#29 - Itamar Kandel: CEO of HeartVista

November 08, 2020 John Simboli Season 2 Episode 15
#29 - Itamar Kandel: CEO of HeartVista
Show Notes Transcript

Itamar Kandel, CEO of HeartVista, speaks with BioBoss host John Simboli about leadership and how HeartVista leverages machine learning to simplify diagnostic imaging and help physicians more accurately diagnose cardiovascular disease.


John Simboli  00:00

Today I'm speaking with Itamar Kandel, CEO of HeartVista, headquartered in Los Altos, California. Welcome to BioBoss, Itamar.


Itamar Kandel  00:08

Thank you, John. Pleasure being here. 


John Simboli  00:11

How did you find yourself at HeartVista?


Itamar Kandel  00:13

I was actually on a year off sabbatical, backpacking through Southeast Asia, posting between cities and countries, and just kind of living a life dream. And I got a call. While I was in Colombo, in Sri Lanka, from a recruiter. I was resting after a week-long personal retreat in the hills about Kandy, and I get a call from a Silicon Valley recruiter, I was like, this is going to be interesting. So I pick up the phone and we start chatting. And he tells me a little bit about the company and Khosla Ventures. And I said, you know, Dan, it's really interesting, but I am probably nine months away from coming back. So if you can hold that position for that long, great, otherwise, let's keep in touch and see what happens. And the funny thing is, he was a very good recruiter. So he almost to the day when I came back to the states gave me a call. And we started the conversation again, how this opportunity kind of went away, and then it came back. And, you know, it was kind of like meant to be. If things are in the past for so long and then they come together, I felt like the stars aligned, and it was a good outcome. So I'm super psyched about being here. 


John Simboli  01:30

How did you decide you wanted to lead a biotech company?


Itamar Kandel  01:33

I knew that I wanted to, first of all, lead. I feel comfortable in that role. I've done well before. And I just wanted to take it to the next level, which is really becoming a CEO and leading a company. The space of biotech is specifically interesting for me because throughout my childhood, I was very fascinated with biology with medicine, actually, my mother, she used to work as a secretary in a dialysis ward in hospital. So after school, I would go hang out with her and kind of like run around between the machines and kind of talk to doctors. And for me, when I smell the antiseptics of a hospital or I see the linoleum on the floor, or I have a powdered potato, mashed potato, for me, it's like memories from childhood. So I love that domain. And I always thought I'm going to be a doctor. And then just kind of days before I had to commit to medical school, I kind of changed my mindset, I want to go to computer science, but I also had this passion for this field. So being able to combine both technology and biology, in a place where it actually has a dramatic impact on people's lives. It all just made sense for me. So that's kind of like why leadership and why in biotech as well.


John Simboli  03:00

Did, at any point, you think to yourself, yeah, I think I know how to get to here, it's gonna take a while, but I'll go work for a big pharma company or a big, you know, medical device or biotech company, and then eventually I'll learn the craft and then I'll find the right one for me, then I'll start one? As opposed to leaping in?


Itamar Kandel  03:16

Being an entrepreneur is not the easiest path you can take. And actually, my father has been in the same position as a union leader for 40-odd years. So he looks at what happens in Silicon Valley, and you know, there's this cycle of you succeed, you fail, you move fast to the next company, and this idea of failing upwards and, you know, just switching so many times, it's very alien to a lot of people and it's just taking risks to an extreme. You've got to be comfortable with it, right? You've got to come from a place of relishing the risk and really understanding what is the downside and then just taking calculated risk instead of just being random. It's tough, right? So it's a lot of uncertainties, it's a lot of risk. It's a lot of things outside of your control that dictate whether or not you succeed or lose. And it's something that you've got to get comfortable with. And it's not for everybody, right? So you've got to think about what makes sense for you and then choose that path. 


Itamar Kandel  04:26

You see a big boom of people jumping in and starting companies when the economy's is exploding, you see the boom, and you saw in multiple cycles, and it's so predictable. So people rush in and they're trying to do something because it seems the myth of the entrepreneur is standing on a pedestal and charging ahead is like, Oh, you hear like that, the ray of sunshine from the clouds hit him and like everything is amazing. And then you see doctors and lawyers and plumbers and everybody's jumping in and starting startups. And then when the cycle changes, people leave and go back to more traditional work. And the ones that persevere, I think, are the good ones. So they have a higher chance of success. And a lot of people rightfully think that the times of the downturn is really where the big opportunities are created because people are running to hide and there are real problems that needs to be solved. And the people with the vision and luck, can execute through true grit and deliver in something that is dramatic.


John Simboli  05:35

When you're an entrepreneur, and you're comfortable with risk, presumably, you collect around you a group of people who also can deal with that, who are very good at what they do, and can also swim in that kind of thing. How do you how do you manage? Is there a management approach that you found works when you're assembling that team and then getting the best from them?


Itamar Kandel  05:57

There is something that was pretty big a few years ago, online, by an author and researcher, her name is Brené  Brown. So she's like the vulnerability guru. And she came up with a TED talk of like, 10-15 minutes, that explains what is vulnerability, how she came to research it. She identified something in her career that was not making sense, and it just doesn't jibe. And then she started exploring it, and there was just a big personal crisis. And she realized that vulnerability is not a weakness, it's a sort of strength. And when you present yourself fully without all the pretenses, without all the image that you're trying to portray, or just being a human being. I think people react well to that. And you make real connections. I think empathy comes from that, I think an understanding of who people are. And when things are going well, everybody's motivated and running and charging up a hill. But that's not the case, in entrepreneurship and in startups. So you've got to have people that are in the foxhole with you, and they've got your back. And I think creating this real connection, is the way to go. And that's, really, an ethos that I'm trying to—creating the team and kind of like, expose myself and ask other people to expose, to help us build a company together. I think that makes sense for us and in multiple times, and where we're able to identify issues and weaknesses and gaps in knowledge that otherwise people might have been very reluctant to share, because, oh, they're gonna judge me, it's gonna be like something career limiting. People that trust you and there is some sort of an agreed, kind of contract that, tell me who you are and we'll work through things together, came out of it. And that's something that I try to practice. It's not easy, right? It's vulnerable to be vulnerable. But if you get comfortable with it, I think it could be a source of strength, and be like, a superpower for yourself. 


Itamar Kandel  08:16

It's not all up and to the right, right? There is a lot of ups and downs and crashes. And you've got to be able to deal with it. So that's one thing, vulnerability is really something that I've tried to incorporate into both personal and business life. Another one is another kind of idea that is called critical candor. And that came out of an executive of Google, and she actually was describing her first encounter with this idea that came from Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, back then she was the VP at Google. And that lady had a presentation in front of the board and she thought she was doing really great and the ad numbers were exploding and everything was going great. And Sheryl Sandberg, afterward, took her to the side and said, You know this went well, but there were some issues. And it was like, what were the issues? Well, you said a lot of "um" doing the meeting. OK, what do I care about "um's"?  I'm killing it and making all this money and success, No, this is a problem. And she said, no, `I don't understand what you're talking about. 


Itamar Kandel  09:27

And then Sheryl said something like when you say "um,", you make yourself sound stupid. It was like, Wow, you really don't hear that in corporate America very often. Right? So she didn't say you are stupid. You said you sound stupid. And there's a big difference between those two. And that kind of like was like a 2 x 4  to the face for this lady because she thought she was doing really well. So what is this woman talking about? And then she understood what's behind it. But this idea of like unvarnished very tough feedback that is constructive feedback. But it's not something that you can mealy-mouth around is another kind of thing that I'm trying to instill. We don't have time for nonsense, we don't have time to waste time, don't have time for niceties. Don't crush people. But be honest with them and tell them when things are good and when things are bad. If you let somebody go, and they're surprised by it, you as a manager failed, because you did not communicate a very, very long series of events that led to that letting go of that employee. So shame on you, as a manager, if you surprise your employee by letting them go. 


Itamar Kandel  10:37

You know, running a team or building a team, it's all about communication and moving information from one side to another and making sure that you can see around the corner on the next problem and thinking about your budget, and how do you make sure that you've got the runway to get to the next milestone to think about the next step fundraise. It just comes down to talking to people getting them excited, explain to them what the world is going to look like when you succeed and why they need to support you through the journey. So compared to the engineers that are just hacking away and producing code, and then they install it on a machine, and then the images come out, my life is more amorphous than that.


John Simboli  11:22

You already described to me that you always, early, early, saw yourself as being a doctor, I am curious, did it get to the point of I'm going to be a neurosurgeon, or I'm going to be a heart specialist. Was it ever to that point? Did you have an actual image of yourself in a gown doing a particular thing?


Itamar Kandel  11:39

Oh, absolutely. It was a brain surgeon, I was so sure when I was seven years old that I'm going to be this famous brain surgeon. And actually, I would do all these kinds of doodles on paper with tight little bubbles, and in my mind was like, Oh, my God, I'm charting the brain. I was just doing this little bubbly thing, I could mean nothing. But I thought, I'm onto something, I need to keep this piece of paper when I go to medical school, and then everyone is just gonna be like, Oh, my God. So, that did not happen. But I try to chart my way in other fields.


John Simboli  12:19

When you get asked who is HeartVista, how do you like to answer?


Itamar Kandel  12:23

The way I think about it is we're just a group of engineers, physicists, physicians, and business folks that have a common mission. And that is to bring life-saving diagnostic MRI technology to the masses. MRI technologies are, by far, the most robust piece of technology to identify and diagnose so many different conditions and diseases. But it's a very, very complex, diabolically complex machine to operate. You as the technician, need to have a deep understanding of the anatomy that you're scanning, and the physics of the machine in order to be producing diagnostic level images. And that's why it takes a long time when you're in the machine. And that's why it costs so much money to do every single scan. And that's a problem because you have this wonderful resource that can do so much good in the world, because of access, because of money, because of just where you live in the world, you can't get to it. And that's a crime. 


Itamar Kandel  13:34

So our idea is really to do this MRI-for-all, democratize it, bring it to the masses, and through that have a meaningful contribution and effect on the life of millions. The heart is by far the hardest thing because not only do you breathe and you move the heart, but also the heart moves, right? It beats all the time. So you can't really hold your breath to stop the heart. But at least you can remove that source of noise in the images by holding your breath. Then if you look at the liver or other kinds of things in the abdomen, you can with, holding the breath, get better images, but the heart is by far the most complex. So part of our technology and why this is so dramatic of what we developed, is we are so fast in scanning that we basically freeze the heart. So we are able to create images that are very, very crisp, whether or not you hold your breath and whether or not your heart is beating—hopefully, it is beating because otherwise what are we doing? But yes,, that's the one piece of functionality that we provide that reduces the number of breaths to actually nothing if it depends on what scans you're doing. 


Itamar Kandel  14:49

It's an uncomfortable place to be in and you can be for cardiac MRI which is again by far the most complex because of the motion, you can be there for 90 minutes. So think about it, if you're a young child, or if you're a patient with claustrophobia, or if you're just somebody with aches and pains lying down there, mostly immobile, for that amount of time in that tiny tube, that's a real problem. So if we can cut the number of minutes from 90 minutes to many, many fewer minutes, actually can't tell you how fast it is because it's not FDA cleared yet to discuss the actual results, but it's orders of magnitude faster, right? So suddenly, if you're claustrophobic you can be in and out really quickly. If you're a child, you don't have to be sedated to be able to be scanned. And that's a dramatic benefit of our technology, the ability to be in and out. And then there is the added effect of, if you can run people through in the machine so fast, you can have many, many more scans on the same machine. So suddenly, the cost of the machine is spread around many, many exams, so you can bring it down. And that's part of the way that we want to drive down the cost of MRI is by creating much higher margins profits, so you can bring it down and still make a decent amount of money in the system without compromising your financials.


John Simboli  16:19

And tell me a little bit about, from a physician's point of view, there are advantages over and above all the ones you just laid out for me from the patient's viewpoint, the physician's care of the patient. There are advantages as I understand, also in terms of being able to remotely observe and control.


Itamar Kandel  16:36

Yes, so one of our features is the ability to control the machine from anywhere in the world. So I think about it like as a NORAD where you have a big hole in the ground, and there are like 100 different screens. And those screens are showing 100 different machines, 100 different patients, we have one technician that can run everything. And the reason why you can do that is A, we can control the machine from anywhere in the world. And B, we simplify the operation of the machine, which is another thing that we talked about at the beginning, how complex it is to run. A correct MRI could be up to 300 different decisions that you need to make as a technician—how to do the scan—we brought it down to a single click. So it's a single click, basically, anyone can do this. And if they can do this from anywhere in the world, you can have very few people running an incredible array of machines. And then knowing the COVID wall, the ability to do this remotely without exposing medical staff to the patient very closely, has benefit, not to mention how much more productivity you get from one person versus many people. So you don't have to have an army of folks in the hospital being exposed, you can have one.


John Simboli  17:52

So that's advantages for patients, advantages for physicians Do you want to also talk about potential advantages looking at it as a platform, advantages for people who want to take the technology, and apply within their own applications?


Itamar Kandel  18:06

So the first product, actually, that we created is a research product. It's a platform that allows folks to develop very rapid MRI applications to do anything you can think of. So we created this layer of software that basically virtualizes all the hardware underneath, and allows you to not need to understand the nitty-gritty of how those machines work. We expose much simpler API's and through that, you can develop many, many applications much, much more rapidly. We're by far the biggest entity in the world that does that, that provides these tools for development. Now we have people developing all kinds of crazy stuff like therapies, like altra sound therapies, inside the MRI machine. So it's guiding the therapy in real-time. And you know, the sky's the limit, there are so many different applications. And we're kind of like in a place where we provide the platform and let other people build on top of it different things, we chose to have the platform and then build a set of codec applications on top of it. But you can build whatever you want. And now you know after we develop the platform, and we solve the hardest problem, which is cardiac MRI, now we're expanding and we're going to spine and going to the brain we're going to the knee we're going to the really meaty piece of the MRI work, which is much simpler, right. So if you can do cardiac, you can do anything. And we said spine doesn't move brain doesn't move, liver moves, but only with breathing. It doesn't move on its own. So we solved the hardest problem and now we're kind of climbing down the complexity ladder to get to other benefits and we're doing it very rapidly because again, we solved the hardest part so now it's a walk in the park to do other things. 


Itamar Kandel  19:55

We are building the cardiac suite as the main first product of the company, and something very lucky happened. So we keep talking about how entrepreneurs are tough and grit and all that stuff. But you also need luck. And we had a really big stroke of luck that happened in the summer of 2019. There was a study that came out of Europe, of a multi-center, multi-year clinical trial that compared what used to be the gold standard of correct diagnosis, called FFR, which is basically an invasive catheter you put in the heart and you measure different things. So let's compare that to cardiac MRI. And what they discovered in this study, it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, what they discovered is two things. One, for the first time on an outcome basis, there was a technology that was non-inferior to FFR. Up until now, all the other technologies from a nuclear stress test to echos to an angiogram, everything, is considered 80% as good as FFR, as 75% is good at FFR, etc. This is the first time on an outcome basis, there was non-inferiority, which is dramatic, right? Because this is not invasive, you can do it without putting the patient in the cath lab. And you get non-inferior results. It's kind of like almost counterintuitive because if I'm in the heart, I can probably measure more things than if I were outside the heart, but no, it's the same. So that's one thing. The second thing that came out of it is that there were 20% fewer interventions. And that means 20% fewer stents need to go into people's hearts. So think about the cost of stents, of the operation, of the patient's discomfort, of complication, everything that comes out of it. It's in the billions of billions of dollars of saving if you just think about it from the dollars and cents. But the patient experience and everything else is dramatic.


Itamar Kandel  21:59

So that study, overnight, created an incredible amount of demand in the market; way before, it wasn't there. Because as we said, cardiac MRI is very, very complex. So only 1 to 2% of all MRI studies is correct MRI, because of that. Suddenly, there was an incredible amount of demand that materialized out of nowhere. Oh, and by the way, the American Heart Association, the rumor mill, is that they are working on new guidelines that will put cardiac MRI or CMR as a class 1 indication for ischemia and vovo diseases. This means the first time you show up at a doctor's and you have stable angina, the recommendation will go get a CMR. So that created this incredible demand out of nowhere. But the problem is supply. Because to do all these exams, in hospital, we need to buy 50 new magnets, right and that's cuckoo for cocoa puffs, it's not just not going to happen. It's very, very expensive. So there was like this pent up demand. But HeartVisata, we come in and say, we can take this demand and bring supply in a way that is logical and efficient. Because we can do many, many more scans in an hour. And we can do it with very, very few trained technicians. So suddenly, we can address this demand. And that was very, very lucky, right? Because we've been shouting from the rooftops, you've got to do CMRs for this kind of reason. But suddenly, this thing came out of nowhere and landed in our lap when the chair releases their guidelines, it's just going to be an explosion. And we're uniquely positioned to capitalize on this new demand. 


Itamar Kandel  23:46

And the market is noticing. So of the top 10 cardiac centers in the country, choose your names, they're there. They come to us; instead of us as a little startup knocking on the door saying hey, we have blah, blah, come, it's gonna slice your bread into everything you want. Suddenly, they come to us and say we've been hearing about you guys for years, and they all know us right. So the scientists that build this system are world-renowned, they wrote a seminal paper around rapid MRI and real-time MRI, our CMO is considered one of the top cardiologists in the country. And they all well known in the industry. But at this point, when this demand happened, they came to us and said, we've been hearing about this for a long time. Now's the time; Can you run with us? And that's where we decided to really focus on cardiac. That's why we decided to really pursue these giant opportunities with these top cardiology centers in the country. And that's what we're doing. And we have the perfect story for both CMS and the private industry because what we do is we take this thing that creates the best images possible and we create those images, and we have a lot of money so we can reduce the price. It's kind of like a Miller Lite, it tastes great, less filling, it's both the best images and cheaper than it used to. So this could be as cheap as echo, this could be as cheap as, choose whatever other technology and it's better images. So it's a great outcome for CMS to send people our way and say, you get the best diagnostics, which means you get the best care, which means the total cost of care goes down with the right diagnostics.


John Simboli  25:27

What kind of partners are a good fit to HeartVista?


Itamar Kandel  25:30

When you think about what's your superpower, what are you really good at, just from a hard skills perspective, I'm a good BD guy, a good business development guy. So I think about the concept of partnership as a very natural way for me, I like the best competition, I like cooperation. And that's how I look at the world. So how do we work with other folks to create a greater than the sum of the parts kind of results? And so we do something really well, somebody else does something really well, and together, we can do something better, faster, cheaper. So working with a partnership is something that I'm focusing on. And that could be from the manufacturers of the MRI machine themselves. They have a lot of reasons why they are supporting us through our journey. And I want to kind of like, get this relationship deeper and deeper. So we're working with them. From the cardiologists that are coming to us and say we understand what you're doing right now, you don't have to convince us, we're convinced, we just need to find the right model and how this is actually going to work. So I love working with them because I don't have to explain too much, they get it immediately, to companies that are in the services industry that can help bring it and expand, what we can do. As a small company, we need to leverage other people's resources as well, to get this faster. The goal is to be on every MRI machine in the world, that is the goal, the North Star is to be MRI for all, and for that you need to be on all those machines. So we're not going to do it on our own, we're going to do it with other folks, it's going to be hardware people, it's going to be software people, it's going to be healthcare providers, it's going to be healthcare insurers, as well. So all of these guys need to be in a coalition to bring this to market. 


Itamar Kandel  27:18

This product is applicable everywhere. And everyone needs it, right? We create something that is ubiquitous. As a small company, we need to make our bets very, very carefully, and make sure that we're using our energy correctly. We started working with some major systems in a healthcare system in Brazil, and unfortunately, what's going on in Brazil right now, It's just heartbreaking. COVID is hitting them so so so hard. So the global expansion is going to probably have to wait with Brazil and now we're moving to Europe. But yeah, the idea of getting this technology to outside of the US in different reimbursement environments, different healthcare delivery system methods, is something that I think about a lot; what is the right way to partner outside of the U.S.


John Simboli  28:13

How about when you're out talking with investors, and you're trying to make clear to them what the advantages are?


Itamar Kandel  28:18

So the pitch to investors is really straightforward. You have this technology that has a lot of potential, which is MRI, there's a giant market, and there is a break between the supply and the demand. And where the bridge is to really tap into this new market. So if you look at all the different options that a cardiologist has, they all want to have a CMR, cardiac MRI, but they can't get it. In medical school, they are being taught this is the best tool, but they can't get it when they come out of school. So they settle for other stuff. So there is this widespread understanding in the scientific community and in the medical community what has happened, but again, it's all about is it practical? versus Is it like, you know, just in the academic ivory towers, they can do it. But for me in, choose your middle of nowhere. town, it's not for me, it's for somebody else. It's for Duke, it's for Stanford, it's for Harvard, it's for those guys. 


Itamar Kandel  29:19

So when we showed that we can do this for everybody, the investors lit up. Then you take them to the MRI machine and you do a demo. So I grabbed one of my poor engineers and I shove him into the tube. And we start scanning that person and immediately you start seeing the heart beating in real-time, which is not what is the usual experience of MRI; usually you put the people, you press the button, you go get a cup of coffee, you come back after five minutes, you start seeing images. Here, it's almost like an echo experience where you get a live stream of images immediately. And when you tell people before they see it—I don't believe it—you can't do it. And then you bring them, and you show it to them. And then there is a moment of like, almost, pause, and then you hear the Wow. And it's just something that is thought to be almost impossible to do. And we do it and we show it to them. And it's a very, very powerful demo. So once they see that this is not just pie in the sky, it's actually I just saw this guy walk through the room and he went into the machine, I see his heart beating on the machine. It's something real, then you can draw the picture of why this market is very lucrative and why are we the right team to develop this and bring it to market. And how do we leverage our partnership and brand to accelerate the very slow pace of innovation in healthcare? And I think we make the case.


John Simboli  30:51

Let's say you're at an investor conference, and you don't have the opportunity to actually do the demo. And let's say after the conference, people come up, and they say, well, thanks, Itamar, I now understand I'd like to schedule some time to talk. And they've understood, but there's always going to be a certain number, in my understanding, there's always a certain number of people who say, Oh, thank you, but they've misunderstood. And it's your job to say it's actually not that this is really what the story is. When people get the story wrong, what do they get wrong, I'm talking about investors, what do they get wrong, and how you help them to understand it?


Itamar Kandel  31:22

So the number one thing that people don't understand, because it really is unusual, is that we take control of the magnet directly, meaning our software, think about as a brain transplant into the machine, and we're the one that generate the electromagnetic fields, we're the one that create the pulse sequences, were the one that do the reconstruction of the images in real-time. So all of it is us. It's not like almost every other "AI in radiology," quote, unquote, company, that really what they do is they wait for the images to come out of the big machines, the big modalities, and then they try to say something clinically interesting about it. Which has value, but that's called post-processing. We're the only ones that actually take control of the magnet itself. And that's very, very unusual. And people don't get it, until they say, wait, so how can you do this? Oh, wait, so you control the machine. And then I show them a picture of the ethernet cable leaving our workstation to the racks of their of the MRI. Yes,, this is us. This is our images, not other people's images, our images that create this. And that's something that people don't get, they mix it like, oh, everything in AI in radiology is the same everyone is trying to identify disease or whatever it is. But we're the ones that actually are doing acquisition. 


Itamar Kandel  32:45

Now that we can have a lock on acquisition, it's very interesting to start moving into post-processing, and we're doing stuff but what we do, again, is different because we can do post-processing while the patient is still in the machine, right? Because if you have to wait for two days before you say anything about those images, you might have to call the patient back. And you know how expensive it is because you miss something in the analysis or in the image acquisition, you've got to get more images. With us, we look at the images in real-time. And we can actually identify other conditions, and then say, Oh, we need to acquire more images for the cardiologist to look at, and then save that round trip of coming back. The fact that we control the machine gives us so much power to do very innovative stuff that otherwise you just can't do.


John Simboli  33:35

You're in the throes of this, you're in the midst of this, it sounds like you've got a lot going on. Do you ever get time at this part of the company's development to take a deep breath and think you know, if this thing works out the way I hope it will we're actually going to really help a lot of people to live better lives? Or are you so focused on what you have to do right now that that's something for the future?


Itamar Kandel  33:58

You have got to have the north star that justifies the pain because the journey is hard and there are extreme ups and extreme downs. And what gets you through the downs is the mission right if you're just doing it for a paycheck, there are easier ways to get a paycheck. You've got to keep what you're doing alive and this is really part of the leader's role is to build a culture around shared values that support the investment and support working with the naysayers. So if you lose that, then people will give up. And that's a failure of leadership, right? You've got to keep the reason why we're doing what we're doing. alive and beating, it's the beating heart of the company and if you don't then they're gonna be with you when there is like success and dollars coming in and all that stuff. And when you run into roadblocks, which you will because everybody does, that's where you persevere. That's where true grit comes out of.


John Simboli  35:11

Thanks for speaking with me today, Itamar.


Itamar Kandel  35:14

Pleasure, John, thank you for taking the time to understand what we're doing at HeartVista.


John Simboli  35:18

Relishing risk. That’s a quality I’ve heard in several of my BioBoss discussions with founders and CEOs. But as Itamar Kandel says, it’s not a random act of bravery—it’s understanding the potential downside, and taking a calculated risk. 


John Simboli  35:18

A risk Itamar says he’s willing to take is to just try to be himself. He told me, “presenting yourself fully, without the pretenses and the image you’re trying to portray, just being human, people react well to that and it helps make real connections.” For Itamar, that kind of open communication helps a leader be efficient as he moves information from one place to another, in a never-ending quest to “see around the corner.” 


John Simboli  35:18

Itamar also spoke with me about the challenges and opportunities that come with leading a team. For him, it’s a continuous process of articulating, why he and HeartVista are doing what they’re doing, and keeping alive the beating heart of the company. For a business focused on cardiovascular disease, this sounds like just the right way to drive home the mission.  


John Simboli  35:18

I’m John Simboli.  You’re listening to BioBoss.