- Using AI, Parol is developing an end-to-end technology that records and transcribes doctor-patient conversations in real time, in Romanian and English, thus, taking over the doctors’ burden of dealing with paperwork.
- At a valuation of €5M, the startup completed its first funding round of €450K led by The Mavers Venture Capital Fund and three ex-UiPath angel investors.
- The funds will go into R&D and building the product, recruitment, and later expanding internationally.
What has been done so far
“The closing of the round was just the start. We started the journey, put all the operations in place, established the workflow, hired new people, and worked on the roadmap. Our target now is building the product. So this current round is for building the MVP. We are also focused on sales as pillars to penetrate new markets, and at the same time putting 10-20% of our brains into what will be the next innovation by investing in R&D”, shares one of the founders and CEO of Parol, Claudiu Pândaru, in an interview with The Recursive.
The team of four founders, all with extensive background in journalism, has worked alongside in the past on various projects. One of such projects was establishing the publishing platform Republica.ro, one of the most trusted publishing platforms in Romania.
“… beyond the numbers, what we saw in Parol is the team, one that we believe in, one that we believe will succeed in launching an extraordinary product”, says Alex Boghiu, the CEO of The The Mavers Ventures.
Claudiu explains that the majority of founders have known each other for almost 15 years, have done business together, and have managed to build strong relationships among each other:
“I do believe that one of the most important things about a startup is the founding team. They have to know each other, they have to know how they are reacting. It’s better if they have worked before on different projects, because you know the weak and strong points of everyone in the founding team. And this is very important, because you can accelerate things a lot.”
When asked how he moved from journalism to entrepreneurship, Claudiu shared that entrepreneurship and managerial roles were already familiar notions to him. As a journalist with 23 years of experience, he is used to lead editorial teams of the biggest publishing groups in Romania. Pândaru believes that a journalist, just like a businessperson, spends time establishing a brand in the reader’s mind in order to produce sustainable quality content. In turn, that frees the writer of any ties when tackling the problem, investigating and analyzing it.
The professional skill of listening led Pândaru into hearing out his group of friends, professionals working in the healthcare industry, who once complained to him about the amount of paperwork they have to do instead of being able to do their job and taking care of their patients. After extensive research, the Parol team found out that about two out of eight working hours a day, a medical professional spends doing paperwork and so the idea was born.
“We started last year. We, first of all, wanted to test our idea and see if we had a market fit. We’ve done a lot of research, and spent a lot of time talking to doctors. After that we built a POC and implemented it in one clinic in Bucharest. What we’ve done after is we’ve started talking to investors, mapping the markets, establishing milestones, building the roadmap, and different types of strategies. We tend to work very mathematically. Even though we are a startup and we are enjoying the beginning of the journey, we are putting the pillars to be very strong. Our team view is that when you start to build a company, the foundation has to be strong. And this is what we are doing. We are trying to build a very good company, one where people enjoy working, and one that will expand internationally very quickly.”
The team now is working with an informal board of doctors who helps them in product development.
The Product: Saving time for doctors to have better patient care or even save lives
Parol transcribes the conversation between a medical professional and a patient in real time. At the end of the consultation, when the doctor presses “stop”, the transcript along with the audio recording is saved in a secured cloud, according to the industry standards. Currently, the team is working on implementing the speaker change detector. At the end of the consultation, the technology will provide the summary and autocomplete parts of the medical file. The end-to-end platform works in the browser.
“When talking about AI in healthcare, just like in other industries, the fear is that it will replace doctors. I don’t think that is the case. What we are trying to build is not an AI, but a tool that doctors can use to better listen to their patient, to remember what they talk about, to gain time. At the end of the day, they will be the ones to do the work, and it will be a better work because more time and less burnout mean better patient care and better care for doctors, too.”
The team expects to have the final product to be out in the first quarter of next year. The B2B product will be targeting clinics. The plan is also to continue bringing investors onboard.
So far, the current board of investors, in addition to The Mavers, consists of three ex-UiPath angel investors: Marius Istrate, ex-Chief People Officer, Ana Cinca, ex-VP of Enabling Technologies, Mălina Platon, ex-Managing Director, ASEAN at UiPath. The investors advise the team on talent acquisition, operations and product development, as well as sales and scale up respectively.
Tapping into tech to improve the medical system
At the end of the interview, Claudiu Pândaru shared that in order to improve the health sector in the region and globally, we need cooperation between state and EU policies and funds that will allow more startups to emerge and more entrepreneurs to enter the market.