Belarus IT has been developing in the sphere of outsourcing for the past 15 years. IT service companies have experience in working on projects of different complexities, using various technologies, solving different business challenges, as well as improving and expanding business and technological expertise. Today, we see how companies become active participants in product evolution and focus not only on coding and functionality development but more on the final product delivery and what value their work will bring to the project’s (product) success.
Recently, we have been seeing how software development services are transforming into product development services (PDS). Service companies have an excellent and unique base, which is developable further and necessary for future growth. PDS brings the greatest value and visible result when working with start-ups on innovative solutions.
Consider their project with Piavita; a Swiss medtech startup which closely cooperates with SumatoSoft. Piavita’s mission is to revolutionize the veterinary industry by developing a high precision diagnostics device to measure vital data of horses. This device is based on unique hardware, software, and data processing technologies fully developed by Piavita.
The Piavita Vet System allows, for the first time, to measure the most important vital parameters of horses wirelessly, simultaneously, and noninvasively through their coat hair. This system does not need any preparation of the horse, so procedures such as gluing or shaving are not required. The Piavita Vet System replaces a number of cumbersome, or rather “old-school,” medical devices, mainly adapted from human medicine. Other systems require the horse’s skin to be punctured to attach the device. Methods such as this tend to make animals anxious, worried, and may often lead to falsified data. Unlike those other devices, the Piavita Vet System is small and can be bound to a horse with a special belt. This belt does not irritate the horse and allows them to live their normal life while all data is recorded within seconds.
Piavita is beyond just state-of-the-art sensor technologies. Piavita also establishes big data regarding the health condition of horses, exceeding the scope and detail level of an available database. Furthermore, Piavita offers a web-platform, the Piavita Vet Platform allowing users to manage their patients and vital data measurements. This platform includes a variety of ground-breaking features and reports, such as sharing measurements with colleagues and specialists instantly and view the vital data in real-time from anywhere. Thanks to Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition, extensive volumes of medical data can be analyzed and visualized instantly. The sensors of the measuring device send data included into the payload of a MQTT message. On this payload, the raw vital data calculations have to be complete before the visualization appears on the user’s corresponding UI.
The device’s biggest value is that it saves veterinarians time, efforts, and resources. Moreover, it allows veterinarians and horse owners to get very extensive and continuous information about the health condition of horses than ever before. Thanks to the Piavita Vet System, high precision medical measurements (electrocardiogram, heart rate, pulse sequence, body core temperature, respiratory rate and sequence, activity level, and motion patterns), support and enhance the veterinarian’s diagnosis and allow for identifying and treating pain and diseases well in advance.
SumatoSoft has been supporting Piavita with the development of the software solution, including the multifunctional Piavita Vet Platform.
Piavita can already boast of the success. Not only was the first production batch sold out, but the start-up also won a number of high-ranking awards. In September 2017, Piavita was certified by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) of the Swiss Government. This proves that Piavita “meets the requirements and general conditions for long-term growth”. Only one year after their foundation, Piavita was selected as one of the Top 100 Start-ups in Switzerland. In March this year, Piavia was among the winners of “venture leaders Technology 2017” and has become a part of the “Swiss Startup Technology Team 2017”. As a result, Piavita relieved the chance to spend one week in Silicon Valley for a roadshow to meet top technology investors and experts. Since then, the start-up has received great feedback from both their clients and investors.
We spoke with Sascha Buehrle, Co-Founder and CTO of Piavita, about entrepreneurship, their project and approach to partnership, their impression from Belarus, and the impact SumatoSoft brought to the project.
How did you come up with the original idea? Maybe you have a beautiful story behind your company’s beginnings?
The sensors were basically developed for the personal usage for measuring forks suspensions. We didn’t have an idea of making a business of it, I just developed a sensor and I used it for mountain biking just for me. It wasn’t planned for measuring any conditions.
Later we realized that these sensors can measure many different things including vital signals of human (and now we see animal) bodies and we improved the technology. It worked even better than we thought. That’s why we decided to move forward and start the business.
What were the main challenges you faced at the early stages of your business?
At the beginning, it was challenging to find the right investors. It hasn’t been a problem at all to find them, but choosing the right people is fundamental.
It is always difficult to start when you have nothing, right?
Yes, right, especially if you approach potential investors only with an idea. Fortunately, the market potential within the veterinary industry is huge. In combination with our ground-breaking technology, the potential of our envisioned product became obvious from very early on.
Any other challenges?
Yes, it was challenging to find the perfect technological partner for the project. We assessed potential partners thoroughly. We are glad to have found SumatoSoft and never regretted our choice.
How would you describe the partnership with SumatoSoft? Why did you choose the company? How did they impact to Piavita development?
We partner very closely with SumatoSoft. One of the key reasons for choosing SumatoSoft is its access to outstanding talent and relevant in-depth knowledge. Our product involves state-of-the-art and highly complex technology, so we were looking for highly skilled and specialized experts.
Have you previously worked with any software services providers?
No, the collaboration with SumatoSoft is our first partnership with a software service provider.
Sascha, how did you build up an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you believe you were born with it, or you developed it?
I think it developed it over time. At the beginning, I was mainly involved in research and development activities in large companies. However, when our own business opportunity started to evolve, I realized that building my own business enables me to work in a much more flexible and faster way – which I really appreciate today.
It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. What keeps you going even in hard times?
I think because it is your own product; the product that you built from scratch. You had basically nothing, just an idea, and you see it growing and growing and I think it keeps you motivated even in hard times.
What are your future plans for the service?
Currently, our customers are veterinarians– namely clinics and practitioners who treat horses. However, the Piavita Vet System may also be used to measure vital data of other animals, for example. The potential for product development is huge.
What are some new products you are going to launch?
It is a commercial secret we’ll reveal it at a later point in time.
What did you know about Belarus before contacting SumatoSoft?
Nothing. I didn’t even know where it is located. I googled Russia and then I found Belarus. Then I started looking for the information about Belarus and its IT potential, companies, etc.
What is your general impression of Minsk and the community?
It’s a really great city. I don’t think that people in Switzerland or Germany know real Minsk– they know different things from some rear mass media publications, but it is far from being truth. They don’t know how developed your country is, and that Belarus is a country with a well-established IT sphere and specialists who can truly become a partner in your product development.