Episode 30: A Conversation with Robert Mittendorff and Mudit Garg

In this episode, Byron, Robert and Mudit talk about Qventus, healthcare, machine learning, AGI, consciousness, and medical AI.



Based in Norwest’s Palo Alto office, Robert Mittendorf focuses on investing capital in venture and growth opportunities in the healthcare sector, including digital health and healthcare IT, technology enabled healthcare services, medical devices, diagnostics, and specialty pharma. He currently serves on the boards of iCardiac, Qventus, Silk Road Medical, TigerText, and VisitPay, and is a board observer at Talkspace. Robert is a board certified emergency physician who completed his residency training at Stanford. Robert received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He received his B.S. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University where he played on the soccer team. He has completed fellowships under the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (neuroscience), MIT Sloan School of Management, and Harvard Business School. Mudit Garg serves as the CEO and Founder of analyticsMD, one of the leading prescriptive analytics firm applying a software based “Air Traffic Control” for health systems and hospitals. Aimed at enhancing efficiency, outcomes and experience at the $900 Billion U.S. hospital market and backed by premier investors such as Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, Mudit leads a team of technologists and healthcare operators to build “closed loop” solutions that use machine learning and prescribe actions from real time data to the front line at leading hospitals such as Stanford Children’s Hospital, Sutter Health, El Camino Hospital, and Mercy Health System. Prior to analyticsMD, Mudit co-founded multiple technology companies including Vdopia, one of the largest mobile video advertising platforms and Hive, a group messaging platform. Mudit also spent time in McKinsey & Company’s healthcare practice, helping large providers with organizational transformation in areas such as emergency care and designing growth strategies in the post-reform/value based care world. Mudit has a Masters in Business Administration and Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology.


Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI, brought to you by Gigaom. I’m Byron Reese. Today is a first for Voices in AI, we have two guests. The first one is from Qventus; his name is Mudit Garg. He’s here with Robert Mittendorff, who’s with Norwest Venture Partners, who also serves on Qventus’ board. Mudit Garg is the co-founder and CEO of Qventus, and they are a company that offers artificial-intelligence-based software designed to simplify hospital operations. He’s founded multiple technology companies before Qventus, including Hive, a group messaging platform. He spent two years as a consultant with Seattle-based McKinsey & Company, focusing, I think, on hospital operations.  

Robert, from Norwest Ventures, before he was VP of Marketing and Business Development at Hansen Medical, a publicly traded NASDAQ company. He’s also a board-certified emergency physician who completed his residency training at Stanford. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School, his MBA from Harvard Business School, and he has a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Welcome to the show, gentlemen.

Mudit Gard: Thank you. Good morning. Thank you for having us.

Robert Mittendorff: Thank you, Byron.

Mudit, I’ll start with you. Tell us about Qventus and its mission. Get us all oriented with why we’re here today.

Mudit: Absolutely. The best way to think of Qventus, our customers often describe us like air traffic control. Much like what air traffic control does for airports, where it allows many flights to land, much more than if they were uncoordinated, and much more safely than if they were uncoordinated. We do the same for healthcare and hospitals.

For me—as, kind of, boring and uncool as a world of operations and processes might be—I had a chance to see that firsthand working in hospitals when I was at McKinsey & Company, and really just felt that we were letting all of our clinicians down. If you think about the US healthcare system, we have the best clinicians in the world, we have great therapies, great equipment, but we fail at providing great medicine. Much of that was being held back by the complex operations that surround the delivery of care.

I got really excited about using data and using AI to help support these frontline clinicians in improving the core delivery of care in the operation. Things like, as a patient sitting in an emergency department, you might wonder what’s going on and why you aren’t being taken care of faster. On the flip side, there’s a set of clinicians who are putting in heroic efforts trying to do that, but they are managing so many different variables and processes simultaneously that it’s almost humanly impossible to do that.

So, our system observes and anticipates problems like, it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, it’s really cold outside, Dr. Smith is working, he tends to order more labs, our labs are slow—all these factors that would be hard for someone to keep in front of them all the time. When it realizes we might run out of capacity, three or four hours in advance, they will look and find the bottleneck, and create a discussion on how to fix that. We do things like that at about forty to fifty hospitals across the country, and have seen good outcomes through that. That’s what we do, and that’s been my focus in the application of AI.

And Robert how did you get involved with Qventus?