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For moms, ultrasound photos are a great way to share images of their growing child as it comes to term. Many radiology practices are happy to let you take home a photo, but due to a soft mandate introduced a decade ago, the release of ultrasound videos to eager moms has been largely exclusive to high-end boutiques. One startup is working to make ultrasound videos accessible to moms and practices at all levels with a new cloud-based viewing and sharing platform called BeBeVu.

With BeBeVu practices have the ability to upload ultrasound videos online so that moms can privately access them later from any computer or mobile device. Using their login information, moms are able to share their videos to social media with BeBeVu’s built in APIs and snap photos of their own.

 

 

We sat down with BeBeVu founder Timothy Kelley, who talked with us about the ultrasound restrictions that led him to build the platform for moms, why you shouldn’t let the wide open revenue field distract you, and some big partnerships on the horizon.

What’s the backstory behind BeBeVu?

I’ve spent over 10 years in radiology recording. Basically we have software that we use to record radiological images in all different types of disease states. As film started to be replaced by CDs as a format of exchange, we developed systems and put them in hospitals and imaging centers for patients to comfortably view after a scan of some sort.

Most of the major healthcare institutions -- even in Chicago, like Northwestern and the University of Chicago -- have our software and quite a few years back a lot of sites were asking us if we could do something about recording and getting ultrasounds to moms.

We first built out a product called The Baby CD, which is a pregnancy education tool that takes moms from conception through the first year, with content providers like March of Dimes and the Discovery Channel, Harvard Press, and a bunch of other groups. Over 300 OB offices use that nationwide to educate their patients.

We spent a couple years building this software for recording ultrasounds and launched this past summer. Our system will automatically record the ultrasound and upload it to our cloud server. The new mom makes an account and can view the modified ultrasound online.

We create a converted version that takes about 90 percent of the integrity of the image out, which makes it perfect for viewing on computers and iPads and cellphones, but it is not considered suitable for diagnostic review. You’re giving the moms what they want and you avoid the liability issues that have been associated with ultrasounds beginning 10 years ago.

 

 

Where this is really a disruptive technology is that currently, because of the soft mandates that restricts doctors from handing out these videos anymore, the boutique ultrasound business was born. One out of four moms goes and pays anywhere from 200 to 400 dollars for a single visit in what is basically an ultrasound store to get the video of their baby’s ultrasound. Our technology allows standard practices to compete.

Currently over 300 practices have signed up to receive this service; we’re installing one to two almost every week and that’s just going to snowball.

When did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I’d say while I was in college. I went to Northwestern and a lot of teachers were entrepreneurs and growing up in Barrington there are a lot of entrepreneurs in this town. Talking to people in the community and business owners really planted the seeds to become an entrepreneur.

Who are some people that inspire you?

There’s been quite a few. When I was much younger Dick Stephenson was a major influence. He’s the founder of American Cancer Treatment Centers. Just watching him grow his business had a lot of influence.

More recently I’d say Andrew Mason. The story of Groupon is a great story. Even though they’ve had some issues in the past year, it’s still a phenomenal concept and they’ve had phenomenal growth.

My father was a business owner and he’s had a couple of different businesses, from real estate to being an engineer with multiple patents. The innovative side, I think, comes from him and always looking to build a better mousetrap, so to speak.

What was the first job you ever had?

I started off in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and eventually became a chef at the same restaurant. That was owned by a single business owner as well -- it wasn’t a chain. I worked for a couple of different restaurants after that.

In college I ended up getting the opportunity to start working on marketing in pharmacy benefit management when that whole industry was just starting. Now PBMs are kind of a standard of care in the marketplace but back then having a prescription card, in 1990, was a newer concept.

What keeps you motivated throughout the workday?

The main thing that keeps me and the employees motivated is that we truly believe that we’re really providing a great service at a great price that ultimately helps people and creates better outcomes.

When you’re talking about medical there’s a lot of focus on better outcomes and one of the things that BeBeVu does -- and one of the reasons why March of Dimes has partnered with us, is that it’s been proven that moms who view videos of their ultrasound carry babies to longer term, which is their primary mission. Babies carried to full term are invariably healthier babies.

What advice would you give to any beginning entrepreneurs out there?

What happens in every business is that you can see all the different opportunities of where you may be able to make some revenue -- you can see all different channels and different ways so it’s very easy to get distracted and try to chase some other new stream of revenue.

My advice would be to stay highly focused on one stream of revenue, produce that revenue, and once you’ve done that then you can look at other opportunities. First master your initial stream of revenue.

What does 2013 have in store for BeBeVu?

We’re currently speaking with Meredith Corporation about a partnership. Meredith owns most of the baby magazines, including American Baby, which is the biggest magazine out there. They are looking for new ways to communicate to moms with the support of the healthcare provider, new innovations that can do that, and after meeting with us they felt the same way we do.

We’re trying to connect emotionally to a mom and get the support of healthcare providers. There’s no better tool than this available, there’s nothing else like it. Moms really spend a lot and go through a lot of effort to get these videos and they see a way to give this away to moms for free, if sponsors come onboard like Huggies and Pampers, to also connect with those moms.

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