Chronometriq has worked with our office since the Fall of 2018 when they came to our Boston CTA program, as recommended by the regional office in Montreal. It is a digital health company providing online appointment booking, automated appointment reminders, a self-check-in kiosk, and a virtual waiting room management system. When it started in the CTA, it was a company of about 25 employees. The Boston CTA program has helped catapult it to a new level.
We recently invited Yan Raymond-Lalande, Chief Executive Officer, and Remi Richard, Chief Innovation Officer to share their story and CTA experience with companies from our current CTA cohort. Here are snippets from the Chronometriq’s path from Montreal to Boston to global, as related by their two cofounders.
Mentoring experience? Mentoring is a pillar of the Boston CTA program. They had a great group of mentors who helped them understand the US market and adapt their thinking. Mentors didn’t have to share their contacts, but still did it, and because of their introductions, the company was able to meet with all the relevant and large VCs in Boston. Moreover, the mentors have become official advisors to the company (Chronometriq strategizes with them on a monthly basis).
Did it matter that two executives participated in the CTA? Yes, it was a good decision. It made them spend significant time together, talk strategy, and make decisions in real time. Also, divide and conquer.
How about the US culture? It may seem similar, but it’s quite different from the one in Canada. In the end, work life becomes easier if you understand a few things. Americans are direct, to the point, and time and money matter. They expect you to send and answer emails right away, not the next day or next week. Doctors in Boston are bombarded with new technologies all the time and companies need to be better and stand out. Sometimes you may have to “grease the wheels” in order to make advances. In the US, you also must have clear storytelling and the digital marketing and branding are important. “Chronometriq” was a mouthful for Americans, so the founders came up with a friendlier name for their US subsidiary, “cMetric Health”. Moreover, at some point, Remi even started wearing a Red Sox “B” hat when in Boston – to “blend in” with the local crowd, but also because “B” means Billions. While Chronometriq is now extremely well positioned post-CTA, their biggest Canadian competitor has struggled to understand and enter the US market.
Best lesson from the CTA experience? Learning to dream big. Chronometriq was no longer a startup when they entered the CTA, having raised a $3.5M Series A and having a good number of customers in Canada. They had good plans for the US. However, during the program, while working with the mentors and the Trade Commissioners, they got another level of confidence. They understood the sky is the limit, expanded their views and started to dream much bigger and bolder.
Other learnings from the CTA? Participation is an investment, so do not waste it. Trust the mentors and the program. Spend at least one week per month in Boston (longer if you are early stage). Be prepared, define the targets and take advantage of the opportunities. It is a program that deserves to be known by every startup in Canada. But the startups must also be ready for it, and apply at the right time.
How difficult of a journey has been? During the CTA, regularly after a long day and over a beer, the founders shared from their experience. Everyone sees the bright part of entrepreneurship, but the success of today is backed by many years of struggles, sacrifices and sleepless nights. At some point, they were walking in a cold Montreal with holes in their socks and boots, having no money, but still too proud to ask their parents for help. These are two young entrepreneurs who started with a dream and never gave up. They continue to work relentlessly even during COVID and after a huge new round of financing.
Life after the CTA? Chronometriq has had an amazing journey in the last two years. A few highlights:
What’s next for Chronometriq? Grow, grow and grow. Hire more people, and further expand in Canada, the US and internationally. Fuel this through a planned large Series C (in the hundreds of millions), followed by an IPO in the next 5 years, and become the next Canadian unicorn. The dream is there and it is becoming reality.