Lessons I Learnt Going From Surgeon To Startup Founder

Stephanie Eltz, Co-founder and CEO of Doctify, shares her tips and advice on becoming a tech startup founder based on her experience launching Doctify. 

When I started my career as a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, I knew that I wanted to help people. During this time, I became passionate about solving big problems in healthcare through the digital transformation of the industry. So I made the decision to launch Doctify with my friend and fellow surgeon Suman Saha. 

Doctify is a healthcare review platform that is giving patients a voice in order to drive transparency and improvements across healthcare and social care. Launching Doctify and leaving my surgical career was challenging, but the journey has been exciting and it is rewarding to see what we have achieved so far.

For anyone looking to start their own business, here are my tips and advice based on the experience I have gained when moving from surgeon to the startup co-founder of Doctify.

Do it for the right reasons

Before you drastically change your career, think about what is behind your desire to start a business. Whatever it is, know your why and find your motivation to begin your new adventure. 

I always wanted to help people and I knew that through Doctify, I had the opportunity to support many more people across the globe. So, I decided to embrace the challenge to move into healthtech. I’ve made it my mission to ensure that no patient is left unheard and this keeps me driving Doctify forward every day.

My co-founder Suman and I are truly passionate about using technology to bring doctors and patients closer together. Make sure that your motivation gives you enough fuel to leave everything you know and start your new, entrepreneurial adventure.

Don’t be afraid to take the risk

Becoming a CEO of a technology business after having been a doctor has been challenging and had its ups and downs. But you only live once, so why not dare to follow opportunities? 

Starting a business involves taking risks. If you’re confident in your decision, don’t be afraid to take the leap. I spent years studying medicine and working as a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. I moved from Austria to the UK, where I had to build my career from the ground up. It took me almost five years to get the role I already had back in Vienna before relocating. But when the right opportunity came, I knew I had to turn my dream and PowerPoint presentation into reality. 

Needless to say, it was worth taking that risk. Seven years later, Doctify has helped 50 million patients. We partner with nearly 25,000 specialists, hospitals, clinics, and practices. Our platform is available in five countries and our team expanded to over 100 employees across all our markets. I do think that I will return to work as a doctor if Doctify doesn’t need me anymore one day.

Surround yourself with support 

Ensure that you’re launching a business with someone you can trust and who compensates for your weaknesses. I am very fortunate to have co-founded Doctify with Suman, who’s passionate and fascinated by technology. Having opposite strengths enabled us to create a great partnership and grow a successful healthtech company.

As we both come from a medical background, building the right support network around us was also crucial for learning how to run a business.

Various mentorship programmes are available for beginner entrepreneurs to get advice and coaching during acceleration and growth. Spending time with fellow SaaS CEOs and women in tech provided me with the education and support I needed to grow and develop Doctify.

Prepare yourself to face challenges

To be a successful business owner, you need resilience so that you are able to bounce back from the challenges you will face. 

My advice would be to surround yourself with a diverse team of like-minded problem-solvers. And don’t be afraid to have and reach out to your mentors. That way, when challenges do arise, you have a group of people who are proactive in finding solutions and you can take action together.

Focus on your wellbeing

Running a business comes with a lot of pressure, so you need to find a balance between work and life. Most of my fellow entrepreneurs, including myself, are high-energy, and the one thing we manage to carve time out for is sports. I encourage people to get together with me to do yoga and meditation. Every week we work out as a company. It has helped to improve our productivity in the office. Our team loves it!

Looking after your mental and physical health will help you feel and perform better. Don’t worry about going offline and taking care of yourself. 

Celebrate the wins 

Celebrate all your successes. No matter how big or small the milestone is, take the time to appreciate it. Learn how to take a moment to breathe, reflect and enjoy the journey.

Starting your own business is a rollercoaster, but it’s a rewarding experience. If you’re thinking about launching a startup, I have one final piece of advice for you. Just go for it and change the world for the better!

Comments are closed.