Patty Post Founder & CEO of Checkable Medical

Episode 244

What does it take to develop an FDA approved at-home strep test? Listen as Patty Post, Founder & CEO of Checkable Medical, shares her journey. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin. And I’m with the Kara Goldin show. And I’m here today with Patty Post, who is the founder and CEO of Checkable Medical. And Patty has this amazing product that she is working on amazing company. But this incredible product that we chatted about when I was on her podcast, that will be coming out soon. We don’t know how soon, but hopefully, pretty soon, it will be the first FDA approved at home strep test. So I really wanted to get patty on not only to talk about her journey, but also talking about if you have an idea that you need to go and get FDA approval on, especially in the category of over the counter type of things in the medical field. Patty is going through this right now. And I think there’s so many learnings along the way. And she’s just got an incredible idea and company that she’s building, which is just super, super great. So Patty spent the last decade executing multimillion dollar contracts with huge health care companies, systems, medical technology companies as well. And she’s also a parent and wanted to know quickly whether or not her kids had strep throat, how many of us have been there not only for our kids, but for ourselves. And instead of trying to figure out how do I get an appointment and actually figure this stuff out? Wouldn’t it be great to actually figure out if it’s just a virus? And you should actually stay put? Or should you can you actually double check it. So she decided that she would Google around and I’ll let her share a little bit more about the story. And this is what she’s going through to actually build a company that actually helps people. And it’s actually a product that lots of people, I think will love. And soon we will see it in stores. And online, of course, but I’m really, really excited to have her share a little bit about her journey. So welcome.

Patty Post 2:50
Thank you so much, Kara. That was such a great intro.

Kara Goldin 2:54
Once I got the words, right, right, it was one of those mornings. So before we jump into checkable medical, I want to talk to you about your background. So you were in health care. What was the first job? How did you get started?

Patty Post 3:08
Well, my first job was customer service at a cataract lens Distribution Company, which was super fascinating because I worked with the manufacturers. And then I also worked with the surgery centers, and the ophthalmologists, as well as our internal team of customer service and our leadership, sales group, and to have a medical device that allows someone to see and allows. I mean, really the technology that these manufacturers are bringing to market it just really fascinated me. And then when they connected the doctor with the patient, and those outcomes were life changing for people, and I just really felt like I needed to be a part of that. And so I I pursued health care for that reason, because I wanted to do something that was greater for the good. And that also is a good way to make a living. It’s you’re always challenged, always evolving. I was I was never the smartest person in the room. I am totally okay with that. But I am the most hardworking, I try to be the most hardworking and I try to be the most creative to which a lot of times you need in every in every industry. We need hardworking and creative people. So I found my niche there.

Kara Goldin 4:26
Absolutely. I read that being a parent was when you really realize that there was this hole in the market, which is what you really how you started checkable medical. So can you share a little bit more about that?

Patty Post 4:40
Oh, yeah. So I was a medical that I went into medical device sales, and so I would travel around and sell my equipment. I was wrapping to surgeons into the hospitals and my husband was working as well. But being the mother, you’re just naturally the nurturer. We just have those Gifts, our kids want to be with us, they want to snuggle with us and my husband had the feeling of you know, kids are sick, rub some dirt on it get to school, you’re fine. And I’m like, Nah, they need to be seen, like, we got to see what’s what’s making them sick. And when it was the first one and the second one and the third one. And I found myself in a number of times, I would be at the doctor, sometimes four times in a week in separate occasions. And all for sore throat when they’re really young. It’s ear infections, like we’ve all been plagued with that with our kids getting ear infections, and you always have to bring them in because you don’t know if it’s an infection or not. Same goes with strep. And I was I was just fed up and I was sitting there at the Minute Clinic and my daughter was a fourth time that week, and my daughter was just super sick, kind of curled up. And I just looked on, I Googled, you know, at home strep tests, and there was nothing that was FDA cleared as an F as for an at home strep test. And at the time, I was working in clinical research, and with lots of companies taking technologies through FTA. So naturally, I knew a bunch of people that were in that regulatory facing role, and it also built their careers on working with the FDA. So I started asking around, like, why don’t we have an African strep test that’s just like a pregnancy test. I don’t understand this, and took nine months to really research that. And I mean, there are very legitimate reasons, it’s not easy to collect a sample. And also big companies, they don’t typically big medical companies, they’re not typically facing you and I, their customers are physicians and nurses and scientists and lab personnel. So they don’t create products for us. But the pregnancy test is the proxy that I use because a UTI test, because we can collect a sample and we can run a test. And as a mom, to just know, like, what’s making our kids so sick, to gives us peace of mind saves us time and saves us money.

Kara Goldin 7:11
No, absolutely. And obviously, I mean, once you actually know that that’s the case. I mean, you go back to the doctor and share that with them. And, you know, obviously, that’s when you’ll need antibiotics and, and all of those things along the way. But I love your story of how you were you were kind of in your career, you happen to be working with a lot of people who were going through this process of getting different approvals, but yet they probably I mean, were they really entrepreneurs, or they were much bigger entrepreneurs, right. But you were understanding you were curious, you were understanding the pathway and what it took in order to do that, I feel like that was really the thing that gave you the courage to be able to say, Hey, maybe I should just go do this, too.

Patty Post 8:07
Yeah, in medical, specifically, there’s a lot of technology that spins out of university systems, or scientists that have come up with something. And a lot of times they’ll just shelf the technology, a big company will try to put it through marketing, and they’ll just, you know, they’re their sales folks. Or else maybe their advisory boards will say, you know, there’s not enough, there’s not enough of a population or enough demand for this, or it doesn’t fit in our product portfolio. So there’s actually a lot of technology out there that never gets developed, because it never comes in house at a big company to go through the regulatory process to get to market. And then when it comes to entrepreneurs, you do see a lot of physicians that create a technology and they end up sort of stalling out after they get their IP because it is so cost that it is so expensive. There’s so capital intensive as well as personnel intensive, you really need to have a good team that works together that can understand that, you know, get to approval, as well as get to market and commercialization strategies. And usability as you know, it takes a lot to create a product that people want. And rather than just the technology. So there’s not a lot of true entrepreneurs like you and I that you know, sigh gap that kind of just come out of nowhere. But definitely I think there’s intrapreneurs in big companies that you know, when of a story I don’t know if you see the commercials for a company called Aspire medical that’s a sleep apnea device. Yeah, but Tim Hiebert actually was an engineer and at Medtronic, and that technology was put on the shut off. And he said, You know what, this is going to make a difference in people’s lives, I’m going to take this out and create a company in and of itself. And he was someone that I, I know, I wasn’t super close with him. But I watched him from afar. And I continue to just admire what he’s done. And he is a true entrepreneur that saw that people need this this product, while the big company was like, I don’t see the opportunity. He went for it. And that was something that for me was very formative when I was doing checkable medical because I thought, okay, there’s 16 million parents every year that go in for their kids, when they have a sore throat, and 13 million of them could have avoided the entire experience if they would have had an app home diagnostic.

Kara Goldin 10:51
Today’s episode is sponsored by such a voice. Have you ever thought about how your voice sets the stage for how you are perceived? Okay, so you may not be looking to be a voiceover actor, but maybe just maybe there are a few techniques that you wouldn’t mind learning. No matter what you do for a living your voice is the thing people are making decisions about from the moment you say something. That’s why paying attention to what I’m about to talk about is key. Such a voice. That’s our terrific sponsor of the segment. Such a voice provides professional voiceover training for anyone. The great people at such a voice will take you through professional voice technique, and even coach you through preparing, recording and producing your own voiceover demo, too. But why would you need this training? Well, that’s a very good question. Whether you are thinking of interviewing on a podcast or recording your audio book, or giving that keynote at next year’s company off site, those techniques you will learn will teach you what real world voice actors already know. And help you be your very best visits such a voice slash Kara Goldin, that’s Gol D I N and receive a complimentary copy of such a voices must knows of voiceover, you will get expert tips from people who know how to have impact. Check out such a Goldin today to learn from the experts. Hi, everyone. I wanted to take a moment to talk about my book. It’s called undaunted. And if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet on Audible or picked up a copy at Amazon or at your favorite bookstore. I think you’re really missing out. Hopefully you’re enjoying listening to the Kara Goldin show with all the amazing guests that I’m so lucky to interview and be inspired by stories of challenges and breakthroughs. Lessons to each of these incredible guests teach me that being undaunted, really is the answer. And that is what you will learn from my story which I share in my book undaunted, not only how I came up with the idea for him, but also the journey that I experienced along the way. You see, most people don’t know all the challenges that entrepreneurs go through and building a company. And the journey, the ups and the downs, twists and turns, you will hear it all and undaunted. Probably the thing that has made me happiest about writing this book is hearing from people and how the book has helped them push through hard things and try new things. I have heard from countless people how undaunted has helped them see that they are not alone in their hard times that they are experiencing, but also how pushing forward and finding a way is usually what it takes my real stories with my observations, looking back that just might make you change your mind about what you can endure and what you can achieve. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. It’s time to move past your fears and defy the doubters to my book on Donald is available everywhere books are sold on Amazon and audible as well. And shoot me a DM and tell me what you think back to the show. Tell me the steps and actually starting checkable medical so you have this idea. You find the courage to do it. You mentioned you were doing research for nine months. So then what do you do?

Patty Post 14:38
Well, I went and I put together my my plan of how to get through approval. So I I hitched someone hitched their wagon to me, I hitched my wagon to her. She’s a scientist. She’s worked within industry and as well as clinical and we put together a plan of how to conduct the Research to get to approval. And I went out and I pitched that. And I understood, know who was out there in the market as far as angel investors. And I knew that I needed to get a proof of concept study done and get to a prototype. And I went out there and pitched angel groups, as well as individual angels. And once I started my first pitch, then it just kept like snowballing.

Kara Goldin 15:29
Yeah, well, I think that that, that the ability of someone to understand and connect with your idea, it’s such a simple story, yet it’s not there. Right. So I think that that’s really helpful to be able to raise money for sure. So what was kind of the most difficult part of starting a company because again, this is your first right, and for anybody thinking, okay, maybe I’ll go do what Patty’s doing. I mean, what’s kind of the most difficult thing that maybe you didn’t expect to run into when you’re starting your new company,

Patty Post 16:07
being the first and never having done it before, was a huge is still today, a huge barrier that I have to overcome with, especially with investors and even outside where people are, I don’t have the name recognition, I can’t say that I have a successful exit in this space. And that, so that’s something to overcome. And then, as well as their I was pitching to a lot of dads. And so a lot of dads saying, I don’t really even see why not just bring them to the doctor, I’m like, Come when’s the last time you write your kids to the doctor? And I would say that, and they would say, Oh, well, my wife does that. And I would say, well, you should go talk to her about how that experience was when she brought your three kids in and alone. And that was, those are I to think on my feet. And I had to. Cuz the reality is of what we’re facing is, when a woman goes out to pitch that she’s pitching to I was pitching to dads or grandpa’s. And typically in society, if those are the ones that are working, they’re probably not bringing their kids into the doctor. So that was the other really big obstacle to overcome was changing that mindset. And then bringing awareness to something that they just didn’t even know about. And where I was pitching in Minneapolis. So there, edge technology, you know, a mitral valve or something in the neuro space, or oncology, which is something that’s very sexy, like you want to if you’re an innovator, you want to be a part of something that’s super like edge cutting. And, you know, a strep test it as long as we are the first we will break ground and in a huge category now. But at the time, it was not that way.

Kara Goldin 18:01
Yeah, no, definitely. And one of the things that you and I have talked about that the expense is really the clinical trials. So why are clinical trials so expensive?

Patty Post 18:12
Well, there, it’s for purpose. One that everyone that is involved in a clinical trial is extremely well educated, and extremely experienced. You really can’t hire an intern to be a part of your clinical trial, strategy, and even the execution, as well as there’s a lot of layers, and there’s regulatory, there’s quality, there’s clinical, there’s a lot of verification and validation testing that needs to happen by regulation of the FDA, because they are our regulatory body that ensures that our products are safe and effective. And there is an approach that we need to take in order to get our product in a place that even they will look at it. And clinical research is particularly expensive, because you have think of your clinic that you go to at your doctor’s office, it requires a lot for them to have clinical research conducted at their site, it takes a couple of research staff, you also have a physician that’s involved. And then you have a lot of marketing that’s around that just to bring awareness of of that trial even happening. So keeping putting layer upon layer of infrastructure together. It really is capital intensive.

Kara Goldin 19:40
Do you feel like there’s a lot of waiting in this process?

Patty Post 19:44
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Even and, and any one of my staff that will listen to this will laugh because I say we’re a startup we should be moving fast. But we also have to move very carefully because with a regulated product like Are strep test behind me, we can’t change the label overnight, and then decide to do something new. Everything has to go through a number of approvals, even before we get it to a research site. And then once we get it even completed to have any changes, we have to go through a significant process. And I always say it’s, it’s not like bringing out a toothbrush or a hairbrush. That is, you know, sexy marketing, and you can have some great packaging to it. There’s, there’s so much more approvals that have to happen. But there’s a lot of waiting. Yeah, it’s frustrating patients.

Kara Goldin 20:44
So I mentioned that this was your first startup, but this actually isn’t. It’s your first startup in the healthcare industry. So you had done a couple of other startups prior to this. So I play math games and sweat house. So do you want to talk a little bit about those?

Patty Post 20:58
Sure. So I play math games was a company that I did with my dad and my two brothers. And one of my brothers and I were the business, we were the business hats. And then my dad and brother have masters and PhDs in mathematics. So we bought an existing company with existing assets and have math tutorials that were games. And we digitize them and put them in an in an app. And then eventually, we sold that to a distributor. And my brother Joel was extremely formative in that. And then we went about our way. And I think I had a couple of little startups in between them that really aren’t notable. But I’ve always had like something. Yeah, I even wanted to open up food truck at one time, because I had this amazing recipe of hashbrowns and edamame, a and garlic and ginger and you put it together and you deep fry it. It was like the most delicious thing to me. But it was really good. But I didn’t want to work the state fairs like every weekend of the summer. So then I’m a yogi. And I found that I couldn’t find a sweat towel that wasn’t like a terry cloth towel, I wanted a thin towel. So I ended up creating some designs, and I put them on tea towels, and I imported them from India. And then this was really early in the Lululemon days, and when their product was, and they’ve innovated just insane amounts since this time, but their yoga pants and their tops, if you didn’t wash it within like four hours, you would end up getting this smell. Yeah. And that’s because the bacteria would get in that lycra. And I created a product that if you just spray it down right after you do yoga, it would it would kill the bacteria or to cause more bacteria. And I launched Kickstarter, it was awesome. But I realized, you know, one, yoga studios are owned by Yogi’s, and they’re not necessarily the best business people, because they’re really good at yoga, and they also aren’t answering the phone, and they’re not out doing too hard sell to him. Yeah. So that was tough. And then E commerce takes a lot of capital. It’s capital intensive to it not as much as what I’m doing now. But to get in to get by ads. To, you know, to get a presence, it takes a lot of consistency. And at the time, I I was wrapping medical devices and raising three kids and I got recruited by a really world class company doing like a once in a lifetime job that like, you know what, I’m going to put this company down and pick this job up, which turns out to be a good way. But it was it was really hard to put the company down.

Kara Goldin 23:57
I love it. Well, it’s you learn so much by all of these, you know, companies that you started and and definitely I think they do nothing but help you to be better in the future. So I love pletely those stories for sure. So can you share a story about a challenge that you had along the way where you felt like, gosh, you were going to have to shut this down? Or you didn’t know how you were going to get through? But did and what were some of the lessons that you learned about yourself about business what whatever it is, I’d love to have you share that. But I

Patty Post 24:36
think if you are in a business of that’s capital intensive, and you know that you have to go out and raise capital, it’s very scary thing to ask for money. I don’t think anyone likes to ask for money, whether you’re fundraising for a nonprofit or else if it’s too for your business. I can even see it with my kids when they come and ask me for money. I distinctly remember the first time that My middle son did and he was so scared. And then after you do it a few times, you get confidence once the wallet opens up, you’re like, Yeah, okay, I can do that. So I think with, with checkable, medical, when I look at the challenges my most, my biggest challenges have been to times when I have near death experiences and those near death experiences was when I had to personally fund the business. Because I wasn’t on top of the fundraising, because I was scared to ask for money, or I was, I was waiting until we hit this certain milestone before I went out and asked for the money. And looking back, I was, I should have had more confidence in what I was doing. And I should have started fundraising earlier. And I should have, I should have put more time earlier into the business of fundraising. And because when you’re, when you’re fundraising, and you know this from experience, it’s, it is your full time job as CEO. And it’s right, like, yeah, and I don’t think as founders, when we walk into a company like we have, we’re so ambitious, we’re optimistic, but we don’t understand what we the responsibility that we’re taking on. And then when we take on the responsibility of employees, that all of that lands on your shoulders as CEO and founder. And so the two near death experiences, I just really should have gone to the table earlier and had that fundraising strategy together. And now with what I’m doing, I mean, I think I’m living right now, as we’re talking probably the most challenging part of my business. But I am so blessed, because I learned from those two experiences of waiting to fundraise. And I got ahead of it. You know, I took October, November, December to really refine my pitch, and to get my cash flow strategy, my product development strategy, my hiring plan, putting that all together and really having that down, and then get on the road fundraising in January, and I raised the money in two weeks. And it was like, it was amazing. Like, I’m so thankful that I that I did that. But I wouldn’t have done that. If I hadn’t learned from those two times that I failed it. Had it. Yeah, I was bad at it.

Kara Goldin 27:37
No, I love that story. How do you find the people that you’re fundraising, the ones that you want to fund your company? How do you find not only the right people, but also people who are capable of funding you.

Patty Post 27:53
For me, personally, I really have relied on the healthcare and the med tech network, and really just been involved in in those communities. And I think whatever community that you are in, go to the areas where you know that there’s going to be investors there, and they might not, they might fund only Series C and series D, or they might be private equity. But it is a small group of people. And if you have a click with someone, ask them who do you know, who do you know, that might be interested in what I’m doing. And I think every day you have to do something that scares you. And you have to ask those questions and put yourself out there. And I don’t say that I have any advantages over anyone else in that. Like, I don’t have a rich dad, I don’t have like, this wasn’t, it was all my hard work. And I think I really do believe that anyone can do it. And it all starts with yourself in believing in yourself and just go out there and even be like, I go to AG tech conferences. I’m in North Dakota now. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that I meet from a, an ag tech conference. And, you know, they they’re into everyone’s interested in health care. It’s sort of like, if you’re doing something in sports, you know, go go where lots of sports people hang out or that that’s what my suggestion is there.

Kara Goldin 29:22
Yeah, no, I love that. And I think it’s also just trying, I mean, some things along the way are, are really, you’ll run into things. I think it’s the idea of, you know, going to going to a conference that maybe doesn’t seem exactly where you should be, but you can. If you have the time to go and do it and actually, you know, keep your curiosity going. I always feel like that’s those are the places where you might end up picking up on little things to bring back into your business too. So I think nothing’s ever a waste of time you mentioned c&d in private equity. For those who, you know, haven’t raised money, especially when you’re starting out brand new, I mean, finding out from people, whether or not they invest in seed. A is kind of, you know, a little bit bigger than seed and, and but if they’re only doing C and D, as you mentioned, they may not be the people that you want to meet with, but they may know people that do earlier stage stuff, too. So I think that that’s the other piece of it. So well, I love, love, love everything that you talked about good luck with everything. And I’m so excited to be here. We’ll definitely be all following you and watching what ends up happening once you get through those clinical trials, which you’re working on now. And then once you you said you need 180 What did you say 180 positives on these clinical trials?

Patty Post 30:57
I do I need 183 Positive. So if you have kids, and you live in South Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, Bronx, New York, Fargo, North Dakota, Beverly Hills, California, Houston, Texas, or Jacksonville, Florida, we are running clinical research in all of those locations. So it’s strep test And we have a, you can go and see where the clinical research site is. But you can be a part of getting a product on the shelf.

Kara Goldin 31:30
That’s awesome. Very, very cool. Well, thank you for coming on patty and sharing so much. Great stuff with us. Where do people follow you as well and keep track of checkable mental medical as well? Yeah.

Patty Post 31:44
So we have on my LinkedIn is the best place to follow me, Patty post, and on Instagram. It’s Patty post m en. And those are my two most active places. And actually, our website is checkable

Kara Goldin 32:03
Well, thank you for coming on. And thanks, everybody, for listening. Please subscribe to the Kara Goldin show so you sure not to miss incredible creators, entrepreneurs like Patty, where you can hear about amazing companies and, and all the things that you go through to get an FDA product approved. And please be sure to give this episode five stars because the algorithm really does matter. And those five stars really, really help. And please be sure to follow me on all social platforms at Kara Goldin if you haven’t picked up a copy of my book, undaunted, shares a little bit more about my journey and my story building hint. And we’re here every Monday, Wednesday, and it looks like we’re going to another day as well coming soon. So definitely subscribe and stay tuned for for more info on that. And thanks, everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week. Thanks again, Patty. Thank you, Kara. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening