Interview with Anthony Cirurgiao, CEO
Tell Us About Your Journey
My journey started when I moved to Massachusetts to join a start-up and then got a taste of what it was like to be in a dynamic environment. At that point, I never left. That start-up moved on, got acquired and I’ve had that fever to stay in this entrepreneurial community.
I did go to venture for a little bit, but figured in the end, I preferred building things and came back to this world of building a company and trying to get a product to market that people will use and like.
What Is The History of Basil Systems?
Basil Systems started by watching a news segment on people getting hip implants that were under recall and they didn’t know it, neither did the physician. So these people had years of suffering ahead of them before they could recover enough to get their hips replaced again. The question is, how did that happen? What really was a driving factor for me was, in today’s day and age, is that sensationalist news story or is that happening every day.
I started researching and digging into it and I discovered, unfortunately, this is not a problem that was a one-off. That yes, the doctors often don’t know the quality of the product they’re using. The hospitals don’t know what’s on their shelves. So what we started trying to do is investigate how common and how does this problem get solved, and who else is trying to tackle this problem.
What we discovered is there was a lot of data out there, but this data wasn’t being aggregated or used to support the process, to support the dissemination of all this information into the value chain of healthcare.
We were surprised, and it’s a very large task, but that’s what we started looking at, is all the different information sources out there that could be brought together and could be indexed and correlated, that could inform the value chain of what’s going on with a product or with a drug from the time it’s going into market to the time it’s about to be administered or used.
Basil was built on the fact that, surprisingly, this data still lives out there, siloed, and no one else had done it. So that became our mission statement, was to pull every part of the public data, of data that’s supporting patient outcomes, everything, and create this resource that anybody could tap into to look at what’s going on, what’s in market, how’s it performing. What can I do about it? How do I improve it?
What Are Some Inspirations That Motivate You?
One of the primary inspirations that motivates me on a daily basis has to do with what we are doing to impact patient outcomes. What I mean by that is a physician that has been using Basil Systems, was delivering a message at a cardiology meeting and he showed a picture of a 22-year-old kid. This picture is of an athlete, and it was a photo before he passed away. The physician stood up and said, “Well, if I’d had Basil Systems, I would have used a different implantable and he’d still be here.” That kind of humanizes what we’re trying to accomplish. At this point, that is probably the biggest inspiration for, not just me, but everybody in the company is trying to sit there and say, “We can prevent things like that.”
What Challenges Have You Faced?
I think my challenges are the same with any start-up CEO. I mean, your number one goal is to make sure that you never run out of money, that no one has to worry about meeting paychecks. But then the biggest challenge I’ve faced, which is probably unique to this environment right now, is it’s hiring, it’s recruiting, it’s finding the right people that are going to fit, that have skill sets that are highly in demand, and everybody’s looking for good people.
I think that’s right now, money is always the challenge at day one, but then when you have the money, the bigger challenge that never stops is just trying to get the people on your team that can help push the company forward.
What Advice Can You Offer To Other Entrepreneurs?
Don’t do it unless you believe it. Whenever you’re talking to somebody, whether it’s an investor or whether it’s recruiting somebody to join your company, if you’re not really passionate, you just think you have a good idea, but you’re not really committed to it, it comes across. At that point, it’s hard to convince somebody when you’re not 100 % behind it yourself, and I see it. Sometimes people know that they got an idea that makes money, but they’re not really into pushing it forward and driving it. I think that really hampers their ability to get themselves out there and get the crew behind them.
Whare Do You See Basil Systems In 3-5 Years?
I always just look at like, can I get through the next six months? What do we get done in the next six months? It’s really hard because, especially for us, our software is built on a long-term plan. We are going to keep extending our reach and providing services to different parts of the healthcare value chain. The question is, when will we stop? At this point, we’re probably just at the very first stages with the customers we have, they could keep us busy, just continuing to support them, but we want to keep going. In 3-5 years, I think we’re still just marching and building more software to reach bigger and bigger pieces of the value chain in healthcare.
What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided to Basil Systems?
Gesmer has really solved the problem I think that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize they have when they’re starting a company. That is, you parcel out, “Oh, I’m going to get my legal services here. I’ll go get my accounting services there.” Instead, what Gesmer, how they approached us was simply saying, “Hey, have you met so and so? Have you talked about this? I bet you’re going through something similar to an experience that they’ve worked through.”
They’re not trying to just sit there and say, we can do your documents or we can help you with the financing. Instead, they’re literally trying to figure out how they can connect you with other resources. Or as I mentioned, we struggled to find some talent, they helped us find somebody that they may know in their network.
So Gesmer has been great just because they really try to figure out where you’re looking or what you need, they try and connect you with somebody they’ve worked with, somebody they know, whether or not there’s anything in it for them. That’s been a unique model and that’s what got us to work with Gesmer.
Why Go With Gesmer?
I go with Gesmer because I’ve had a great experience with the attorneys I’ve worked with, and that includes those who aren’t actually providing legal services. Having somebody who can literally just call me up, and does, and ask me, “What’s going on this week? You need anything? Anything I can help with?” Without any expectation, it’s not a legal consultation. That is what I found to be the perhaps most unique thing that’s pulled me to say, you’ve got to go with Gesmer, just for that. Just for the fact that whether or not you use them, they’ll still sit there and reach out to you periodically say, “Hey, what can we do? Where can we help you?”
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