3 Day Startup has plenty of successful entrepreneurs that come through the program, but 2015 took the cake. Four past 3DS participants were recognized by FORBES magazine in their annual 30 Under 30 awards. We’re going to spotlight each one of them leading up to our Global Roundup conference in July, learning a little bit about how they navigated their own entrepreneurial journey, and the lessons they learned from their 3DS experience.
Today, we’re featuring Pablo Pantaleoni, the CEO and Founder of MedTep, a company that focuses on disease prevention through monitoring people’s life habits. Pablo’s made 3 Day Startup a family affair since he was first a participant in 2011- even hiring his mother as a recruiter for 3DS weekends organized in Madrid, Vigo, and Barcelona. He recently relocated MedTep from Spain to the Bay Area.
Pablo Pantaleoni got an early start in the teachings of entrepreneurship. His father left the family at a young age, leaving his mother and two little sisters to fend for themselves.
“I learned to learn by myself,” he said.
His first experience in entrepreneurship was at age 14 when he was assigned the job of a referee at a non-profit soccer event. He turned it down but was asked by his teacher how he could bring value to the event.
“I decided to sell sponsorships,” he said. “The first 20 stores turned me down, but when that 21st said yes, it set off a chain that earned us more sponsorship money than ever before.”
His entrepreneurial pursuits didn’t stop there. He dabbled in real estate investment and banking in college, working more than 50 hours a week. From his real estate experience, he had another idea: he wanted to create an easier way for international MBA students to find housing. With a network of friends studying in forty cities and fifteen countries, and he wanted to find a way to help them.
The company expanded to offer internships and language courses and closed agreements with country governments and major universities in Europe. Pablo had scaled the company to the point where in 2011, he had to sell part of it to finish his studies.
That’s when he found 3 Day Startup.
“Universities in Spain are not like ones in the US,” he said. “People are very passive, and there’s no interaction.”
One of his friends saw a 3DS advertisement and asked Pablo if he cared to pitch. Pablo was selected in the first ever 3DS in Barcelona, which happened to be the first time a 3DS program in a European country.
“In three days with 3DS, I learned more than 3 years in business,” Pantoleoni said. “I slept three hours from Friday to Saturday, and four hours from Saturday to Sunday.”
At 3DS, Pablo said, he was able to meet so many mentors that proved valuable to his future pursuits. His 3DS team created Park & Move, which was a similar concept to his prior company.
“My other teammates realized they actually didn’t want to develop the ideas that they had, and I thought I could improve on my former company,” Pantaleoni said.
Some of the concepts he learned at his first 3DS were how to approach the right customers with analytics, how to develop a test market, pricing models, and how to work with engineers.
“The experience was great in terms of analysis. It was the first time I felt like I was going, and going, and going”.
While Park & Move faded after his 3DS experience, a few weeks later Pablo’s friend Jacob, a software engineer, came up with the idea of MedTep. After spending 3-4 months analyzing the potential of the company, they launched it in 2012.
“I applied all of what I learned at 3DS,” Pablo said. “The 3DS principles helped me save time and learn the market quickly.”
After realizing there were lots of competitors in Spain, MedTep applied for RocHealth, a health accelerator. It was there that they found the US could actually be a better market for the company due to its larger health industry.
MedTep also made a pivot; while the company had originally focused on personal health records, they found a gap between what a patient does after a doctor performs a diagnostic and before they receive a prescription. In 2013, Pantaleoni and his co-founder turned more of the focus of the company on big pharma and insurance. In 2015, realizing that digital health was the next frontier in health innovation, and 80% of the business was in the US, the company moved its head office to San Francisco where they’ve been able to take off.
So what advice does Pantaleoni have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Launch your most viable product as soon as possible, he says, and if its right scale “fast, fast, fast”.
It was a concept he learned from his time at 3DS, where he says what you learn in one weekend, “you’ll apply it in the future.” One important thing to remember while you’re there, he says, is not to “give a s*** about your idea.”
“Every week, I take 3-5 calls from young entrepreneurs,” Pantaleoni says. “As an alumni, it’s important to give back – I’m of the belief that if you learn it, you have to return it.”
For those 3DS participants interested in furthering their careers in the health world, Pantaleoni says MedTep does hire 3DS participants.
We wish Pablo the best of luck with MedTep and thank him for his contributions to the 3 Day Startup program!
This is a guest blog post written by Adam Rosenfield. Adam is a writer based in Austin, Texas. He’s written about everything from startups to sports, and from software to science, and some education in between. You can catch him being a stereotypical Austinite, eating BBQ or fervently watching his favorite Dallas and North Texas Mean Green sports teams. Give him a shout on Twitter @adamrosenfield