daniel yeboa ellerca health

Episode 5 – Empowering Patients Through Integrated Digital Therapeutics with Ellerca Health

Daniel Yeboa Ellerca Health Startups Transformed Episode 5 1 1024x462, Altitude Accelerator

Daniel Yeboah is a 2X founder, nurse of 10+ years, and is helping people living with diabetes with his integrated digital solution through Ellerca Health. With their new 360Care app for diabetes and other digital therapeutics under development, Ellerca Health is transforming patient care to achieve better results.

About Ellerca Health and Founder Daniel Yeboah

Daniel Yeboah has been a nurse for just over ten years. Throughout his career, he’s had the opportunity to look at how health care is delivered from the provider, patient, and payer side. Also as an individual of African descent, diabetes runs within his family. He watched his uncle’s diabetes progress throughout his lifetime and it ultimately resulted in his uncle’s passing. This personal story, combined with Daniel’s experience as a nurse, was the motivation he needed to jumpstart Ellerca Health.

Daniel went full-time into the business at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Since then, Ellerca Health launched the 360Care mobile app to deliver holistic care to those living with diabetes. They’ve recently partnered with Roche Diabetes Care to integrate 360Care with the Accu-Chek Guide. This allows an individual with an Accu-Chek Guide to pair their device to 360Care and synchronize their blood sugar data to the app. It’s a solution that is empowering individuals to better manage their health.

When asked about the future of health care, Daniel responded, “Digital health is here to stay. Behavioural health is here to stay. Having sessions in a virtual format, is here to stay. And these are conversations that we were trying to have two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, and the system itself would just not adjust, wasn’t open to it. But the pandemic really accelerated how we look at and how we deliver health care.”

Learn more about Ellerca Health on their website.

About Host Patrick McGuire

Patrick is a creative entrepreneur, team leader, and Altitude Accelerator board member who has focused on the sales and success of companies including: HR tech, fintech, sports tech, Software-as-a-Service, cannabis (CBD / THC), nutrition, health and wellness, fitness corporations, and business of all sizes with a love for helping business grow and scale from $500k to north of $50m. With an entrepreneurial mindset focused on team-building, his ethical leadership delivers win-win solutions for his companies and clients.

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Patrick McGuire (00:00)
Hey, it’s Patrick. Before we start at the time of this recording, we went through a bit of a name rebranding from RIC Centre to Altitude Accelerator. With that in mind, we hope you enjoy the following interview. Welcome to the Startups Transformed Podcast. I’m Patrick McGuire, your host, board member and advisor at Altitude Accelerator, where we help startups scale to new heights. We chat with phenomenal tech business leaders who’ve climbed their way to success within their industry. Our guests delve deep into the lessons they’ve learned along the way so that you can get a head start on your next big idea.

Patrick McGuire (00:44)
People are actually starting to care more about other people, their general health, health of the medical and corporate level, as well as their personal health, health of other people. And we’ve got some interesting things going on and young man, gentleman, that I’m going to chat with today that’s coming to us from RIC Centre and from other places, of course. Doing great things, making a difference in the health tech category. So I’m just going to quickly say Hello to Daniel. And Daniel thanks so much for joining us on this.

Daniel Yeboah (01:10)
Hello, Patrick. Thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here.

Patrick McGuire (01:13)
Awesome. Thank you. So for anyone that doesn’t know, Daniel is with Ellerca Health Corp. and doing great things with that. One of the neat things is that I would say their description really tells you that they got 360 care, provides health coaching and support that enables individuals living with disabilities, diabetes, effective management of their health. And using 360 care conveniently through a mobile device, you’ll have access to a team of health navigators, nurses, dietitians, diabetes educators, psychologists, social workers, and more dedicated to supporting you through a personalized health plan.

Patrick McGuire (01:47)
Now, Daniel, I know that’s the corporate byline and I read it right from the site. But tell us, what does that really mean and what’s going on?

Daniel Yeboah (01:55)
Great question, Pat. To put it very simply, it is digital health coaching. So think about a diabetes clinic in your pocket. And so it is an ecosystem where you get a mobile app. It’s an app that we’ve developed. And inside that app, it allows you to connect to nurses, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, essentially your own personalised digital health team that helps guide you along the way in terms of managing your diabetes.

Patrick McGuire (02:26)
Holy cow, that is super cool. And you got a personal health coach in your pocket. What made you think of this and why diabetes?

Daniel Yeboah (02:38)
I’ve been a nurse for just over ten years now, and one of the things is the company actually started from a personal story. As an individual of African descent, diabetes does run within my family. And I had an uncle that was dealing with diabetes, and I watched my uncle progress throughout his lifetime. In terms of how he managed diabetes, I looked at what supports that he had, what he didn’t have, what were some of the things that motivated him and didn’t motivate him. Unfortunately, it led to him having some diabetes complications with an amputation and ultimately his passing.

Daniel Yeboah (03:14)
So for me, it was really around what are some of the things that I could do to fill in that gap to provide with individuals with the supports that they needed in terms of managing their diabetes.

Patrick McGuire (03:25)
I mean, that hits home. It’s a personal touch with a very personal story behind it and using technology to help others to basically avoid the problem is, what I’m hearing is that kind of right?

Daniel Yeboah (03:36)
Yeah. Absolutely. That’s it.

Patrick McGuire (03:39)
Yeah. That’s amazing. And I love the fact that you actually don’t just come up with an idea because you had a personal family member, but you’re like, yeah, I might have a propensity for a problem, too. And, oh, by the way, I’ve been a nurse for over ten years, so I know this game inside and out, and I’m going to do something about it. That’s fantastic. Daniel.

Daniel Yeboah (03:57)
Yeah one of the things was in nursing. I’ve had really an opportunity to look at health care, how it’s delivered, how it’s delivered from the provider side, how it’s delivered on the patient side, and how it’s delivered on the payer side. And throughout that entire experience, I’ve really noticed that there are a lot of gaps and really having those one on one conversations with individuals was they don’t want to be reminded that they’re sick, but at the core is they needed support. They needed guidance. They needed that accountability partner.

Daniel Yeboah (04:34)
They needed someone that gave them that push, not every day, but once in a while, someone that gave them that nudge a little here and a little bit there that was really the whole purpose about it is let’s partner with you, let’s work together to help you get to where you as an individual want to get to.

Patrick McGuire (04:54)
I like the fact that you said they don’t want to be reminded that they have an illness or a disease or a problem.

Patrick McGuire (05:00)
They just want to be treated in a way that’s good for them. Exactly. And I personally know this because I deal with a lot of high end athletes, personal friends of mine in my sports tech category that I work with. And there’s a lot of high profile people with type one diabetes. Yes. And playing pro these days. It’s awesome how we can use knowledge and technology, which you’re doing to help people accomplish whatever they want and not think about the disease, as you would call it.

Daniel Yeboah (05:29)
Yeah and talk about individuals living with type one diabetes, and so type one and type two, they’re treated very differently. And in the case of type one, one of the things that we have within our platform is we’re both monitoring, so we’re able to look at how that individual is trending. If they’re trending up, if they’re trending down and make those interventions along the way, it’s really important to look at how can we leverage technology to not tell an individual what to do. But partner because it’s really about meeting the individual where they’re at along their health journey.

Daniel Yeboah (06:03)
And so someone who, for example, might be newly diagnosed and someone who’s been living with the condition for five years and someone who has been living with the condition for ten years all have different needs. They have needs, but all their needs are different. It’s really important that when speaking to that individual, you don’t come to them with a cookie cutter approach, but it’s a customized approach, a customized solution that fits that individual at exactly the point where they are in their health journey.

Patrick McGuire (06:32)
It’s pretty cool that you can tailor that approach and the words you use. And for anyone out there, partner. I think that’s great because we could use it from the startups world. We have partners in our startups. We have partners in our business, we have partners in our funding, we have partners in our marketing. We have partners all over. But not many people think of the end user, the customer, the client as our partner. And nor are they willing to say that we want to partner with you to provide you with a solution.

Patrick McGuire (06:57)
I think it adds that personal touch that you’re trying to give them. It’s not just and if we’re on screen, I’d hold up my mobile device, but it’s not just a piece of hardware. It’s something more. There’s some people behind that hardware and that’s cool. How do you engage and monitor this stuff? I mean, yeah, it’s on their phone. But what’s the monitoring and how do you provide them some ideas and solutions and recommendations?

Daniel Yeboah (07:19)
Yeah so it’s an app that they have on their phone. And then we also have a Glucometer. And so we’ve recently partnered with Roche Diabetes Care here in Canada, where we’ve integrated our mobile app with the Accu-Chek Guide. And so an individual with an Accu-Chek Guide just goes ahead, pairs their device to the mobile app, and then anytime that they check their blood sugar, it synchronises that data straight into the app and then straight to our data centres. And so our health care providers do have that opportunity to look.

Daniel Yeboah (07:49)
And that’s why we called our app 360 care, is you get that 360 care view of that individual. You can also do that with blood pressure monitoring and also their scale. We have integrations with Fitbit, Apple Health, and also Google Fit. Again so we can look at how many steps that individual’s taking. We can look at your sleep patterns. So we can really provide that individual with a real true holistic view of how they’re doing and have conversations to them that are really relevant.

Patrick McGuire (08:18)
Like those little nuggets you’re dropping like, yeah, we can work with your Fitbit. You say it like it’s no big deal. Yes. We’re working with your blood pressure and Google and all the apps that are like, these are huge integrations. And it really is the partners of your partners giving you more data so you can truly partner with your clients more personally. Your announcement about Roche. I mean, that was pretty recent. Tell me about it.

Daniel Yeboah (08:41)
Yeah, you know Pat we’re really excited about the partnership with Roche that came about after several months of back and forth and conversations. What was really exciting is that there was an alignment that both of our organisations do have a keen interest in diabetes. And we’re looking to put together a solution that was innovative in the Canadian marketplace. And so we came up with a solution that we would call the Accu-Chek Plus 360 Care, whereby an individual does have the Accu-Chek Guide metre in tandem with the 360 Care app put together that provides health coaching to individuals.

Daniel Yeboah (09:15)
And so with that partnership, we also partnered with Medavie Blue Cross, which is, I believe, the 6th largest insurer in Canada for health benefits. And we came up with a solution that we provide to their plan members, where we offer diabetes health coaching to individuals that want to sign up with us. And so exciting partnership. And I think it’s again, something that’s really innovative here in the Canadian marketplace.

Patrick McGuire (09:41)
Yeah. And those aren’t small names that you’re dropping out there. Those are big players with serious attitudes and serious results and lots of people. I count on them. So those people trust those players, Roche and Medavie. But all the big guys that are out there are going to want to work with you guys one day. And this is just a start. I’m so excited for you. And if they trust them, then they must trust you. And vice versa. Exciting stuff. When did you guys found this company? And we know why, but when.

Daniel Yeboah (10:09)
if you talk about when it was incorporated, we incorporated in 2018. I’m still working a full time job in industry and just sort of kicking around a bunch of ideas. But it was January of 2020, and I decided that I wanted to focus. I wanted to do something special. And I left my job, took a couple of weeks off and came back and said, you know what? I want to do this thing called 360 care. I want to do this thing as a full time opportunity. And then something called COVID, right.

Daniel Yeboah (10:41)
And you sort of ask myself that I make the biggest mistake of my life because I had no idea of this thing called COVID. And surprisingly enough, is COVID actually created so much opportunities for everyone. And you’ve seen a lot of innovations. And for me, it’s really exciting to say I left my job, which is a really secure, great job. But then I was able to create a really exciting opportunity during a pandemic. I think that’s probably the thing that I’m most proud of is I started a company during a pandemic.

Patrick McGuire (11:18)
All right, folks, I’m going to call that one out. The guy started a company in a pandemic, and his perseverance paid off. So we’re super proud of you, Daniel. You’ve just been plugging away and crushing it and making big things happen. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, I know the story. I know his mental attitude, there was no fallback plan. He cut away, he ran, and he said, I’m doing this without question, without hesitation. COVID made you a little nervous, but really proud of what you’re doing and how you’re accomplishing it.

Patrick McGuire (11:46)
And just that you’re committed to just pushing forward. So the question I have, though, is not everything’s perfect. I mean, I know COVID, you already mentioned that was a little hiccup in the blip on the radar. But tell me about some challenges you’ve had. I’m curious in that because entrepreneurs and startups, they need to know that it’s not all golden roses out there.

Daniel Yeboah (12:08)
Yeah you know what I think when it comes to entrepreneurship, one of the biggest things I’d say is taking on or stepping into the world of an unknown, right.

Daniel Yeboah (12:18)
And so when you leave that nine to five, it’s a regular paycheck that you get every single two weeks, and then you move to a place where there’s absolutely no paycheck, right.

Daniel Yeboah (12:29)
And so one of the things that we’ve always talked about is make sure that you have something in the bank. And again, my wife raised her concerns of, oh, my gosh, what are you doing? Are you sure about this? Are you sure about this? But throughout the entire process, she’s been really supportive. It’s really learning how to balance family, risk that you’re taking and making sure that the individuals around you truly understand what you’re getting into. And when it comes to the business side challenges, it’s learning how to and understanding how to build a team.

Daniel Yeboah (13:02)
One of the things that you learn very early on is building that solid team that supports you because you don’t know everything. One of the things that I like to do is hire really smart people because I’m not so smart. And so if I get some of the smartest people in the room, the smartest people in the room, they can let me know. This is what’s happening. This is what I need to do. This is what I should do. This is what we could do. They provide me a lot of data.

Daniel Yeboah (13:30)
And so I can make better decisions based on the data inputs that they’re giving me. And then along the way, there’s hiring decisions. There’s firing decisions, there’s how do you grow the organisation? How do you fund the organisation? And throughout all of those stages, there’s ups and downs and the challenges and the frustrations that you will run into. But I think more than ever it’s being focused and understanding that this is what the big picture is. Understanding that you need to play the long game. And if you’re prepared to play that long game again, I believe that you will be successful.

Patrick McGuire (14:03)
Yeah absolutely. Perseverance, playing the long game, hiring the right people for the right spots and listening to them because there’s a lot of us when we hire phenomenal talent and we just don’t listen. We tell them what to do, which is just dumb waste of money.

Daniel Yeboah (14:17)
Yeah. Absolutely.

Patrick McGuire (14:19)
So that’s great that you’ve done that. I’m glad you recognised your pros and your cons personally, but also looking at the pros and strengths and weaknesses of those around you. And I think it’s Einstein that said, I stand on the shoulders of Giants before me, and that’s a smart play, buddy.

Daniel Yeboah (14:35)
Yeah, no, I appreciate it. It’s been really exciting because I’ve been looking at just other organisations that are in the healthcare space. One of the things that I think this pandemic has done is it’s created such huge opportunities in health care. One of the things I always say is that the last two frontiers for change was health care and education. And in the last 365 days, we’ve seen so much transformation in health care and in education. And I think these transformations that we’ve seen, they’re here to stay.

Daniel Yeboah (15:15)
Digital health is here to stay. Behavioural health is here to stay. Having sessions in a virtual format, they’re here to stay. And these are conversations that we were trying to have two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, and the system itself would just not adjust, wasn’t open to it. But the pandemic really accelerated how we look at healthcare and how we deliver health care.

Patrick McGuire (15:39)
Isn’t that so cool? One of the worst things is being locked down. And yet in entrepreneurship and health tech, it’s also one of the best things that has happened, especially for business like yours. So let me look at something here. You’ve struggled, you’ve succeeded, you’re still pushing along. You’re having a great time working your business, helping others and partnering with their health. If you were to go back and start this whole thing over again. And luckily, it’s only been a couple of years. But to the younger Daniel about entrepreneurship or what would you tell or warn Daniel about?

Daniel Yeboah (16:15)
You know what? Be a lot more in tune with some of the things that are going around you as the individual. Listen more to individuals, listen to our users. One of the mistakes that I can say that we did is we waited a little bit longer to listen to users than we should have. We should have listened to users right away. And I’ll share a quick story is when we were building our product, we had built our product to about 80%, and then we went back to users.

Daniel Yeboah (16:46)
We ran a whole bunch of user surveys and forums. And one of the questions that we asked them was if you were the product manager of 360 Care and you’re building out the solution, what would you build? And we asked individuals that were living with diabetes. And they literally said, okay, the app has to have this, this on it. We want it to be like this. And it was like, wait a second. I should have done this eight months ago, right.

Daniel Yeboah (17:14)
And had I done that eight months ago, we would have been much further along, right.

Daniel Yeboah (17:19)
And so that’s the one thing that I would tell the younger Daniel, and that’s the one thing that was sure with every single entrepreneur that’s looking to build something is literally before you spend a penny on a line of code, a single developer, go out and talk to users first. Let them build it for you because they’re the ones that are going to be using it before you actually spend money on developers. I spent a lot of money on developers when I didn’t have to.

Patrick McGuire (17:49)
Right. So folks, remember that. Ask questions early. Listen, get advice and then execute. Absolutely. I think that’s pretty safe advice, Daniel, but a quick question I have for you. I want to know if you were given the chance to do this all over again, to be an entrepreneur, would you do it?

Daniel Yeboah (18:11)
I would say absolutely. 100%. I’d do it all over again.

Patrick McGuire (18:16)
Fantastic. There we go, folks. He would do it again. Now, obviously, this is a Startups Transformed podcast. You’ve gone from being a nurse to an idea to helping family members to helping others. And you would do it all over again. But you would listen to people earlier. I think it’s fantastic advice. I will just say, thank you so much for helping people living with diabetes, helping for partnering with their health, and helping for being a great tech entrepreneur with a passion. So, Daniel, thank you so much for joining us today.

Patrick McGuire (18:46)
And thank you for the opportunity to learn more about your business and maybe just shed a little bit of light for other entrepreneurs and maybe those living with diabetes. That said, how do people get in touch with you guys?

Daniel Yeboah (18:58)
It’s really simple. You can visit us at ellercahealth.com or you could also visit us at 360care.ca. Those are two sites where it’s really super easy to get a hold of us.

Patrick McGuire (19:12)
Great. For Startups Transformed. For the RIC Centre for the Startups Transformed podcast, I’m Patrick McGuire with a great guy from Ellerca Health. Daniel, thank you so much. Have a great day and continue growing that business and helping people with diabetes.

Daniel Yeboah (19:26)
Thank you so much, Patrick. It was an absolute pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for the invite. I hope to see you again soon.

Patrick McGuire (19:34)
Thank you for joining us on Startups Transformed Podcast. You can subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed the conversation, a rating or review goes a long way. Recommend the show to a friend. Find us at our altitudeaccelerator.com where we can help you begin your startup journey with access to our workshops, advisors and mentorship opportunities. Be sure to tune in for our next episode.