EP 223 – Gabriel Lopez – co-Founder and CTO at MedHyve – We Were Eventually Able to Let the Platform Speak for Itself

by | Aug 10, 2022

The Asia Tech Podcast welcomed Gabriel Henry Lopez, a co-Founder, and the Chief Technology Officer at MedHyve. MedHyve is an online medical marketplace that connects healthcare buyers directly with the biggest brands and medical suppliers.
Some of the topics that Gabriel discussed:
  • Dropping out of a prestigious computer science program to build MedHyve
  • Relentlessly convincing his parents that he simply had to do this
  • How his co-Founder’s previous experience in the healthcare field was helpful
  • Getting comfortable with risk-taking and the inherent difficulties of entrepreneurship
  • The impact of the pandemic on the growth of MedHyve
  • Does his family really understand what he is doing and building?
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. It Came to a Point Where I Had to Make a Choice
  2. I Was Running a Thesis 
  3. We Had to Hire More Older-Looking People
  4. It Was an Uphill Battle but We Were Able to Do It
  5. I’m Making Real Jobs!
This episode was produced by Isabelle Goh.

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:26
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Gabriel Lopez, A co founder and the Chief Technology Officer of MedHyve. Gabriel, thank you so much for coming on the show. And for having like the 20 minute conversation we’ve already have and should have recorded. How are you doing?

Gabriel Lopez 0:45
I’m doing good very hot here right now in the Philippines and very rainy but pretty good so far.

Michael Waitze 0:52
Wait a second. No. What is it? It’s the end of May. So is it rainy season now in the Philippines? Because it’s supposed to be rainy season right now in Thailand as well. It is.

Gabriel Lopez 0:59
Yeah, it is. Yeah, it’s very stormy, but it’s still really humid. So you still feel the heat sticking to you. And you’re getting wet, Vitor.

Michael Waitze 1:08
Yeah, it’s so funny. I walked to the BTS I would say every other day, and it’s like, the least favorite part of my day. I’ve got to like, emotionally prepare myself for it and just say, Okay, I’m gonna go do it.

Gabriel Lopez 1:19
Yeah, I get Yeah, it’s just so hot. But you know, it’s

Michael Waitze 1:23
really hot. But again, you grew up in Manila. So I grew up in Boston and in Connecticut. And when I was a kid, even when I was your age, I was still like shoveling snow. Yeah, no, thank you.

Gabriel Lopez 1:36
You prefer being in a hot country…

Michael Waitze 1:38
then I’d much if I never see snow again. It’ll be too soon.

Gabriel Lopez 1:42
Interesting. I’ve never been in like a snowy country, or like stayed there for a long time there. So I’ve never felt your pain of shoveling snow.

Michael Waitze 1:51
I don’t understand it. My brother like has a ski house in Vermont. I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand why anybody would want to put on all that gear. It’s kind of no, like, if you like speed, want to get into a speedboat and go waterskiing, which is super cool. All you need is a bathing suit, a rope and a couple of skis, whereas for like snow skiing, you just need all this other gear.

Gabriel Lopez 2:12
Or if you just look so you can just ride a motorcycle on the empty highways.

Michael Waitze 2:20
Anyway, before we jump into the business part of this conversation, why don’t you give us a little bit of your background for some context? Yeah,

Gabriel Lopez 2:27
sure. I’m so I’m Gab, the seat, the current CTO and co founder of med hive. Before med hive, I was a actually a computer science student. And we were creating med high while we were studying about two or three years. While we were building med hive and everything I eventually dropped out and started pursuing my time full back. Before that, I was with a guy super interested in tech. I was joining like a hackathon every month, essentially, I was consuming so much startup media, like everything from the social network through SILICON VALLEY TV SHOW reading all the different startup books from you know, for pretty much every startup founder, I could get in the bookstore. And so I’ve really been interested since the very front from a very young age, and now I’m here. But why

Michael Waitze 3:17
like is your I always ask this to people that are starting their own companies? Like how old are you?

Gabriel Lopez 3:23

Michael Waitze 3:23
You’re 22. Right? So how did you first get interested in even the startup world? Right? Was it through TechCrunch? Like, was your dad an entrepreneur? Was your sister starting her own company? Like how did all this start for you? Because the computer science stuff I get like you’re just a geek. I’m a geek, I get it. I’ve always been into computers. But the startup thing is kind of specific. Like when did you get into it?

Gabriel Lopez 3:48
Well, I think it kind of goes way back to when I was a kid, you know, I watched like Meet the Robinsons. And I was like, oh, innovators are cool. I want to be an inventor, I want to create things when I get older. Then I started telling my my parents and everything like no scientists get paid nothing. You don’t want to be a scientist, like. And then like maybe like five, six years later, we had this computer science class. And I was really good at that. And so I do computer science in college. But at that point, I wasn’t really interested in startups yet, right? I was just interested in tech. I just wanted to code and write tech. But then I watched like the social network. And then I realized how really impactful tech can be. And, you know, like how some guy writing code in his bedroom could create a very innovative company. And so at that point, I was really interested in really building a startup and creating something along the way.

Michael Waitze 4:46
But the social network as a movie right or even as a story was not the most positive story, right? Yeah, I mean, it was all about manipulation and don’t you mean Yeah, but but it doesn’t sound like that’s what we’re an impacted you because we haven’t spoken about met hive yet we’ll get to that in a second. But it’s not called like manipulation hive, it must have something to do with health and wellness and medicine but don’t go there yet. I’m just curious. Like, I get this idea of sitting in a dorm room somewhere like my generation at the same thing, right? Michael Dell started Dell computer, which just called Dell now, obviously, in his dorm room as well, but that was hardware but still became a billionaire. Yeah. What was it for you that was so impactful about that movie? Was it just the idea of you could start something from nothing and then have impact?

Gabriel Lopez 5:33
It was? Well, you know, kind of at that point, I was kind of like a young 17 1617 year old. I ignored all the other manipulate all the manipulation stuff, all the creative things like Eduardo saffron getting screwed out of us money.

Michael Waitze 5:49
Do you think it really gets I mean, the dude’s a billionaire as well, I didn’t really get screwed anyway going?

Gabriel Lopez 5:53
Well, he sued them. And now he got the money, a lot of money. But he had to sue them. But But like, at that point, it really was like those kids in like getting drunk in a dorm room, or them moving to Palo Alto, and then just getting wired into their code every day. And then just creating and working and hustling at that time. And building a company. We’re just like five guys in a beach house, essentially, in Palo Alto. Yeah, yeah.

Michael Waitze 6:25
What kind of what kind of coding got you interested? Like, what languages were you writing in when you were a kid?

Gabriel Lopez 6:30
So when I was a kid, I would pretty much not code at all, like the most I did was like Roblox scripting. It’s like a video game. But I was not really that big into coding as a kid. But when I was around 1617, I was really interested in building websites and mobile apps. And to the point where I was really doing freelance work at like, 17. And creating websites and apps for people and also different companies and startups.

Michael Waitze 6:57
You’re getting paid for that? Yes, I was. Yeah. Did you ever come home and tell your parents like I thought you said scientists and people that like math and science, like don’t get paid?

Gabriel Lopez 7:08
I never got the balls to say that.

Michael Waitze 7:11
But tell me you didn’t think that though. I was thinking. Oh, I love it. But so where did you go to university? Where do you go to school?

Gabriel Lopez 7:22
I went to University of the Philippines. So this is a great university in the Philippines. Yeah, yeah. Pretty much a top one for the most part. Yeah. So this is the thing

Michael Waitze 7:31
I always ask. Right. Like, clearly you, you know, that comment from your father feels like a throwaway comment, right? Like, scientists don’t get paid. But the reality is that as a parent, you know, they look at their kids, and they think, okay, my kids are smart. But I want them to have this really good, uncomfortable life. Right. And part of the way to do that is just to go to school, get good grades, and then go find a good job or or, you know, do that kind of sort of traditional path. And you did well, right you were your parents must have been super proud because they’re like, Okay, Gabrielle smart. So we at least were were fortunate there. He got into the University of Philippines, so we can be proud of that, too. Let’s just get this kid out and into the world, but you dropped out, right? Did they think you were insane?

Gabriel Lopez 8:15
So more than insane. In fact, it took many months of fighting over it before I can convince them to drop out. Right?

Michael Waitze 8:24
What does that mean, though? Many months of fighting?

Gabriel Lopez 8:27
So like, almost like pretty much at least once a week. They would come up I’d be like that I do want to drop by that one focus and bad happenings like know, how can you focus on changing the world if Academy financial college degree?

Michael Waitze 8:42
Yeah, but did you bring up the here’s what’s super fascinating to me. And I love this idea, right? But like, Zuckerberg dropped out, Gates dropped out. You know, but then again, Steve Ballmer didn’t drop out. Right? He still stayed and finished his Harvard thing, and then still came out and still became a billionaire. Like, how do you don’t I mean, how do you balance all this stuff out? And finally say, Look, I know what I’m doing. I know, I’m only 20. But I really do like, I’m not a normal 20 year old. I know what I’m doing. Let me do this thing.

Gabriel Lopez 9:18
Well, for me, it really came to the point where I really couldn’t. Like, I just had to make a choice. Because it was previously before we were getting traction in I could work at my own time. I could work at night, I could, you know, like, work after school. But as we were getting more and more hospitals on board, you know, the clients would set the meetings and I had to visit clients at their hospital. And then I normally can’t

Michael Waitze 9:45
tell you, you can’t tell your clients like Sorry, I’ve got to do ces two. Exactly. Right. So I can’t make the meeting with the CEO of hospital x. Right.

Gabriel Lopez 9:54
I couldn’t, you know, I had to I had to go there. And there were so many like, I think in my last summer stir, where if I fully dropped out, I missed, like, into class, I missed the finals. And in another one, I missed another like big exam. And so I just had no chance of passing this class. But, you know, it was a tough decision at that point. You know, I remember, actually, the thing that really, like, broke the camel’s back to say so to say with my dad was one day like, I came home, exceptionally drunk. And then I begged to him that, like I was on my knees, and I started begging and crying that I really want to focus on med hive, I really want to make a difference here. And then I was calling like, saying, how are you gonna, you know, you don’t have a degree how you’re gonna change, you’re gonna have a degree. And then eventually, like, the next morning, I don’t like the next morning, he came up to me and said, Okay, if we really want to build like, this, so so much, you can do it. I’ll get it dropped out. And we got like, I was able to sign in, like standard, my dropout form to you up.

Michael Waitze 11:04
Good for you. What is what is meant? I’ve do what’s the idea? And you must have had? Did you have it before you went to school before you enrolled? or No? Or do you had this idea when you when you were in school?

Gabriel Lopez 11:15
No, I was in school. We were about sophomores before we before we got the idea for med house. So the idea really came. So what’s the what we are right now is we’re a b2b medical marketplace for hospital sense. And clinics hospital one for like we are b2b Medical marketplace for hospitals and clinics. Okay, go ahead. So we help these hospitals connect with large medical Suppliers and distributors and importers. And then we help them transact in a very easy and simple way. So, you know, the way we got this idea at first was actually from my co founder, Nigel, and our other my co founder L. So they have a long history, their family, friends, but both of them were very deeply ingrained in the medical industry. Nigel himself was a he who was a, he owned two hospitals that they’ve been running for over 50 years with his family.

Michael Waitze 12:11
So he did his family on them. How old is Nigel?

Gabriel Lopez 12:14
Nigel is also remember, like 25 At this point,

Michael Waitze 12:16
so he doesn’t just want to be clear. Yeah, he’s an older person. Anyway, go ahead.

Gabriel Lopez 12:22
You’re right. You’re right now it’s his family who want to go ahead. And then and so him and L. So they were speaking one day, because L does these, like, handles these medical, or med tech events in Singapore. So if you’ve ever gone to a magic event in Singapore, there’s a good chance that she was the organizer of the event itself. And so she was talking to a lot of these medical, hospital managers, medical directors, medical supplies, CEOs and everything. Right. And then she was talking with some Philippine execs. And they were saying that they needed to be something like a one stop shop in the Philippines for medical supplies. Right? Then that idea was brought from Alberta the idea tonight, and they started talking about it. And then, you know, didn’t it then Nigel went to me and said that, hey, I needed somebody to build this deck. They approached me like, it was on the street and up. It is ran across the street and said, Hey, gab, I have an idea for you. And I was like, Yeah, fuck yeah. And had you ever

Michael Waitze 13:25
built anything like that before? Like, it’s so when you look back now, it wasn’t that long ago, I’m presuming when you look back now like building. You know, people look at a CTO and they just think a guy or a gal that can write code. But part of computer science is learning about actual software architecture, right? And actually how to build things. It’s more, it’s not just like, here’s php. And here’s how you write code. Or here’s how you write in JavaScript. It’s so much more complicated than that, right? It’s like, here’s the theory around how software is used to build products, which is very different, right? If you’ve ever done that before,

Gabriel Lopez 14:01
yes. Well, so in. I mentioned earlier that I have done those freelance projects. So that’s where I really learned a lot of that stuff. And I was really getting annoyed at college because my first freshman and sophomore year, I was already like, assisting seniors with a thesis. I was pretty much like advanced studying things at home. So normally, I’d go to school, then I’d go home and study more of the advanced theory because that’s really interested me. Yeah. And so that’s because I was able to, like Teach, like, help these seniors with a thesis, I was able to help them like unsighted what exactly you need to do to make things happen. And that’s what I got really, really bored because like, you know, I needed a bigger challenge. And so the next step really after like, right, like understanding the theory, I’ve been working for a couple companies so that it was really building my own company at that point.

Michael Waitze 14:51
Do you think that this actually says something or shines a light on likes Something about the education system not just in the Philippines, but the sort of undergraduate and frankly, even the graduate education where you know, somebody who is 19, or 18, or 20 can come in and say, I’m bored, because I’ve already studied this stuff, because I was already working on some of these projects before. And frankly, it’s probably not just in the CS department, but in other departments as well. Do you know what I mean?

Gabriel Lopez 15:25
Yeah, yeah. Um, I mean, well, first of all, like, school really doesn’t work well, for people who like neurodivergent. So like, I have ADHD. So for somebody like me, you know, what it’s like missing a class and then going with a strict curriculum of learning, really didn’t interest me. And like, from a very young, like, from a very early age in school, I realized that I wasn’t doing at the same speed as other people, like I was learning at a much faster space. But the issue was, if I, I would I, if I didn’t introduce myself to the like, later, would later studies or things, study more, I’d get so bored the class that I wouldn’t be able to like to listen in it.

Michael Waitze 16:10
Right. So this so I had this problem, right? Where, when I was in high school, in this one particular high school, I was so bored, that I almost failed an English class. And I remember the teacher, this was like, in the 1980s, right? So a long time ago, and I remember the teacher literally calling me in front of the class, and she knew I wasn’t stupid. But she, she called me in front of a class, I think, just to embarrass me. And she was like, Michael, you know, you’re gonna fail, right? And there’s no reason for you to fail. And I remember saying her, you know, the books we’re reading in this class I read two years ago. Yeah. And I’ve already like, what am I meant to do kind of thing? And anyway, go ahead.

Gabriel Lopez 16:51
Yeah, no, exactly. That’s the same thing with me. Like, there were, there were times where I’d be forced to study something I’ve already learned. And it’s so I don’t know, it’s, it’s, it feels so painful. Doing it to the point where I could not bring up the company class. And I’d like I’d so I’d come to class late, or I would, somebody would just cut class. But then I’d go there for the exams aced the exams. And it is. Yeah,

Michael Waitze 17:21
and this. Let me tell you one more story. And then we’ll get back to min hive in a second, just because I think it’s funny, particularly. And it’s even funnier in retrospect, you know, they’re trying to teach us about the scientific method, right? So the scientific method would say, like, have a hypothesis, do an experiment, and come up with a conclusion. So the hypothesis was what you thought was true, the experiments trying to prove it or disprove it. And the conclusion was what you learned. And they’d give us these really dumb experiments. And and I remember the teacher would say, Okay, well, the hypothesis, I understand you did the experiment. What did you learn? What’s your conclusion? I just remember saying, like, I already knew, like, I didn’t learn anything, because I knew this before we started. The teacher was so massive.

Gabriel Lopez 18:12
It took some balls to say that.

Michael Waitze 18:14
But I mean, I was a kid, right? I think I was 14 or something. And I remember thinking like, if you don’t already know, that water, you know, is two part hydrogen, one part oxygen, like you’ve got a problem? Yeah, that’s true. Anyway, I didn’t I don’t need to do this, like stupid experiment to figure that out. Anyway, so there was no b2b marketplace in the Philippines, for medical supplies, so hospitals were literally just like going, we need more bleach, we need more medicine, like whatever it was,

Gabriel Lopez 18:47
it was much worse, I’d say. They didn’t even know fax machines still existed. But when he went the hospitals in the province, they were still faxing their purchase orders and documents to the suppliers. And if they weren’t faxing, they would be driving to the supplier to make their order. So this could mean like, if they’re in a province, it could have been a four or five hour drive, right? Just to buy a new supplier and then drive four or five hours back. So

Michael Waitze 19:22
would they would they bring the would they bring the supplies back with them? Or they would have to then send a truck you don’t I mean, what was that just to place the order and I’m asking for a reason. But do you not I mean, were they just like drive up there, place the order and then drive back and then the supplier would then send a truck down to the province with the stuff in it.

Gabriel Lopez 19:38
They don’t really drive there with the truck. So they’d put like four in there his in a truck. And then they’d go around the medical supply stores buying everything and putting it into the truck. And then driving back.

Michael Waitze 19:51
Got it. Okay. Go ahead. Yeah, so So Manheim was meant obviously to solve this problem and Does it feel like super obvious in retrospect? I mean, even today, it feels super obvious, right? Just the b2b marketplace in a specific vertical market now.

Gabriel Lopez 20:08
Yeah. So it does seem really obvious, which is why it baffled me that nobody has really done it before. Then I started thinking more about like, what the people who want to solve problems in hospitals normally focus on the nominee focused on telemedicine or on like, it’s a pharmacy delivery, for example, to patients or to EMRs or to HR systems,

Michael Waitze 20:30
not just what’s what’s, what’s EMR and HIE, s

Gabriel Lopez 20:33
AMR is an electronic medical record. And HHS is hospital information system. So these are normally like the EMRs for tracking patients. Whereas the HIE is like everything. Yeah. But so that’s what people would most built for these hospitals. And nobody really ever focus on really improving the procurement side and like why, you know, they spent, they would waste $100,000 Every year on procurement because of inefficient process. And yet, nobody’s really tapping into these problems.

Michael Waitze 21:08
Yeah, it seems to me that would be way more than $100,000. But okay, so then, like, tell me where you are like what happened? And I’m curious about the sales cycle as well. You don’t I mean, like, you’re just a bunch of kids to be fair. I mean, you’re 22 you said Nigel, is 25? How old is L?

Gabriel Lopez 21:26
Ellis? Much older thinks she’s around. 40.

Michael Waitze 21:30
Oh, my God.

Gabriel Lopez 21:33
Yeah. Sorry.

Michael Waitze 21:37
I love it. Sorry.

Gabriel Lopez 21:40
I just realized how that could be seen as offensive to me. But really, with the supply chain, and the sales price and everything, um, we had to study a lot of that from the beginning, like we had, we spent maybe a year or two, really studying what these hospitals did, how they would do it them incorrectly. This thing like maybe we visited maybe like 2030 hospitals across the Philippines. And I interviewed each one of them, ask them what were their process and everything because we were coming from, you know, a very like, you’re both Yeah. So we need to learn these things from scratch.

Michael Waitze 22:18
You were but did everybody know Nigel’s family? In other words, I don’t know the hospitals that his family runs. But do you know what I mean? Like it particularly like in in Thailand, some of the wealthiest people in the country own the hospitals? And what I mean, so it’s not just like some small clinic, if you’re owning a hospital to three or four of them, like you don’t I mean, you’re very wealthy. Yeah. So when he rocked up like they knew his dad, or his grandfather, or something like that, right? Or his mom or his grandmother? Yeah. So that’s, there was some credibility. Like, if you had just gone by yourself, they just would have been like, okay, who’s this guy?

Gabriel Lopez 22:53
Yeah, I pretty sure yeah. And really having that kind of connection with the family really helps to get this interviews, but also what we did a bit, go there and tell them, hey, we’re doing this for a thesis, can you help us out with this? And because of that, they were able to, like lay everything on us give us like everything from like, very deep secrets, company secrets, and to everything we were able to learn from that.

Michael Waitze 23:16
But wait a second. So you didn’t tell them that you’re running a business? You told them that you were writing a thesis? Yes. And was that strategic? Because you figured they were more likely to give you information? Like just a bunch of kids trying to learn something?

Gabriel Lopez 23:27
Yes, it was definitely definitely pulled out it was was pulled off really well, because they would give us such deep secrets, because that’d be we’re doing our thesis, right? Like, you’d want to help students with a thesis. But would you want to help somebody who is building a company? Maybe a bit less, right? So, you know, it was because we were able to get such deep looks into their hospital process, things they would have done without anybody else.

Michael Waitze 23:59
What What surprised you didn’t because you already had this like preconceived notion in your mind about what it was like? Yeah.

Gabriel Lopez 24:05
What surprised me the most was in these hospitals, you’d expect that, like, people would MBAs or business experts would be running the procurement team, like the procurement department, the purchasing manager, so on No, go? Yeah. But yeah, so apparently, they will just pick a random doctor, or every every year or so. And then he’d be managing the procurement team. He hated it. And he hated it.

Michael Waitze 24:34
Right? Like him. He’s like, I didn’t go to medical school to do this crap kind of thing.

Gabriel Lopez 24:38
Right. Exactly. And they don’t really know what to do. They’re just kind of doing what the last person did.

Michael Waitze 24:44
Yes. Like, why am I ordering these throat lozenges when I should be operating on people?

Gabriel Lopez 24:50
Yeah, exactly. And so don’t really don’t really care about it. As much as you know, somebody was really trained to do it, and to improve on it. That’s really one of the reasons Why this inefficient process? Keep like, going on for decades.

Michael Waitze 25:06
Yeah, cuz nobody wants to do it, which means nobody wants to fix it, right? I mean, people want to fix it, but they don’t take a vested interest in it. They’re like, six more months. And I’m out of here. Let some other idiot figure it out.

Gabriel Lopez 25:15
Yeah, that’s exactly yeah.

Michael Waitze 25:17
Right. But then how do you fix that? Because, like, I can already picture this in my mind, right? And you don’t have to go so far as like having everything have a QR code or a barcode on it. But there’s a way to automate this in a way that’s actually kind of amazing.

Gabriel Lopez 25:34
So really, the long term goal of med hive is to be like a procurement assistant for hospital. So a procurement assistant. Yeah, go ahead. So everything from helping you understand when to buy a specific product, like understanding like trends of prices, and everything, understanding when your inventory is going to run out, understanding what hospitals like you are buying, and when they are buying them. These are things that procurement managers should know. But doctors who become procurement just don’t know. Yeah, yeah. And so that’s something that we want to do through the platform, we have that they can do without even thinking about it.

Michael Waitze 26:13
So let me ask you this, though. And let’s take a one sec a turn like a one hospital system universe, right? So five hospitals. And let’s say they’re ordering from 20. Suppliers. Right? So those and those five hospitals are like, let’s say, in five different towns, or in three parts of one city and two parts of another city, right. And they’re ordering, you know, a large amount of whether it’s equipment, or literally even down to like the stuff that cleans the floors, right, or the stuff that cleans the toilets, including, you know, throat, depressors, and whatever. So medical equipment and just stuff to clean the hospital to is a lot of stuff going on. Right? It’s complex ordering. If everything sits like, it’s almost like a POS in a way, right? Although there are no external customers coming in and say, give me two hamburgers, it’s the doctor is going we need more face masks, right, and we need more gowns. But on the flip side, if that’s connecting directly to the suppliers, right, so instead of making a phone call you just like pressing buttons. And an order just gets sent every month, because it knows what the inventory is right? It sees a drawing down, it says we know it’s July. So you’re gonna order 15 more of these. And it just sends an order out. Obviously, you’re gathering all this data around, not just what the hospital systems doing, but what each individual hospitals doing as well. And that’s pretty powerful in and of itself. But how about the other side? And the supply side? In other words, the manufacturer that’s making the counter the supplier as well? Are you installing technology there too, so that that communication is just like almost hands off in a way, and that that feeds into their manufacturing system to?

Gabriel Lopez 27:44
So that’s something we’re working on right now. We’re really happy you helped me create,

Michael Waitze 27:49
you know what I mean? Right? Because you’ve got two sides to this thing. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.

Gabriel Lopez 27:53
Yeah, but no, you’re right. I’m, like something we’re working on. And really creating these dashboards or tools that the suppliers can use to kind of tell, like, how much mass should I be making or selling? Right? Do we? Are we seeing a shift in demand for this specific category? Are we seeing changes in demand in different markets? For example, should I be selling to this region or that region? Based on how much they’re buying masks for? Or how much demand they have? And really helping them create more data driven business solutions and business decisions into like, how much they should be manufacturing? Or where should they be selling their products? And when?

Michael Waitze 28:32
Okay, and what’s the sales like for you? In other words, how long have you been at this now?

Gabriel Lopez 28:37
What we lost, right? 2019

Michael Waitze 28:40
Okay, that’s awesome, just before the pandemic and really great timing actually. I mean, for your business, that’s actually true. It’s super great timing right, because nobody wants to get in the truck and drive to the supplier unless they’re actually going to pick some stuff up. What is it like though again, now that you’ve kind of tricked them into giving you all this information by saying you’re gonna write your senior thesis or whatever, but now you’re running a business so you’re going there with a bunch of technology to let tell them we’ve built this we want to solve this problem on the hospital side on the procurement side, but we also want to go to the suppliers and solve the supplier problem on the distribution side but also on the just in time manufacturing and all the Six Sigma stuff that they’re trying to do. What is what is the sales like when you again rock up as a kid and just go okay, we have the solution and they’re just like, okay, dude, just get out of here. Don’t

Gabriel Lopez 29:28
ya know, I completely get that. And you know, later on we had to hire more older looking people but before like in our first in our early days, right, we had with ourselves and with that it was so difficult to get them taken seriously. Because you’d walk up there they’d be like, Oh, I just doing some thesis project or something wire putting towards like I remember, we would be in would be in like the boardrooms of big brand name suppliers and They just like to X out of the room like this is a joke or something. Yeah. And, you know, eventually we came to the point where like, where we were able to like, let the platform the tech speak for itself. We would like this, that kind of undermining of us. By the end of the meeting, we’re able to flip that around and turn it into pure wonder, right? Like these people were able to build something like this, these kids are able to build something like this. That’s crazy. They’re really solving a problem a need. And, you know, it’s something that we had to kind of fight for it and work for it to really get and make that happen. And we have to call in our pitch to really make sure they knew that we were not kids joking around, we were actually being taken seriously.

Michael Waitze 30:47
But once that happened, like, what’s that feeling like? Oh,

Gabriel Lopez 30:51
God, I felt so ecstatic. Like, I remember Nigel and I were in a car and you said, like, yelling like, yeah. Because we want to close a big hospital become a partner of madhouse. And it’s, it was an uphill battle, but you know, be able to do it.

Michael Waitze 31:06
And how do you handle this on the branding? And on the marketing side? And again, I’ll tell you why I asked right, one of the big wins that Intel had, and I was talking to somebody about this a couple of days ago, right? Was they just they came up with this idea to just say Intel inside. Right? are powered by Intel. Do you do that as well, so that when people walk into a hospital, you know, that says like procurement, powered by med Hive or something so that you creating this brand that people know.

Gabriel Lopez 31:32
Correct? It’s something we’re exploring right now. But what we’ve been doing more recently is really kind of giving away a lot of these things like prescription and the prescription pads would be a med hive branded prescription pad, or the small med type thing scattered around the hospital. This are just like brand recognition of the company. But right now, you know, that might have powered or something like that. Something we haven’t really done yet. But we’re looking to explore soon.

Michael Waitze 31:59
You know what I mean? Because you could literally do have even have like a commercial or a billboard that says like, is your hospital powered by med hive?

Gabriel Lopez 32:09
It’s interesting. Yeah. I’ve never explored a billboard like that. But I’d be interested.

Michael Waitze 32:15
Again, I’m billboard. So I’m 56 years old. But just any way, any place where people are looking, right? This hospital powered by med hive would just even if it makes people wonder, like, what’s that? Yeah, it’s still building because you know, you know this, whether it’s a small clinic or a big hospital, to whom you have not yet spoken, there’s a doctor in there who’s going through the hassle of ordering stuff. He’s not interested in ordering. You know, there’s a there’s a doctor somewhere, and she’s just saying resolve Why did I go to medical school for this?

Gabriel Lopez 32:44
That’s true, Yeah.

Michael Waitze 32:48
And they talk to their other doctor friends, right? So she gets on the phone with one of her doctor friends in another province. And she says, Have you heard of med hive? And she’s like, No, what’s that? It sounds like a disease kind of the only mean, I’ve never heard of it other bees in that hive? And then she’s like, No, no, it’s made our processes way more efficient. What are you doing up there?

Gabriel Lopez 33:07
Yeah, it’s actually like regulated really worried. The math is one of the strongest things, right? Yeah, in the medical industry. So maybe it would be interesting to capitalize on that more with like, creating more like mad hive reps or something within our data community.

Michael Waitze 33:24
Do you do the sales now remotely, remember, we’re talking before we started recording about like, just the impact of how you can use technology to change literally to set off dopamine in people’s heads and make them feel happy just about themselves. And if you do that, that then it helps create a better sales funnel for you. Think about it, right? You get on the phone with a doctor for a hospital that you want to sell to. And you do this thing, right? You know what I mean? We talked about this, right? Yeah, they’re gonna feel like it’s this weird feeling of feeling like you’re at home.

Gabriel Lopez 33:59
That’s true. Actually. Makes sense. That’s interesting. Um, it previously we’ve done mostly remote with code costs, and everything. But realize it doesn’t really work, as well as visiting

Michael Waitze 34:11
them. It doesn’t because you can’t do this. But once you build this, like immersive online experience, right? This is why I told you, this is why we want to build these studios everywhere. This is the exact reason why. Because then when you cold call a hospital, you get a doctor on the phone who’s already frustrated by like a bunch of sales calls, and a bunch of people he’s already in the procurement business and doesn’t want to be and he gets on some dumb call right with somebody doesn’t know. And he looks up and he’s like, Wait a second. That’s a picture of my thing. Interesting. And then he’ll just be like, Okay, I’ll at least talk to you. And now the other thing that approves those that you understand the way technology works, but you also understand the thought process of just people. You should try it anyway.

Gabriel Lopez 35:00
I will try to… But I mean

Michael Waitze 35:04
I think that the this is the way that modern sales is going to work. Right. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to talk to you. So I wanted to understand how you did this right. I’m also curious about, you know, you said, when you close that big hospital that you and Nigel were in the car, you kind of looked at each other. It’s like a scene out of a movie. And you’re like, yeah. But I’m curious about this to the ups and downs of running your own company, right? There’s like no fallback for you. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like, you can’t be like, Oh, okay, I’ll just go back to being a professional golfer, like, there isn’t that this is what you’ve decided to do. Right? And even though your parents and your dad like, is obviously very progressive, he’s like, You know what, my son wants to do this. And instead of getting in his way, I’m gonna stand underneath him and support him. So he can do this. But now you have to do it in a way, right? Yeah.

Gabriel Lopez 36:00
No, I can’t fail this thing. But a lot of them do it. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 36:04
Yeah. But it’s not just you, right? It’s like you have but your family is also just emotionally put a lot into it, too. Even if they haven’t put any capital into it. They’re like, because remember, we talked about this earlier? When you get into up and your dad meets his buddies, and your mom meets her friends. They’re like, How’s Gabb doing? Oh, he’s studying computer science at the University of the Philippines. The implication is, what is your kid? Do? You know?

Gabriel Lopez 36:29
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. You gotta, you gotta, you gotta, like, grab a toss around you already having that? Right.

Michael Waitze 36:37
But the other thing is, if you drop out, it’s like, Hey, you don’t I mean, because now there’s a ton of pressure. It’s like, How’s gab doing? I know he’s not in school anymore. That’s true. But what are the ups and downs? Like for you guys?

Gabriel Lopez 36:49
Really well enough, I feel like it’s this thing as far to skip nowadays, where like, their fathers or their parents will always be pressuring them to get a real job instead of being a founder. Right. And that was like, I’ve been getting a lot recently as well. But you’ll still Yeah, now, you know, not now. It’s not that I’m working with this for so long. I’ve reached the point of now, go back to school, it’s not that I’m gonna go back to school, it’s go get the real job, like thing now. Like, Mom, Dad, this is a real job, you know, this is what I want to do.

Michael Waitze 37:24
I’m actually hiring people. I’m giving other people real jobs. I make real jobs. I don’t need a job. I’m making jobs anyway.

Gabriel Lopez 37:34
And I’m, you know, like, you’re right, like, oh, we have very little to fall back on if my head fails. And I do believe that makes some of the best entrepreneurs, because there were so many times where we should have really, like, everything was telling us to quit, everything was telling us like, like, in the beginning of the pandemic, you know, it seemed like it was all sunshine and rainbows for us. But it was actually a lot of struggle with reading, working with suppliers working with the buyers, because now everybody’s angry. everybody’s worried everybody scared, stocks running out everywhere. And there were many points where like, we were, like, weren’t able to supply to hospitals, even if we promised. And we lost a lot of key hospital partners on our platform. And at that point, we were like, damn, should we just quit? Should we stop building med hive, like in like, we had one, like, we had a call with all the founders, and then reductions quickly, we started building that hive. And then we didn’t know what to say. Then we all just went, like, went by didn’t thought about it. And the next morning, like I got a call the meeting with all the all me Nigel Enel, and I mentioned Hey, guys, we can we can still make this happen. And I outlined like a six month business plan on how we can regain these hospitals back how we can you know how we can recoup our losses throughout this entire entire time and be able to really become a position ourselves as the medical marketplace to work with. And that meeting really kind of what everybody’s energy went from the spare to, you know, we had to fucking do this. Yeah. Right. And then, you know, now we’re here where we’ve raised our pre seed round, a couple months ago.

Michael Waitze 39:33
How much more do you raise?

Gabriel Lopez 39:34
We raised our 400,000 us.

Michael Waitze 39:36
Awesome. Who did you raise it from? If you don’t want to say who it is just like what kind of investors is really more important to me? I don’t care who it’s from, to be fair. Well, we

Gabriel Lopez 39:43
raised from two VCs, actually. One is Texas Tech ventures.

Michael Waitze 39:48
And they in the Philippines, are they their

Gabriel Lopez 39:51
international like their primary US base? We’re actually their first Philippine investment. Good for you. Yeah. And, and Fox, one capital part difference, which is a Philippine based VC. What’s it called Fox Fox month? Capital Partners? Got it. Okay. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 40:07
Maybe you can just send that to me. So I can put a link to it, I’m sure. What does it feel like to raise that much money? And again, are you living at home?

Gabriel Lopez 40:15
Yes, I am still. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 40:17
So that but it makes it really complicated, right? Because, again, I don’t know what the family structure is like, right. So I’m not going to make any presumptions. But whoever’s, like, making the money that supports the family will come home after work traditionally, right? At the end of the day, and it’s like, how was your day? If you have a full time job, the key is just not to get fired, sir. Right. It’s like, okay, I didn’t get fired. You can eat this month. Yeah, you know what I mean, right? Yeah, I get Yeah. But for you, it’s different, right? Because you’re, you’re still the child in the house. You know, where you were raised. But you don’t have a job. You’re, like you said before, you’re making jobs. And when you go through these times of despair, it’s very different than like, I’m, I’m concerned, I’m gonna get fired. It’s like, when you build this company, remember, it’s just like you and Nigel Enel, but they also have relationships and families and their families are putting pressure on them. And their friends are thinking that they’re crazy for starting their own company if they’re married, or if they’ve got boyfriends or girlfriends. You know what I mean? It’s not just three people in isolation. And that when there’s no one to lean on, right, unless your friends are also entrepreneurs. That’s right, because they don’t have a frame of reference for understanding it. Is that Is that fair? Because when you have a job at a bank, or whatever, you can just be like, Oh, my boss is a jerk, or my colleague stole my idea. And everybody understands that. But if you come home, and they’re say, like, Oh, we lost a hospital relationship, or tell your girlfriend about it, or you know, or Nigel tell somebody about it, or else their non entrepreneurial friends will just be like, well, this idea was crazy from the beginning, right? I mean, you knew that kind of thing. No, yeah,

Gabriel Lopez 42:01
I didn’t really understand like, the ups and downs of it. Yeah, at all, at all. And, I mean, that’s something that like, I mean, also a lot of founders struggle with, even when it’s other founders, like, this is kind of a disconnect, because of how differently a lot of business run. So it’s not like, you know, they don’t have like a co worker or something, you can kind of talk or something like that. Right? Yeah. So there is slight disconnect. And now recently just been getting to being stoic about everything. And just like eating,

Michael Waitze 42:38
right, but that’s why I asked you about that time. So you’re in the car, and you’re like, Yeah, but now if you sign a deal, it’s more like, Okay, see you tomorrow, like next day, next client kind of thing. And even when you raise money, you’re like, Okay, we just raised $400,000. So we’re not going to die soon. But in a way, like minimizes the celebration, right? Because you still to get stuff done.

Gabriel Lopez 42:58
Yeah. I remember one thing that another founder told me was that whenever your race around, you celebrate for like, three days, then after that, don’t think about it anymore, get back to work, you still have to have these moments of gratitude, of celebration, for sure. And reflection, I guess. Before, like, if you just like immediately go back to work, you don’t stop. And if you don’t start any of that, you just you just get burnt out the end of the next six months. And then you become unproductive. And, you know, there has to be this forced moments of ritual at the hip

Michael Waitze 43:40
of celebration. And just like a little bit of gratitude, you got to high five a little bit, right. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Gabriel Lopez 43:45
Right, exactly.

Michael Waitze 43:46
Um, is there anything else you want to cover? Or I think what we should do is we should stop because it’s been such a great conversation. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve had a great time. Hopefully you have as I’ve had a great time. But it’s early in the life of men hive. I’d love to have Nigel on are no longer maybe like all three of you on together and just do like a roundtable in six months and just see where things stand. How does that sound? Oh, that

Gabriel Lopez 44:10
sounds great. Yeah, I would love

Michael Waitze 44:12
to get different perspectives, right? Because it’s always neat for me to see the interplay between the founders, and on any particular day. Right. Like, like you said, there’s all these ups and downs, right? And on any particular day, or what’s gonna happen like someone’s cat could have died. thing didn’t happen. I’m not saying that. I’m not suggesting that that should happen.

Gabriel Lopez 44:32
Later, right. Yeah, that’s always cool. Yeah, I would love that. That sounds amazing. Like we probably a lot of exciting things you can share in six months with bad habits. Well,

Michael Waitze 44:43
let’s do that. Okay. Gabriel Lopez, A co founder and the CTO, the Chief Technology Officer of MedHyve. Thank you so much for doing that

Gabriel Lopez 44:50
today. All right. Thank you so much, Michael. And thank you so much for having me on your show.


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