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Epi 29: How to Use Data to Overcome Obstacles in Business – Jason Velasco, Founder & CEO of Kindato

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JC: Welcome everybody to another episode of the future of biz tech. I am your host, JC Granger. I have with me here, the founder and CEO of Kindato, Jason Velasco. Jason, thank you so much for being on the show. Why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and the company, what you guys do?

Jason: Well, thank you, JC. I really appreciate the opportunity for allowing me to talk with you and looking forward to the conversation. So with Kindato? We are a global technology and advisory practice and we focus on building really through data, right? So we take data and then we figure out the building blocks of that to really gain knowledge and intelligence through that data.

And over that time, we do a lot of advisory work. And we’ll talk a little bit about that, but also at the same time, we also build and have a pretty interesting portfolio of technologies that we’ve built in a very short amount of time. So, but I’d love to take you a little bit on the journey if you don’t mind.

JC: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s see. Let’s hear about the frontrunner of what you guys do. What’s your favorite thing?

Jason: Well, so I come from a practice called electronic discovery. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that. It’s sometimes called E-discovery. And what that primarily is, it’s the process for dealing with data collection, processing review of data in a litigation or regulatory requests portfolio.

So that has been my practice area for the last 20 years. And it’s an interesting practice area because it really touches on a lots of different aspects of an organization’s data points. So you work with technology, people, you’re working with lawyers, you’re working with senior levels of management of people.

You’re dealing with people on the ground who are actually using the data. And so that’s the practice area that I’ve been in for the longest time. And my first company that I started was a company called Renew Data, which is one of the early pioneer companies in the electronic discovery space. And in that area, our secret sauce with Renew data was we could process backup tapes and pull data extract, backup tapes, search data without ever having to have an original tape environment or the tape system or all those types of things.

And so very lucky, right place, right time. We ended up processing all the backup tapes for the Enron bankruptcy case. I mean, tens and tens of thousands of backup tapes, petabytes upon petabytes of redundant information. And our job was to take that information, distill it and filter it. And of course it’s part of that journey was really starting to get into how do you actually manage, how do you, how do you manage, categorize, locate, store, index, disparate types of data, especially on structured data. And that really tied into my, one of my original background, which is around data recovery and computer forensics. I actually spent the early part of my career testifying and doing computer investigations and things like that. So it’s been, it’s an interesting journey.

And over that time, um, you know, I’ve done everything from, I was an industry analyst with the e-discovery space, looking at technologies and evaluating it. And then most recently, the last five years I was in-house with and financial services, helping build e-discovery technology infrastructures for Deutsche bank and FINRA.

And  so I had a lot of exposure, both at the provider side, dealing with data, but also in-house trying to actually build and working with those particular systems. And so one of the things as part of that background is I’ve had my hands in lots of different things. I’ve helped build technology. I’ve done product management, I’ve done project management, I’ve done advisory work, and all of those types of things have really gave me the opportunity to really look at things from a much more holistic perspective. And this is really where Kindato came from. And really the company is just a child of the pandemic at the end of the day. And I was looking at what’s going on in the marketplace. What are people really struggling with it? And I think one of the key areas that you’d like to talk about JC is when I was reviewing, some of your podcasts is around innovation.

And to me, innovation is born of crisis. And as we were talking to people and I was trying to figure out what my next steps were going to be, and I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur again, what I was really trying to struggle with is what’s the need? How are people reacting to it? What are the issues with data?

How are people interacting with data and what are the systems that they’re touching on? I mean, you see the rise of Slack, Teams, Zoom, all of these different disparate data types, data sprawl is all over the place. Right? So what we’ve been trying to do is now try to figure out how to really address that in the marketplace.

JC: So, and what kind of clients do you have right now, or that you’re going after specifically with Kindato, you know, and what would you be doing for them specifically? Like what would that picture look like?

Jason: So we started off as again being Childs of the pandemic, really hanging up our initial sync shingle around, you know, E-discovery information governance.

How do you manage data? Very quickly we started looking at, we were able to bring some clients on, in the academic space, as well as when some financial services clients. And what was interesting is it really wasn’t e-discovery related very much at all. It touched on some of your discovery points, but it really came down to like our academic clients they were struggling with knowledge management. They were dealing with how do we capture all of this internal information that we’ve been gathering for years, decades, right? In terms of both student data, faculty data, administrative data, and then how do we build a culture of knowledge management around that.

And so we’ve been working with them for the last six months and, you know, we’ve continuing to help support them on the advisory side. First and foremost, helping them prop up their own knowledge management program in house, getting them to transition it and bring their own team on board.

And then we slip into an advisory role, but at the same time, starting to build technology workflow behind the scenes to help support that. So that was a very interesting project. We’ve also been working on helping build disaster recovery programs in terms of, you know, clients that, well, how do you actually deal with data redundancy and how do we deal with cybersecurity and, and how do you, you know, cause this is a big issue now.

So how do we prepare for that? And again, our background in data, privacy, data security, data governance really feeds all into those types of things. And one of the more recent things that we’ve done is with all of that background and the fact that we could develop technology. We had a client reach out to us and said, we need help getting shots in the arms.

They are a regional healthcare clinic and they really couldn’t find the right solution to facilitate getting the vaccine out to their population.

JC: Now that’s interesting!

Jason: And so we sat down, we sat down with our technology team. We sat down with the support team. We started looking at, okay, can we build a vaccine management system? Yes, we can, because we have all the platforms.

We know how to build technology. And once we started working with a client, we were actually facilitating getting shots in the arms within three weeks.

JC: See, that’s amazing. And I want to touch more on that actually, because you know, obviously very relevant to the times are going in right now, even though we’re recording this podcast probably a couple of months before it’s going to be available.

You know, we’re still in this for awhile, right? And even, you know, we consider ourselves lucky being in America where, you know, our entire population would probably be vaccinated within the next six months, total, because we’re already about halfway there. But where I think is interesting about your, your technology is in America, we can sometimes have the blinders on. We’re like, all right, our problem solved. Everything’s fine. It’s like, well, no, we’re fine. You still have the whole rest of the world. And there’s a lot of countries that don’t have the same resources we do. They don’t have any of the vaccines out yet.

They’re going to be, you know, because we developed it. So we’re going to get ours first and then we’re going to obviously keep producing them, sending them to other countries so that we don’t know we’ve got to solve all the problems. So it doesn’t come back to us again. So tell me about your plans for Kindato specifically with this vaccine management, because you guys created such a good program within such a small amount of time.

And I imagine it’s only going to keep getting better and more efficient. And since all of these vaccines are multiple doses, which literally makes a problem exponential when it comes to logistics. Right. You know, what are the plans for Kindato? You know, not only in America right now but worldwide, are you going to be approaching, you know, companies in Africa or South America?

You know or Asia, you know, what’s your plans with that? Cause I think that’s a very, I think the audience would love to hear something about that.

Jason: JC You bring up really good solution opportunities like to call it that I’ve been trying to deal with as an entrepreneur, which is okay we’ve built a really cool technology. We’ve got the platform.

We can do a lot of different things with it. In terms of we’ve even looked at building, you know, the blockchain passport system, we’ve looked at doing billing integration into all of those types of things. We’ve, you know, how do we then attach Medicare and the billing and do the analytics behind the piece?

How do we manage support dosage, gather all the social analytics around all of the dose usage. And again, how do you then take that out to the rest of the world? And the problem that I encountered was. You know, we’re a startup and how do we actually handle that? And as I mentioned before, we’ve actually had an interesting portfolio of different technologies.

And what I discovered as an entrepreneur was that they’re all very interrelated. They still use all the same common elements, right? Data analytics, data, privacy, data management workflow, encryption, all of those key pieces that you need to be able to build. Software actually goes across an entire, all the different types of technologies that are out there.

And so what I first started doing was, well, Hey, I’ve got a great technology here. I should, you know, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to build it and become a healthcare technology company. And, you know, I actually built the pitch decks. I went through the whole lean canvas exercise and started working with my entrepreneurial mentors in terms of, can we get investment for this?

And then what do we really want to do with this? And the challenge I had was how do I now look at this, along with other technologies that we’ve developed, because we’ve also developed a learning management platform that’s being deployed in Africa. We’ve got, uh, enterprise level knowledge management and data collection tools within M 365.

And so what’s emerged from that is that when it comes down to a JC, is that. Not only at our advisory practice, but we’re also almost an incubator X technology accelerator. And so we’ve actually have, if you look at our website. We’ve really broken this down into really two key areas: advisory, and then an innovation studio taking all of the common elements that we have to support and develop and launch a technology.

And then bring that to the forefront. We would love to do a lot more with the vaccine management system and we’re planning on doing a few things with it, like immediately in conjunction with our client. Number one, one of the things that are, uh, the client that we’re been working with is they’re looking at expanding into the retail marketplace and to Ivy infusion.

So how do we now tie that into it and, and use that same technology, baseline technology, and then turn it into a retail scheduling management application that they can use and also use for marketing purposes. And then secondarily adding the billing and analytics side of things. How do you add billing codes?

How do you do now? And of course, I think, you know, electronic medical records, I think is a fascinating topic of area. And again, it fits right into our data experience. Right? It’s all about managing financial records for 20 years. So I mean, this to us is just natural and now I’m spending a lot of time working in developing a product management team that’s going to be very experienced in the area so we can launch that out. Quite candidly, JC, I don’t know, in two months when this podcast airs, whether or not the, this technology be spun out, but I’m envisioning this, taking these different technologies and then spinning them off into separate companies and then letting them grow and then using the common elements within the Kindato advisory and technology practice to continue to support those, um, as needed to help really streamline the  entrepreneurial process.

JC: Well, I think it’s great. We know, like you said, that solution opportunities and whatnot, and obviously, you know, anyone who can help with vaccine rollouts and just anything to get us back to normal, faster kind of thing, right? Always has my vote for sure.

Let me ask you a question. So being a startup, you know, how are you getting your name out there? I mean, how are companies finding out about you? I mean, I’m, I’m marketing guy. You know, so all I think all day is marketing. What kind of methods are you using to get Kindato in front of your target audience? And then how is that working so far?

Jason: So as always marketing is such an important aspect of everything, right? So I actually I’m a firm believer in both product marketing, product management marketing strategies, as well as pure marketing in terms of just outreach, social media, things like that. So, Really the first things that I’ve been doing is like, the first thing I did is I launched my own podcast of course, cause everyone has got a podcast.

So I started a podcast called out of curiosity cause I have a pretty curious nature and I like talking to people and we’ve been starting to, you know, just, you know, as people cross my paths, I ask questions, conversations, and it’s interesting to see how that’s evolving over time, but really where I’ve been focusing on has been a lot of just experimenting.

I can only first and foremost, I’ve been, I first tried doing kind of a dialing for dollars code calling methodology with scripted, LinkedIn, cold calling, things like that, discover that really wasn’t how people want to buy advisory services. So part of that goes, okay. So how do we now break into that?

And now I’m really looking at now really taking a very strong look at using public relations using kind of a dedicated product marketing team, end-marketing team to basically start doing much more of that outreach and really aligning it with the sales operations strategy. How do we have, how do we get the most value out of our dollars when it comes to marketing?

And so, you know, we do a lot of outreach. We spend a lot of time just on conversations with people. We do a lot of. Kind of shaking our local network for the most part, I’ve been lucky enough in my career to, and especially in the discovery space, being able to touch a lot of points within general counsel legal technology, that I’ve got a good, solid relationship.

So that’s really where our key sales and marketing effort has gone. But I think now we’re starting to evaluate how do we now take the Kindato brand of this innovation studio and this advisory practice, which is very different. It’s a really interesting marketing opportunity for some, for us to really kind of solve and I’m looking forward to figuring that out over the next year.

JC: Yeah, no, it’s exciting when you’re in those beginning phases, for sure. Right. I mean there’s a lot of stress to it, but you know, having when the whole world opens up to you, you know, your, your brain just is firing on all cylinders of all the possibilities.

But, you know, I remember once upon a time when I started my company, that was, it was very exciting part of it. So that’s pretty cool. Let me ask you a question here. So obviously with, you know, the title of the podcast, The Future of BizTech, I’ll have to ask you first off. Where do you see your industry going? You know, like you had talked about, you know, information, you know, gathering and whatnot, like electronic or whatnot. So where do you see, you know, you and your competitors, you know, just in general, where do you see this in five, 10 years? How do you think it’s going to affect change in industries? You know, where do you see you guys?

Jason: So I see us continuing to truly get deeper into creating solutions, workflow, and support around how do people manage and control and control is a very loose term because you can never have control over it, right? As a self-described data hygienists, I, I, you know, coming from the computer forensics background and I know where my data is for the most part, but it’s really easy.

I mean, you know, we’ve got stuff on One Drive and Google drive and, you know, and, and teams and slack, and, you know, there’s Trello and you’ve got data all over the place. And I think that’s really going to be the opportunity for technology firms to help people really understand it. You know, the technology companies tend to be, you know, we can solve this immediate problem now. You need project management help so we can help organize your project management solution, or we can help figure your collaboration type thing. But what are, what are the underlying data requirements, especially if you think about regulatory environment where they are required to keep communications and records and things like that, how do we manage the privacy of that for the users?

One of my partners, his name is Jason Thompson, he’s based in Switzerland. And so he’s been at the forefront and he was, uh, his background is in really in data privacy and data management. And he’s been at the forefront of GDPR, which is the European data privacy rules and building that he was the director of e-discovery at UBS.

So we have that DNA in our place solving those kinds of problems in terms of how does an organization maintain the data that they need, use it to gather intelligence and support their business to make good risk and profit decisions right? And you could do that with analytics. You can control the data through potentially blockchain.

All those are areas that we’re looking at very closely as we’re expanding into the marketplace. So I think that’s where I think all of our competitors are looking at. And again, I think all of those are common elements that I can apply that to multiple technologies that we’ll be spending out of the innovation studio.

JC: And where do you see your company here in a few years? I mean, you know, is there any kind of, you know, my audience loves hearing about the new things before they drop, right? So do you got any new partnerships coming up? Do you get any new features or technology that we can kind of have a little preview about before it goes live?

Jason: Yeah, sure. I’ll give you a list because we’ve got a really interesting list of things that we’re working on. So one of the areas that we’re working on is in learning management. As I mentioned before, we’ve been blessed to have been working with some academic institutions and my partner, Jason Thompson, as I mentioned before, he’s been very heavily involved in a learning management program called pro Scala, which is basically trying to really add equality to education.

And he’s working with, I think a couple of governments in Africa to be able to deploy and then create solutions to be able to take it to rural areas where there is no electricity. And so those are ways that we could take technology and have a social impact. So that’s one area that we’re focusing on. On the advisory side, we are doing advisory work and learning management, helping build curriculums and controlling the data around that.

But also, you know, with pro Scala, it gives us a platform to be able to take, and not only to private school systems or public-private school systems, but also to government entities that are trying to solve this problem of getting education to the masses across the globe.

JC: With it, a lot of them being remote right now, too, because of COVID and again, we might get out of the woods, but other countries might be, take a lot longer. So it might, my daughter is doing a lot of remote learning is, you know, it’s difficult for kids right now.

Jason: Right. And then, you know, again with curriculums being, so, you know, so, I mean, you know, how do you manage the curriculum? How do you actually keep in track the lessons? And that’s what pro Scala does. It’s a really impressive technology platform that, you know, it’s been again from an entrepreneurial perspective, just, I think it can be game-changing to society as well as, you know, the education platform overall, as I mentioned before, we have our, you know, our vaccine management system, which we’re transitioning into the medical side.

And we talked a little bit about transitioning that into retail, as well as adding, you know the billing and Medicare and as well as electronic medical records management, we’re looking at knowledge management very closely. We think that there’s some really interesting opportunities to help data sprawl because every organization is going to be struggling and especially with Microsoft 365 and Google workspace on those type of solutions.

So we’re looking at some technology pieces around that, and then one technology that we’re really we’re looking to bring online is a really a social media platform for athlete to athlete and coaches. So it’s a really cool technology platform and we’re in some negotiations right now with the founding members to bring that into the innovation studio portfolio.

JC: That’s very cool. Very cool. Let me ask, you know, with your background and business and corporate and data, and obviously, obviously being, again like a forensic scientist with computers, what’s either the best advice you were ever given or the best advice you could give with all your wealth of knowledge to anyone listening.

Jason: Wow. Can we have a topic? Um, there’s been lots of good..

JC: Business-wise yeah. I mean like best piece of business advice that you were ever given, or just the best piece of advice you could give based on your experience, you know for other people who are maybe thinking of doing a tech startup, you know, who might be listening, things like that.

Jason: Well, I spent a quite a bit of time, especially when I was doing the in-house work, really focusing on mindset and mental thought processes to become an entrepreneur again, because I leveraged that time appropriately, not only working with clients directly, but during that timeframe I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur again.

I think one of the best pieces of ice you can give to any technology startup company is you can’t solve everything on day one. You need to be able to pace and I struggle with this every day, yourself, your team.

JC: Instead of..

Jason: Exactly. And really to be a good leader in a technology company or even type of any organization, really the key thing is taking a step back and being able to listen. And absorb the information that people are trying to tell you, and then taking some time to actually digest it before, you know, reaching into the holster and saying, okay, we’re going to do this, right? And that’s something I think is really important.

The other piece of advice that I highly advise people is really around mentorship and community. I would not be able to go on the journey that I’ve been on for really the last five or 10 years and to this where I’m at today as an entrepreneur, without having the guidance mentorship of people, both on with my partners and my peers, but also, you know, looking for entrepreneurial mentorship.

So I work closely with a gentleman by the name of Skip Walter, who was, he founded a data analytics company, you know, 15 years ago that was tangential to the discovery space. And he’s been working with him has been game-changing for me because he, he approached me and gave me ideas of, you know, gave me the idea for what does an innovation studio look like?

Right, we were looking at idea labs and pioneer square ventures, and a lot of these other incubators that are out there, and I was like, well, you know, why can’t we do something similar? You know, and startup mode, right? Do we don’t need to have millions and millions of dollars to be able to throw a technology to prove that it’s there?

We know we’ve proved the model that we’ve already. If you’ve got clients and you’ve already got traction, you can build technology and build it the right way and build valuation out of that. And so that’s something that’s been very important to me. So I think the key piece of advice would be again, take some time and make sure you’re listening, but also reaching out to your community and seeking out mentorship. I think that’s just critical.

JC: Those are great pieces of advices. And, you know, it’s funny. I wish I had someone told me that a long time ago because you know, I’m very a bang bang bang, go, go, go. Right? And only over time did I slowly arduously learn, uh, to take a step back. Slow down a minute, you know, so I’m there now, but, uh, you might’ve been a good mentor for me before it’s too bad we only cross paths

Jason: Well, it’s never too late, JC. It’s never too late.

JC: Yes, that’s true. Listen, thank you so much for being on the show, Jason. How can the audience, uh, reach Kindato? How can they reach you personally, if they have partnership opportunities, uh, what information can you give us?

Jason: So we are always available. I’m very highly networked. I respond to every email and LinkedIn requests that I have. So first and foremost, you can reach us at K-I-N-D-A-T-O again, knowledge and intelligence through data. And that was,  it’s always an interesting journey.

And then of course you can reach me out through LinkedIn. JSNVelasco is my handle on LinkedIn and I spend a lot of time working there and networking and spending time with people. So if you’ve got any questions or feedback, I’m happy to reach out and I’m always available by call or text or, you know, smoke signals if you really need me to.

JC: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show, Jason, look forward to dropping this episode and talking to you again sometime soon.

Thank you, JC. I really appreciate the opportunity to have a great day.

JC: You too. Bye-bye

infinityadminEpi 29: How to Use Data to Overcome Obstacles in Business – Jason Velasco, Founder & CEO of Kindato