We interviewed the CEO of Bionabu, one of the leading Med Tech education companies, to gain insight into what the platform offers and the ins and outs of building a startup. We hope you enjoy this brief article!
Q. Before we begin, Ina, do you mind introducing yourself anD giving us a brief summary of who you are and what Bionabu is all about?
A. For those who don't know about Bionabu, we are the number one education platform for those who want to get involved with medical technology and want to know what this intersection between medicine and technology is. We pivoted Bionabu for a couple of years and we opened our doors for everybody who is curious about where to start and what their personalised career could look like in the future. Whether you are right now an existing student, or a junior doctor, or a bit more seasoned professional, we are connecting educators as well as professionals for bespoke programs to get together, to mentor, know about what the medtech is, and create amazing projects together.
Bionabu offers structured learning, course recommendations, personalised career plans, and roadmaps for healthcare students and professionals interested in medtech.
Q. For the healthcare students, medical students, and doctors trying to get involved in MedTech, what would you say Bionabu has to offer?
A. We know from our users that structured learning is the one thing. Obviously we cannot do everything. However, we are focusing on recommending courses which you may complete, whether this is the coding courses, recommended courses for those who want to know about AI, we have our own courses. We've got personalised career plans. So that's what we provide. So we provide you with a roadmap of what your career could look like and the steps you need to take to get there. What we observed when we started matching medical students and junior doctors to projects is that the perception of your skills is different when you actually start the job. So to tackle this, we decided to step back and actually provide this guidance about the road mapping of the career and to really work with individuals and the companies who having amazing, amazing people that they want to retain and train. So we are tackling this. We're providing companies with learning and development off-the-shelf solutions that they can plug in into their organisations as well as create their bespoke programs. They can upskill and retain their people while we do what we do well on, educate them on personalisation, what they want to be, and not focusing on the job description.
Q. For students that are thinking of getting the mentorship, what would you say the mentorship has to offer?
Since two things belong to the mentorship. It's a mentor and a mentee. I can only speak from my perspective, I think a mentor needs to be somebody who has been in your shoes. First of all, I've been in this position where I engaged with individuals for my business. How can you have an advisor who never built a startup? I think what we see in the mentorship at Bionabu is something practical, the whole platform, in fact, I want to give people less theory, more practice, right? If we put the courses, I don't want to give people another thing to learn. You have a lot of theoretical things in your medical curriculum. So we are focusing more on the practical things and our educational courses. Now we have an amazing partner that is structured in three levels, which is psychologically proven. So they spun from Oxford innovation. It's to test, learn, apply. Now we don't stop there because this applying knowledge should be applicable in your practice. And we are bringing this extension for our mentees, for our members, not only to educate and upskill themselves, but actually have metrics on how they made this implication on your day to day job.
"Mentors should have experience overcoming the hurdles they are advising on, ensuring they provide valuable guidance based on their own lessons learned."
Q. Have there been any major setbacks that Bionabu has faced and how have you dealt with them?
A. Yes, when I started the platform, that's a typical syndrome of the founder. You want to do everything. And this was my hurdle to actually put a bit more structured approach.I got help, got a co-founder, realised what my limitations as a founder are, what I'm good at, what I'm not good at. Get the right team members on board, trial error, as always. So building an amazing team of people, trusting you, what you are doing and putting yourself into a very clear mode for what you're doing, what you can do, what you cannot do, and putting the right pieces together. For example, we now have learning and management learning as a service partner. We are now integrating some other amazing tools for interactive onboarding.
Q. Do you have any advice for anyone who's trying to find a co-founder or trying to start something?
A. That's a hard one. I wasn't the one who would go into marriage right away. People do that and this advice that I'm giving to my mentees as well is to manage people's expectations. So you need to kiss a lot of frogs along the line and be prepared for that, and be really clear with whom you engage with and why. Be very transparent from the beginning that you're not jumping into the marriage. Maybe you need to start something small, maybe you need to do a little project together. And I think people don't realise that this is so important so that you can first of all see, okay, is there alignment in your working style? Is this person reliable? Because many people tell you lots of things, but when it comes to delivering them, only a few will. And then obviously as a co-founder, you need to think on a personal level if you have a family, then it's a good idea that somebody also has a family and appreciate that sometimes you need to take care of your family, right? If you have small children, if you have multiple things, as a female founder, you need to understand that you have other responsibilities in life. And if you have a bachelor who is always available and you are not, it's a misalignment and it will fly on you one day. So make sure you are in alignment and you have the same work ethic, that you're pulling the company in the same direction and you see the company progress in commitment. So if your co-founder is not able to commit as much as you, whether this is time, money, or ideally both, maybe not.
“Manage expectations when finding a co-founder, be transparent about intentions, and consider starting with a small project together first. Be very transparent from the beginning that you are not jumping into a marriage.”
Q. How would you say Bionabu has positioned itself to be able to adjust to the rapidly evolving nature of healthcare and technology?
A. We understand that some learning management systems are very static and they never get updates. So obviously with medical technology this is what we provide and we're prepared to make the updates frequently. So we have a release and control mechanism to make sure if we are engaging educators that they keep an eye on medical technology, for example, regulation. Right. So if its update has been made or legislation has been changed, obviously our materials would lead to the updates. So our target is if our member companies are subscribing for our learning management programs, they need to make sure we are taking care of the quality control of that. And this is something really important because technology is getting abstinent very quickly.
Q. Do you have any advice to give to medical students or healthcare professionals thinking of pivoting into the medtech space or integrating medtech into their career?
A. Absolutely. From my personal experience, I was a career shifter myself, right? So I was a medical student and I decided, okay, maybe this traditional medical career is not for me. For various reasons, for personal reasons, I moved countries and I decided that the pharmaceutical research and research career is something for me. And when I started working for reputable pharmaceutical companies, I realised that I had knowledge gaps and I realised them very quickly and that would stop me from progressing on the speed I wanted. And I enrolled into the master program specifically for clinical research because you don't have master clinical research as such and not many programs, similar to what is happening right now in AI and technology and not being offered as a medical curriculum. So what I did, I invested three years of my time and money which was a lot for me. This was my investment into three years learning, specifically clinical research, because I knew this is the career I want to take. Every penny of investment was worth it because after I completed this, I was promoted immediately because I could prove that I have dedicated career education and I was able to have and enjoy a full promotion. And my company moved me from Munich to London. I had an amazing career in London. I was successfully launching my consultancy and the platform subsequently because I invested in my education on the field that didn't provide a specific education for.
"Invest in upskilling and your education so that you can stand out when applying for MedTech roles."
"Thank you so much, Ina, for speaking with us at the MTF, and we wish you good luck with the rest of Bionabu, and hopefully we'll see at some other time!"
Author and Editor: Ramat Abdulkadir, National Technology Director