SkyFounder Spotlight: Alexander Börve of SkyTeam First Derm

SkyFounder Spotlight: Alexander Börve of SkyTeam First Derm

This week’s spotlight is on SkyTeam First Derm co-founder Alexander Börve. First Derm produces a remote patient physiologic monitor for predicting heart failure related hospitalizations, enabling preventative interventions.


Q: What problem does your startup solve?

A: First Derm does dermatology on demand.  On average, it takes 29 days to see a dermatologist, but with First Derm, you can have an answer within hours.

Q: What was your experience prior to working in the startup industry?

A: I’m a researcher in dermatology and I’m also a medical doctor.

Q: How has your startup evolved over time?

A: We started making profit.  The strategy of the company has remained mostly the same, but the problem was that we were a little bit too early in getting customers used to the concept.  Many people prefer to see dermatologists in person, but customers have started to find out that it’s faster and more convenient to use our product.

Q: Where did you get the original inspiration for your startup?

A: When I was in medical school, I used to download all the medical books on dermatology.  On the other hand, I had a phone with a camera in it, and I knew that those two could go together.  I began thinking about healthcare, specifically what area of healthcare would benefit the most from a smartphone with a camera.

Q: How did you meet your team?

A: I met my team here at Berkeley, where I attended the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, through the SkyDeck network.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?  How did you overcome it?

A: Fundraising is difficult.  We plan to overcome that by making more money, thus lessening the need for fundraising.  We need to make money, so we don’t need to raise money.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: So, the ultimate goal for First Derm is for everyone that has a skin issue to have First Derm at the top of their mind.  So if you have acne, or skin cancer, or kids with rashes, the hope is for customers to use First Derm because it solves the whole dermatology problem.

Q: Why did you choose SkyDeck?

A: We chose SkyDeck for the good networking opportunities and its proximity to UC Berkeley, so it was a natural place to get ccnnected with.  I heard about SkyDeck through my research professor at Cal.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to start a business?

A: Make sure that you understand what you’re getting yourself into.  It’s not a sprint, it’s a triathlon.  It takes longer than you think and you have to be good at more things than just sprinting.  You have to be good at swimming, cycling, and running.

Q: Do you have a team motto?

A: A startup is not a sprint, but a triathlon.

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