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💡 Founder Spotlight: Pedro Sanchez de Lozada

Presented by Pedro Sanchez de Lozada, Jason Kincaid
Originally aired on 

This week is Cloudflare's Founder Spotlight on Cloudflare TV, featuring dozens entrepreneurs from across the tech industry and beyond!

This session features Pedro Sanchez de Lozada, co-founder and CEO of Canid, which is modernizing every aspect of providing vaccines in pediatrics, from operations, to finances, to maximizing care. Canid worries about the nitty gritty details of executing a vaccine program so pediatricians can instead focus on the children. Originally from Chile, Pedro has lived in the U.S. since 2008, building early-stage startups that focus on scaling small businesses, such as Udemy, Rinse, Merlin, and now Canid.

Visit the Founder Spotlight hub to find the rest of these featured conversations — and tune in all week for more!

Founder Spotlight

Transcript (Beta)

Hey, folks, welcome back to another episode of Founder Spotlight here on Cloudflare TV.

I'm excited to welcome founder and CEO of Canit, Pedro Sanchez de Lozada.

Pedro, thank you so much for joining us. Why don't we start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself?

Sure. So about myself, so I grew up in Chile.

I'm originally from Santiago, Chile. I moved to the U.S. maybe, well, when I graduated high school, went to university in the U.S.

and I've been in the U.S.

since, went to the University of Chicago. And when I graduated from there, I really wanted to do something in tech.

And that's when I took an internship in San Francisco and started to go down that route.

One of the most exciting things that I've ever done was my first internship just working directly with a CEO and trying to learn all the ropes about building a company and making it successful.

And so I got really addicted to that. And today, a handful of years later, I've really embraced the idea of using technology to enable small businesses to thrive.

So that's really where my career has landed in that kind of pre-seed, maybe seed stage startups to a series A or B and helping them scale.

Obviously, most recently, and we'll talk a little bit, but started Canid.

And so, yeah, that is maybe me in a nutshell and what I, what I have done so far.

Awesome. Well, look forward to exploring all of the above.

So why don't we, before you too much further, I'd love to hear a little bit more about Canid and what you're doing with the company.

Why don't you tell us a little bit about sort of how long ago it got started, that sort of thing.

Sure. So at a high level, Canid is a pediatric vaccination management system.

Essentially what we do is we tell pediatricians who are giving vaccines every single day to kids that are, as they grow up, we make it so that they can simply give the vaccine and forget about all the administrative, financial, and data analytics work that needs to be done to get a vaccine program in tip-top shape.

We do all of that and take it off their hands so that they can focus more on the health of the children that they're working with and on the health of their own, the other sides of their business.

In terms of, you know, how long we've been in existence, it's really a young company.

We started earlier this year in January, have about 10 full-time employees right now, 15 in total.

And, you know, we raised a pre-seed earlier this year.

And, you know, one of the things that has been really exciting about this year is that, you know, for vaccines, it's been a super pivotal year, right?

So many people are thinking about vaccines, and we've been able to be a part of that and help enable small pediatric practices that wouldn't have otherwise given COVID vaccines for children, give vaccines to thousands of kids in the comfort of their own pediatric office, instead of at a mass vaccination clinic or something like that, that wouldn't be as comfortable for the parents.

So really, really excited about that impact that we've had in our first year of operation.

Absolutely. And certainly very important work. Could you tell us a little bit more, like help us make it tangible, sort of what kind of work are these doctors having to do that you're taking care of?

Because it's sort of abstract for me, it sounds sort of like a capsule, I don't really have a sense of what it entails.

So I would say there's three components, right? The first component is really an operational component.

It's making sure that you get the vials in your office on time.

You're not running out, you always have stock, you get reimbursed at the right amount, you report the reimbursements, you report any sort of any vaccines that you give to central immunization registries, and various little details around your operation.

So part of what we do is... So this applies to any vaccine, right?

Not just the COVID vaccine. Not just the COVID vaccine.

Every single vaccine has to go through the same process. The COVID vaccine has some similarities, but obviously, because of its uniqueness, it also has a lot of differences.

And so we basically set you up with a very streamlined, automated way to do all that, where the vast majority is off your hands, right?

Now, the second piece is more financial. So there's a, especially with the vaccines that are from private insurers, they have to pay a lot of money to get the vaccines on the shelf.

And so that's an inventory problem for practices. It's cash on shelf, right?

And it also means that there's a lot of risk. So if something goes wrong, they're liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars of vaccines.

There's also making sure you maximize how much you get paid for them. And every single payer is going to fight you on that, right?

Like they typically do, every single insurance company is going to push back here and there.

So we help you kind of streamline all the financials so that you can make money without spending a lot of time on it.

And then the final piece is really around making sure that you can give as many vaccines to kids as possible, right?

As a kid, you have to reach certain levels by certain years of vaccination status to go to school, to go to summer camp, to go to college eventually, right?

And so all of that kind of relies, becomes a responsibility of the pediatrician to work with the parent to make that happen.

And so we help you streamline that, identify gaps in care here and there, and find the kids who might be running behind and get them in the door.

Very interesting. Very interesting. So let me ask, how did you wind up on this path?

How did you become interested or aware of this topic? And this is something we're going to work on.

It's a pretty long story, but I'll try to keep it quick here.

Give us the good details. Okay. So at the beginning of the pandemic, I was actually working on a different startup and we were building a high-velocity recruiting specialized on small, medium-sized restaurants and retail stores, right?

And when you think about that market, that market really shifted more the pandemic.

Long story short, we ended up getting acquired and that gave me a little bit of time to sit back and contemplate what I wanted to do.

Now, the other thing that's been close to my heart growing up and everything is that my mom is a pediatric gynecologist.

And right around the same time that everything was going on with the previous startup that I was at, my mom's pediatric practice was kind of flipped upside down, right?

They had to come up with ways to do telemedicine, do online billing, digital health questionnaires and other things like that.

And so a lot of these tools already kind of existed. And a lot of it was taking stuff off the shelf and stringing it together in creative ways.

But when I started to dig deeper into the space, I realized that there's very little specialized software.

And what I mean by that is vaccination specifically, for example, is one thing that really only pediatricians care about, right?

Most other doctors might give one vaccine a week, whereas pediatricians give vaccines all the time, 20 times a day.

And it becomes a really big part of their day-to -day and their impact in kids, right?

And so when it came to other companies that were working in the space, they were building more general tools that help all providers.

But there was very few companies that were very, very specialized and building in things like pediatric vaccinations that didn't have, might not be able to sell very well to a general hospital that's just making all sorts of priorities and has a lot of competing priorities.

But when it comes to a pediatrician, you can do a really, really good job.

And so that's where we started to dive down that path of helping small business pediatricians that are focused on their pediatric practice, give these vaccinations a lot more effectively.

And yeah, that's what really started the idea and got us rolling.

Awesome. And you mentioned a little bit about how many employees you have.

Can you tell us any more milestones your company has reached as far as, have you raised funding?

And again, how many full-time employees was it again and that sort of thing?

10 full-time employees, 15 in total.

And so, yeah, in terms of funding, we raised around earlier this year, right around the time that we incorporated and started to build.

I mean, we've really focused a lot this year on some of the COVID solutions that we have, but also really nailing our software services for our clients that we are existing, the ones that we piloted with.

And so developing out those pilots and making sure that they work really well.

Only about a month ago, did we really start to move the gears of getting more clients in the door.

So really it's pretty early stage.

There's a lot of moving pieces here, but we're really looking to kind of use the next three to six months to scale a little bit and continue the flywheel going.

Awesome. I'd love to hear a little bit more about your approach to pilot programs and sort of working with customers closely to sort of, do you, are you finding yourself that you're essentially working alongside a customer to build what they need?

Yes. That's a very important part of why we did it this way.

I think if we were to have brought in, you know, 20, 30 different customers and build that, built it in a way where we couldn't pay the amount of attention that we have over the last six months to our pilot clients, we would have had, you know, basically not been able to build with them.

Right. And so what we do is we take a very hands-on approach, text regularly with the clients.

We go out there, you know, we focus specifically on, we're based in New York, so we focus specifically on finding practices that wanted to work us, that were close to us and we could drive there if anything went wrong or just regularly to check in and learn more about them.

You know, nowadays we're really starting to kind of change that a little bit, but the truth is we've really, you know, dug deep into making sure that we're building something that our clients care a lot about and can really move the needle for them.

Sort of a related question is, you know, if you were to ask me to list some of the, some of the spaces that as a startup, it can be tricky to venture into, you know, I would imagine healthcare is pretty high up on the list.

And I know there's everything from, you've got compliance, security, privacy, trust, all really important things.

And I'm glad these are things startups are thinking about, but I'm curious sort of how, how have you approached that?

Are there any speed bumps you've run into that sort of thing?

Yeah. I mean, I feel like we run into speed bumps all the time.

I think one of the things that was important to us early on was, you know, make sure that what we could do is feasible and kind of tie that back to other models that we were seeing in the market, right?

Because, you know, if you have a successful business that is doing things that are along the same lines, we're using similar structures, right?

You can actually know that that's a possibility and know that there's ways to kind of move around certain issues.

Right. And I think I would encourage that if you're getting into healthcare, look at other companies that are really doing well with similar models, use that to kind of draft how you might approach similar problems.

It doesn't have to be in the same space or in the same, it doesn't have to be competitors, but it can be, you know, piecing together.

Oh, you know, these people got through this regulatory compliance issue by, you know, taking this particular strategy and these other people, you know, were able to figure out how to sell that strategy to directly to consumers because of X, Y, and Z.

Right. And so, you know, creating those kind of parallels became really important for us.

And probably, you know, I think about, you know, the process of starting a company, I would say the first six, eight months was just reading everything there is to know about startups in the space, about what people are doing, about what people are not doing and why they might not be doing, why companies have failed and all these little things that can really help you absorb from that past experience as best as you possibly can.

Now, to be honest, you're still going to run into speed bumps here and there.

So, I wouldn't say that that's going to, you know, be smooth sailing if you do that, but, you know, expect them instead of being surprised by them is the really important part too.

Absolutely. Do your homework and don't just read sort of the high-level things that the advice that might apply to arguably any startup or most startups, but really sort of get to know your field well.

So, a question that makes me think of, and this is something that I had the opportunity to ask another founder recently, was how much planning are you doing?

And as you're like looking ahead, say, three years, are you really trying to chart out really specific milestones and thinking through how you're going to get there?

Or do you sort of have a broader vision and it's more almost like improv?

It's sort of like you take it as it comes along and deal with it.

I would say, you know, generally you want to have a broader vision, or at least that's been my philosophy, because there are so many potential things that could completely change the way in which you're approaching the business.

And I'll give you an example that honestly makes a ton of sense now, but when we were doing all this research, we didn't really consider the impact that the COVID vaccine would have on pediatric vaccinations as a whole, right?

And while that might sound really obvious today, you know, we were seeing it as something that would come here and leave, but the reality is it's been much more complicated than we thought it would be.

There's been a lot of roadblocks that that's created, and when I see roadblocks for pediatricians, that means opportunity for us, right?

And so we've created this opportunity for ourselves that I would have said eight months ago probably wasn't our main goal, and yet it's enabled us to be nimble and get in the door with clients that are excited to work with us right away and can help us build more effectively, right?

So I expect that to continue to happen. And so when I think about vision, I think about, you know, what do we want to do as a company?

We want to enable pediatricians to be more independent, run a smoother business, and automate a lot of the things that distract them from being a, you know, from being a child advocate and helping the child grow healthy.

And so that could mean millions of things, and right now it means vaccines and operations, but we see, you know, where could that go?

There's a ton of directions, right? Awesome. You mentioned, so you've got 10 full-time employees and some additional team members.

How are you approaching company culture, right? So I know you started the company in the midst of the pandemic.

The company's based in New York, but we were talking a little bit before we went live.

That's not where you are right now. You want to talk a little bit about sort of what you're up to presently and sort of your broader approach to establishing the company culture.

Yeah, so as you mentioned, a good chunk of our team is remotely based in Argentina, and you know, I recently came down here.

I've been here this week just to spend a little bit of time with the team here, and it's been the first time that I ever met them in person, most of them at least, and it's been really kind of a good time to think about culture.

So I think that's been top of mind in our discussions and in our interactions this week.

You know, we try to tie that back to kind of our core values as a company, right?

And one of the, you know, a couple of things that have been interesting as we see those core values come to fruition as we meet, you know, for example, this morning, one of the things that we hold true to our organization is we want to be, you know, have a spirit of service in everything we do, and we, you know, we are the service of our co-workers.

We are the service of our employees.

We're at the service of society, right? And that's really what we want to create, and you know, this morning, some parts of our team got really excited about donating blood to a small blood donation drive that was happening in the small town in Argentina, about 5,000 people, and so we all went this morning and donated blood, and we made that like a team-building event where we all kind of exercise that spirit of service.

Another thing that's been really exciting also seeing it this week is a couple months ago, we hired two interns that also here in the small town in Argentina that, you know, are learning how to be engineers, but they're not really, they don't really have any experience yet.

They're at university, and you know, here, it's really, really hard to get that first job.

You might be able to get a job later and grow, but it's that first kind of milestone that there are very few opportunities, and so we're, you know, we're looking to build them as engineers and to create them into the kind of engineers that we want them to be, and it, you know, brings back to the culture that we have internally of learning every day, right, and to enable other people to learn all the time as well, especially those who are willing to put in the work, who are willing to, you know, give their all to the mission.

We want to help them grow with us as well.

Awesome. So how are you handling communication, you know, between, you know, some of the team is sort of a long distance between them, and I imagine you're doing Zoom and that kind of thing, but anything that you've encountered or any approaches that have worked particularly well for you?

Um, you know, it's always hard with remote teams, I would say, and it's also hard specifically because we have a bilingual team, right, that a lot of the times is a lot more comfortable with one language over the other, and there are some people who don't know the other language specifically, and so we are looking to brace that culture gap, that language gap, that distance gap in a lot of ways, right.

It's interesting to me that actually meeting has drastically changed how we communicate already, right, and that is something that I would encourage remote teams to do more because, you know, it changes, there's a big difference between a face on the screen and a face that you can touch and you can, you know, in an afternoon, you can go play a pickup game of soccer and, you know, go like walk around in a less populated area, like do a hike or something like that, just really kind of changes the dynamic.

So I think a lot of people are saying, hey, we're fully remote, we never want to see each other, and maybe most people are starting to build these, but I think they become almost like a cost of being remote, right.

You need to bring people together every once in a while where they can interact, where they can learn from each other, where they can truly meet and that's been a game changer for us and this is not the first time we do it, it's the first time we do it with most of the team, but we have done it before, brought a couple of the more senior leaders together and try to kind of develop us that way.

Again, drastically has changed all relationships between people and that's been amazing.

One thing I'd like to come back a little bit more to you as a founder and hear a little bit more about your personal journey.

So you mentioned at sort of the beginning how you kind of got interested in startups.

Looking back, do you see sort of this entrepreneurial streak in your childhood at all?

Was there sort of like a seed that got planted at some point that sort of led to this where you look back and you're like, you know what, maybe that's where I got interested in this sort of thing?

Yeah, I would attribute that to kind of being a broke young kid who didn't have anything to go out and hang out with your friends and like go to any particular cool places or hang out.

And the main thing is I started to find these like side hustles, right?

How do you actually make some money here and there out of being able to work with your team, with your members?

So I would do little things like, for example, I had a school bus that I would take every day and I said, you know what, I'm just going to find my way to school and I'll pocket the school bus money, right?

And every single day that's how I made my money and I started to really kind of generate value for myself.

There were other ways, you know, how do I find ways to sell?

Like, for example, I would sometimes throw parties and I would organize them and I would do these cool things where people would join and that's how I might make some money so that I could actually then go out myself or hang out with my friends and those sort of things.

So, you know, trying to find the little details, you know, I look back to a lot of kind of smaller interactions.

I didn't really have like a core business, I guess, but always trying to find ways to make some money off of, you know, creating value for people and I'm excited to see it, you know, path away to where I am today.

So it's been awesome. That creative scrappiness.

I have to ask, how far was the walk to school if you weren't taking the bus or did you have some other route to get like a friend, you know?

So yeah, I would basically like hustle my friends to pick me up sometimes or like, you know, try to convince my mom if I didn't have anything or sorry, try to convince my friend's moms because my mom definitely didn't.

Try to convince my friend's moms to pick me up and take me there.

Just put in like really sad faces and look cold, you know, that sort of thing.

But yeah, a lot of the times I ended up walking and it was a far walk, maybe 45 minutes, but you know, it's fine.

Was there a point at which your mom found out about your?

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. No, this was totally, this was totally done above table, right?

I'm going to, you don't want to give me any money.

So I'll take this money and I will, get to school myself and I'll get back myself and that's how I'm going to make my money.

Awesome. Well, you know, it sounds like you learned many lessons and got a lot of experience again and that's great.

A lot of sales involved in getting your friends to drive you to school. Absolutely.

And that, you know, that skill set I'm sure is still serving you well. What led you to move to the United States?

Oh, that's interesting. You know, as, as any big thing like that, tons of factors led me there, but I think when I look back to what kind of started this cascade, it's really a single summer when I was about 16 years old and I was spending time with my family.

My older cousin was reading a book.

It was called Freakonomics. It's written by one of her professors at the University of Chicago, Stevie Levitt.

And, you know, one afternoon I just kind of didn't have anything to do.

I stole her book and started reading it. And I didn't put the book down until my family was like, Hey, you're not spending any time with us.

You should put the book down. But I really burned through it. And, you know, what got me excited about it is that before I knew a it's like, Hey, here's how you manage money and things a little bit more basic than that.

But this book presents the field in a way that's more about using data pattern recognition and societal models to understand how society works and using that to improve the human experience.

And that really spoke to me, right?

How can we actually use numbers, concreteness to figure out what can we do to improve people's lives?

And, you know, interestingly enough, I ended up moving to the U.S., going to the University of Chicago.

I went to this professor's class, graduated as an economist, and since then kind of worked my whole career helping companies that are essentially mini economic markets, right, that are helping small businesses match with consumers and help to make more efficient economic markets.

So really it all comes back to that same initial concept of data pattern recognition and to understand societal behaviors.

And that book, I mean, that's really cool that you can point to like, that was the moment that led to this journey.

Someday I'll go back to Steven Levin and I'll tell him, you know, this is not you.

Absolutely. A hundred percent. I think that would be a very gratifying thing for you to do.

Awesome. Well, we've only got about two minutes left. I wanted to ask, you know, there's all kinds of advice swirling around for founders.

And I'm curious if there is any advice you would give yourself when you first started or any advice that you've taken to heart that has really resonated with you that you found, whether it was in a book or a podcast or what have you, is there some sort of lesson that you turned back to as a founder?

Yeah, actually, I would say that if I were to give one piece of advice to a founder, it would be that the risk is way understated.

And this is a psychological or sorry, way overstated. It's a psychological thing that founders or humans do, which is they look at risk and they're risk averse.

And so they don't want to take leaps that they need to take in order to do the things that they want to do.

And the reality is today, at least there's such a flounder, like a great community that has been created around starting companies.

There's so many people that are willing to give their time to just for free to help you do what you need to do because they're excited about your mission, because they're excited about you building your own thing, that you end up creating a kind of a safety cushion for yourself that I think really changes the way you view how risk is perceived in startups.

And I still see a lot of my friends thinking, hey, I want to start this company, but I have all these issues and I have to take care of people and whether it's my family or paying a mortgage, all those things.

And all those things are reasonably doable within the startup space, right?

And all of those things still allow you to push forward and do what you want to do.

So I would say, take that leap, spend the time and the risk is actually going to be a lot less than you thought it was.

All right. Well, on that note, you'll end up somewhere great.

We're almost out of time. Pedro, I want to say thank you so much for joining us.

You're helping doctors provide better care to children.

It's a commendable mission you're on. So thank you again for sharing your insight.

Thank you for having me.

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