Interview with company founder Uwe Gladbach
In this interview on ClinFlows’ 10th anniversary, founder Uwe Gladbach provides insights into his very personal funding story and gives outlooks on the company’s future as well as the development of the industry.
When you look back ten years, why did you decide to found ClinFlows back then?
Well, it was actually more or less by chance. At the end of 2010, I had the opportunity to take over a software from a failed startup. Based on my many years of experience in various management positions in medical technology, I was convinced that this software would add a lot of value to the medical industry: remember that the internet was different back then and sending gigabytes around the globe was a huge deal. At the same time, after 20 years of being an employee, I felt that it would be great to start my own business and do “my own thing”. No sooner said than done, ClinFlows was founded together with Jeff our CTO .
Wasn’t it a big step for you to become self-employed?
Yes, it definitely was. But the anticipation of self-determination outweighed it. I found the idea exciting of taking responsibility for all the strategic decisions of my own business, setting the right priorities, and being confronted with the good and, of course, sometimes not so good results. In any case, I haven’t regretted my decision for a second so far and I think the fact that our products decidemedical and dicomdrop are now used in 94 countries and by the big players in the industry speaks for itself.
What is it like today: What do you like best about your work?
Well, one the one hand, it’s being in touch with the most innovative technologies in medicine, the progressiveness of our industry, developing state-of-the art technology that helps people. And on the other hand, it’s our global reach, connecting specialists worldwide for the benefit of the patient and the impact this has on the individual and their health.
What moment in the last ten years with ClinFlows stands out in your mind?
There are many special moments when you lead a company for 10 years. For me, the above-average team spirit and the high level of customer orientation in ClinFlows are of the utmost importance. One situation that has particularly stuck in my memory is therefore the following:
At the beginning of each year – when Covid-19 is not dominating the world – we typically spend a few days with the entire ClinFlows team at a winter sports resort – we call it the ClinFlows WinterCamp. There, we discuss strategies, do roundtable discussions, and hold internal meetings. And, of course, we also enjoy some nice ski days together.
Years ago, there was this evening after skiing when the whole team was sitting in an Italian restaurant after a very sporty day, all pretty exhausted and tired and ready to spend a nice evening together. But then my phone rang and a customer from California was on the line, complaining that there was a problem, and she couldn’t retrieve some medical images from our platform, which she urgently needed because the patient needed surgery the same day, thus the case review was urgent. When I described the situation to my team, one immediately grabbed his tablet, the other trudged through the snow to get his laptop from the hotel. And then we all sat at the table in the restaurant, reviewed the situation and fixed the problem so the data could be reviewed and the patient operated. No one groaned, everyone was very focused and motivated. That was a very satisfying moment for all of us.
What was the most important lesson you learned in ten years of ClinFlows?
Clearly, “Business is done by, with and for people.” I think it’s quite important to keep reminding ourselves of this, because even though we are software providers and thus deal mainly with IT and artificial intelligence, the focus on people and health drives us.
Let’s venture a look into the future: Where do you think your industry will develop in the next 10 years?
I am convinced that artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role as well as personalized medicine to provide individual treatment plans and options. In the space of clinical trials it will be most interesting to see developments with regard to the concept around Human Digital Twins and its consequences to speed up innovation in medicine.
Thank you, Uwe, for the open conversation!