Jonathan Chan & Rena Tabata, ShareSmart


1. What does ShareSmart do?

ShareSmart is a secure clinical app that enables healthcare professionals to use their own smartphones to take photos and discuss patient cases with colleagues.


2. What inspired ShareSmart? What problem are you solving?

The idea for ShareSmart was the result of a situation that many medical professionals have encountered: they’ve accidentally breached privacy by using their own phones to take medical photos. 

Photos are extremely important in the medical world yet there are very few applications that allow healthcare professionals to take them securely. The implications of patient privacy breaches are incredibly detrimental - both from a financial and reputational point of view.

3. How long did it take you to go from prototype to launch?

It took us about six months to get from the conceptual framework to a product that we felt would work. Within this time period, we sought consultation from end users ( healthcare workers) to understand what they needed.  We coupled this information with UI experts to come up with an intuitively designed app.


4. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?

One of our co-founders, Dr. Justin Yeung, is a plastic surgeon. Given his photo-dependent discipline, he saw the need for this capability amongst his own practice and with the broader healthcare industry.

We realized that there was a huge opportunity to enable health providers, whether they be nurses, physiotherapists or pharmacists, to communicate securely and efficiently.


5. What are your greatest achievements so far?

We’ve been able to form some amazing partnerships with visionaries, large corporations and hospitals. These heavy-hitters have included a number of medical associations, universities (University of Calgary) and hospitals (Sick Kids in Toronto).

While securing these partnerships have been incredibly exciting, and a testament to the market need, our greatest achievement by far has been hearing how the app is being used to make a difference. Connecting with people in the healthcare sector, and seeing their enthusiastic head nods when they hear about our app, is so satisfying.


6. What are your future goals?

We hope to enter the global market and offer ShareSmart as a solution to all healthcare professionals around the world. Having such a powerful communications platform is only the start to what can truly be possible.

Once ShareSmart becomes the go-to communication platform for all healthcare professionals, we will continue building out other digital healthcare solutions through our side projects which include everything from AI and VR to educational tools.


Advice Corner

7. How has Startup Calgary helped you so far?

Startup Calgary has been an important part of our story as we grow as a company. They’ve provided fantastic resources and connections, but most of all, support and technical expertise from industry professionals to give us a leg-up in contract negotiations and strategic planning.

“The ShareSmart Team had an amazing time at Startup Calgary Launch Party 2017. As the event name alludes, it is a celebration of the entrepreneurial movers and shakers based in YYC. We found the events leading up to the last hurrah were equally awesome - they put your entrepreneurial muscles through a series of exercises to ultimately help you and your team come out better, wherever you may have started off.
The quality of the mentors who came in to share their knowledge and poke and prod your business to help you reflect deeply about what you’re doing, were truly second to none. We’re grateful and humbled to have participated and are excited to put our learnings in to practice." - Rena Tabata, Founder of CEO of ThinkTank Innovations Inc. (ShareSmart)


8. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary and Launch Party?

Be open to learn and enjoy the moment. There have been so many unexpected introductions and opportunities along the way that we may have missed if we had been too set in our ways.


9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?

Don't be afraid of failure. Many startups don’t ever progress further than the “ I have a cool idea” space because of our social aversion to failing. We are so conditioned to be successful, that we no longer see failing as a learning process.  If you and your team know you have a game changer, just go and do it!


10. Who do you look up to in the Calgary startup community? Which companies are doing cool things?

I think the startup community in Calgary is world-class. If you walk into any coffee shop, you’ll hear people pitching ideas and really stepping out of their comfort zone to make something happen.

We recently stumbled upon a neat concept from a company known as ZayZoon that is disrupting our idea of how companies pay employees. They have a a great idea, a dynamic team and I believe that we will be seeing a lot more of them.


11. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?

Find a CTO early on. We now have a fantastic CTO who has been making huge strides in helping us rethink and redesign the long-term technological goals of our company. If we had focused our efforts earlier in finding this type of skillset, we could have prevented a number of bumps and bruises along the way.

Published December 8, 2017