Johanna Wollert Melin
Position: Entrepreneur and Founder of Trice Imaging
Company: Trice Imaging
Founded: 2008 with Co- founders Åsa Nordgren and Martin Westin
What is Trice Imaging?
Trice Imaging is a solution for medical images. Hospitals and clinics around the world use our solution to review, archive, share and manage their medical images. Trice has a classic monthly subscription model, where clinics pay for what they use
Describe how you got to this position.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My dad and my brother are successful entrepreneurs. Their passion to build something greater than themselves inspired me to start my own company with a dream to build a global product.
I have had different roles during Trice Imaging’s journey. The first years before we moved the companies to the US I was the CEO. Then I was Chief Operating Officer (COO) for six years. Now moving back to Sweden, I have a new exciting role as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO).
When we started Trice was a platform helping companies to deliver communication in the mobile channel for all types of customers; newspapers, dating sites and a big fitness chain in Sweden. We got the inspiring idea from Sweden’s biggest OB clinic Mama Mia during a workshop where we helped them with text reminders etc. One of the staff asked us “can you share the ultrasound images to your phone?” We thought the idea was brilliant. If you have an existing printing behavior today it’s going to go digital. So we decided to try to build a way to share medical images. It took us 9 months and all of our resources to build the first prototype of Trice.
When we were building it, we didn’t know anything about DICOM, HL7, Query and Retrieve, Dicom Worklist, FDA approvals, security protocols and without legacy we came up with a very simple and elegant solution to share images directly from the imaging device.
In May 2009, when we launched the first version of Trice, we had a marketing budget of $150.00. From that simple press release, we received attention from all around the world.
What is your biggest success?
We got invited to the Wireless Influencer conference in San Diego, where we met one of the US’s most famous Cardiologists, Dr, Eric Topol. He is today considered the father of Digital Health. When we told him what our technology could do, he said: “I’m leaving in 1 hour to do a TED speech about digital health. If you can give me 2 slides on your technology, I will show it to the world.” During his TED talk Eric Topol and Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, introduced their new portable ultrasound device called the VSCAN. This was not connected and couldn’t send digital images. Then he showed Trice and he told Immelt during his TED speech: “If you combine these two capabilities, you have a game-changing product”.
Today Trice Imaging is launched in 15 countries around the world and we have global partnerships with Philips, Samsung, Sonosite, Athena Health, Allscripts etc.
Ever since we launched the first version of Tricefy our big dream has been to have the same brand cache in our space as “Intel inside.” In other words, our goal is that every portable Ultrasound device in the world will have “Trice inside.” One year ago our dream came true. We launched the first connected ultrasound device with FUJIFILM Sonosite with “Trice inside.” During the upcoming years we will launch more of these imaging devices.
What is your greatest challenge in the coming years?
Our industry challenges are different. How do we scale and keep operational excellence when it comes to product quality, customer service, onboarding, compliance and organization in new countries? How do we adapt and stay innovative and unique? How do we create a seamless customer journey and at the same time lower customer acquisition, customer support and installation costs? Not easy tasks. But as my partner usually says “Impossible is nothing.”
What is the most important experience that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
If you are going to build a global innovation, you need to commit to becoming a prophet. Accept that you will struggle against people who benefit from things staying the way they are right now. Our first year, we went to all of the bigger radiology tradeshows in the US and Europe trying to inspire companies we saw as potential global partners in the industry. To be honest, it did not go so well. It would have been very easy to get discouraged. But we didn’t let resistance shake our belief in our product.
The lesson is: If you are early in a paradigm shift, you have to prepare yourself for reactions. People will ignore you, they will laugh at you and fight the change you’re bringing. Leading is bleeding, but don’t ever lose faith in your product. Ignore the people who are laughing and throwing stones at you and find the people who believe in your product. Show the world how your product will make a difference.