Passing the Reins at EnsoData to Double Down on Ourselves
The News: We’re hiring a CEO
What’s faster? A 4×400 relay or 1×1600 race? What’s more exciting to watch? To be part of? Everyone has a different perspective. I think a lot, maybe most, people would say 4×400. Is starting and running a startup company a marathon or a sprint? Many say it’s a marathon. I’m among the founders that challenge that notion. I believe it can be both. These are my thoughts on how to sprint a marathon — when the race is a startup, and the stakes are all in.
Before I get into the meat of it, I’ll start with The News. Bottom line up front, effective November 16th 2022, I am passing the baton as CEO of EnsoData, the company I co-founded with Sam Rusk and Nick Glattard in 2015, to our current President Justin Mortara, PhD. I will continue my work at EnsoData by taking on a new role as the company’s Executive Chairman and its first Chief Research Officer. We’re doubling down.
In Justin’s new role as CEO & President, he will lead the day-to-day operations, growth, and execution across all aspects of our current and future business. In my new role as Executive Chairman & Chief Research Officer, I will continue to support our customers, partners, investors, and board, our growth, engineering, and leadership teams and culture, our work with regulatory bodies, medical societies, and research organizations, and create to achieve our vision. We’re quite bullish on the present.
We started EnsoData with 3 Co-founders and a dream.
In the last 7.5 years I served as our founder CEO, we helped 800,000 patients get a fast, accurate diagnosis with Waveform AI (artificial intelligence), we delighted clinicians in over 500 clinics, we served customers in more than 100 provider organizations, we grew from 3 to 45 full time employees, we raised over $30,000,000 in venture capital funding, we obtained one of the first FDA clearances of AI/ML software in sleep medicine, and we released 25 AI research publications to push the science of sleep forwards. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I’m even more excited about where we’re going.
This marks the beginning of our next chapter at EnsoData. We believe in making this change, we will get more from me, more from Justin, and more from our teams, organization, and company as a whole. What matters most, to all of us, is that we succeed in achieving and realizing our vision, build upon our foundation to take our mission to its furthest, fastest degree, and maximize our impact and capability to make a positive difference in the accessibility, accuracy, and affordability of healthcare.
For those that want a longer read, I’m addressing a few key aspects of the CEO transition below. My hope is that this letter will serve as a public artifact and helpful source of information, and inspiration, for the team, customers, partners, and investors that I love so very dearly, the ranks of my fellow current and future startup founders, our startup community and ecosystem members, and in general, any folks who’ve made their way here to get an inside view behind the EnsoData curtain, by documenting the rationale and thought process I went through to arrive at this decision. Covered are… Why’d we do it? What does it mean for EnsoData? In reflection, what about the last 7.5 years as EnsoData’s founding CEO stands out the most? How does it feel to pass the baton as a founder CEO? Will you choose to optimize for Impact or Autonomy? Why are we excited? A bit on where we’re going. And a testament to my conviction about the future of EnsoData and the role we will play in the evolution of healthcare AI.
In case you don’t read further, with my final words as our outgoing founder CEO, I want to say, with the deepest of gratitude — thank you. Thank you to everyone that’s been a part of my founder journey and our collective adventure, for everything you’ve done. It truly takes a village. The privilege of serving EnsoData as our founder CEO was, by far and away, the most rewarding, exciting, challenging, and truthfully only, career experience that I’ve had in my adult life. It put me to the mettle, tested my emotional resilience, perseverance, grit, and even had me on the ropes at times. It’s been a more fun ride than I could ever possibly imagine, I’ve forged friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime, and I wonder at times if I will ever do anything again that I feel as passionate about — being your founder CEO was an honor that I could and would not trade for anything in the world.
So, thank you again to the early customers that believed in us, when all we had was a vision; thank you to the early investors that bet on us, when the only proof we had was our commitment to give it our best damn shot; thank you always and forever to our current and alumni teammates, for choosing us to join on this mission, I’m humbled by your talent and leadership — you are the reason that I slam my feet on the ground and sprint to my desk every day with a smile; thank you to my friends, family, and loved ones, for being my rock during the most difficult times, and reminding me the light of dawn is always just around the corner; even thank you to the haters, for providing an unexpected source of energy and motivation, which we appreciatively channeled into bringing home the win, and made us stronger at each step; thank you finally to Justin, for the lucky confluence of skills, strengths, and experience at the right time for me to unleash my efforts on my next journey at Enso, and you for yours. I’m excited to see what we will all do together for global health. As for what’s next, keep an eye out for exciting milestones, hires, and more to come soon. Until then, I’ll be sending only Good Vibes. Embrace the Pineapple, always and forever.To read the full piece, head over to my Medium article: We’re hiring a CEO: A Founder’s Thoughts on How to Sprint a Marathon
Chris FernandezP.S. Here is a final photo, highlighting many (but not all) members of our current team, as of October 2022.