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Meet Best Start Up – Tech Innovation Finalist Clevertar

COO and Co-Founder of Clevertar Tanya Newhouse speaks to Talent Unleashed about the business, the Talent Unleashed Awards and the future.

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Clevertar is an Australian health IT company that introduces relational agents – ‘clever avatars’ – to care environments, supporting patients with chronic conditions at a fraction of the cost of human intervention. Its flagship product is Anna Cares™, a SaaS platform designed to motivate patients towards better adherence – the single largest factor in preventing avoidable hospitalisation. With ‘Anna’, Clevertar addresses the structural economic and care crises facing ageing population.

Tell us about Clevertar, where do you see it going?

As a creator of relational agents for health and care services, I see Clevertar moving into areas where patient engagement really matters; in other words, in situations where the patient must manage their own health to avoid hospitalisation. This is extremely relevant when the patient goes home after discharge, for rehabilitation, and over the longer term with chronic condition management.

Clevetar’s number one priority is the prevention of avoidable health costs, so our focus will continue to be on educating, reminding, and connecting patients to their care team via relational agent technology. It’s exciting that health providers are demanding these solutions, and Clevertar will be at the forefront of this wave.

What inspired you to start?

Probably a better question to this point is ‘Who’ inspired me to start, and the answer is Dr Martin Luerssen, a cognitive scientist at Flinders University who has a passion for virtual agent technologies with purpose.  He introduced me to the vast potential of this technology, but more importantly, a willingness to think commercially about its application. This gave me the confidence to take the leap and start Clevertar.

What is the best part of your role?

As a co-founder and COO the best part of my role is working with customers, partners, and a great team to build Clevertar. As an innovation company, Clevertar takes a leadership role in the market while at the same time; we listen and learn from our customers in crafting our solution. This agility is challenging, but it’s also hugely rewarding, and it can only come from a nimble start-up.

What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had from starting your own business?

There have been many learning experiences, but my biggest relates to the type of business we’re in – healthcare innovation – and understanding what parts of the market are ready for change. Existing practices have strong inertia, so it’s important to find early adopters who are willing to challenge the status quo and lead the industry with us.

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What advice would you give to yourself knowing what you do now?

The path could be winding and rocky, but will always be great fun. So be grateful for the many smart, talented and supportive people around you who make the journey worth it.

What interested you about the Talent Unleashed awards?

Talent Unleashed resonated with me because the categories focus on entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, and how this solves real business problems. The awards are commercially and outcome oriented – rather than technology for it’s own sake – and this aligns well with our culture.

Who has helped you or been the best mentor with your business?

Our CEO, Mark Pitcher has been my best mentor at Clevertar. His experience in early and growth stage companies helped me think about path to revenue – our most critical objective. I have also learnt a great deal from his leadership in capital raising and commercial deal making, and his focus on shared benefit, future opportunity and risk. It has been a privilege to be on the same side of the table with such a smart operator.

Who is your biggest business inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is Judy Falkner, CEO and founder of Epic Systems, a healthcare software company whose software stores medical information for more than half of the U.S. population. She has just been ranked No. 3 on Forbes’ ‘America’s Richest Self-Made Women’ list, having started Epic in 1979 and building to achieve revenues in 2014 of $1.77B (it remains privately held). Healthcare IT, like much of the IT industry, is a male domain, so it is inspiring to see a leader like Judy taking on the industry and winning.

What is your biggest work accomplishment?

My biggest work accomplishment has been building a great team, gaining funding, and delivering World First products to the market.

Where do you see the technology industry going in the next 10 years?

Healthcare IT will continue to focus on gaining efficiencies for providers and delivering better care through technology applications. In many ways, this continues its current path. However, as reimbursement models move towards prevention and population health, providers will empower consumers to use technology for their own self-management. AI will play a substantial role in this.

To find out more, click here: http://www.annacares.com/ 

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Best of luck to Clevertar in the global grand finals! Results of the 2016 Talent Unleashed Global Grand Final will be announced at the event on the 18th of August 2016.