. Bot MD is a mobile-based AI chatbot that provides an interface for doctors to quickly access information related to hospital policies, formularies, check who’s on call etc. Along with her founder YC, Dorothea started Bot MD back in 2018 and joined Y Combinator’s summer 2018 batch. Prior to starting Bot MD, Dorothea rocketed up through the ranks at Medtronic and then Baxter, eventually holding the portfolios of country head for Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar. However, she chose to give that up and chose the unconventional path, resigning from her job to start Bot MD.
In this episode, I talk to Dorothea about her experience in Y combinator, how Bot MD found product market fit, and what she learnt from working for large Med Tech companies.
3 THINGS I LEARNED
- It hurts to “wander around in the desert” looking for product market fit, but it’s an unavoidable part of the journey and it teaches you a lot of lessons. Trust your instincts as an entrepreneur. Keep iterating until you have something that customers snatch out of your hands, maybe even before it’s perfect.
- Think twice before raising funds. Dorothea thinks of it like credit card debt – you can draw down as much as you want on it, but there’s a hefty interest bill to come later. Do as much as you can to stretch your funds. If your idea isn’t working, think about shutting the firm down rather than raising more money to keep a zombie company going.
- It’s important for leaders to be on the ground, so that you know exactly what your customers want. Dorothea used to make her sales reps take her to the deepest parts of China with them to meet her customers.
TOPICS WE COVERED
- What life was like at Y Combinator, and how it differs from the Stanford Biodesign course
- What it was like pitching to her seed investors – and what seed investors are looking for
- What it feels like to “wander in the desert” looking for product market fit
- How you know you have product market fit
- How you should think about raising funds for your startup – it’s not a free lunch
- What Dorothea learned from working for established medical technology companies
- How Dorothea went to see the users of her company’s products in far flung villages – and the lessons this taught her
- Skills you should focus on learning when you are working for other larger organisations
- What’s next for Bot MD
- YC: Y combinator https://www.ycombinator.com/
- Stanford Biodesign https://biodesign.stanford.edu/
- Steve Blank https://steveblank.com/
- Mike Maples https://www.linkedin.com/in/maples/; https://www.floodgate.com/
- “How Not to Die” by Paul Graham http://www.paulgraham.com/die.html
- Paul Graham’s essays http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html
- Dorothea Koh https://www.dorotheakoh.com/
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