Podcast Ep 57: The hyper scale 800pc growth of Dublin business LetsGetChecked in the teeth of a pandemic signals the creation of Ireland’s next household name brand. We talk to head of Product & Design Richie Foley.
From a start-up six years ago to one of the fastest growing companies in Ireland, the trajectory of Irish medtech company LetsGetChecked is compelling to watch.
The company, which was founded by CEO Peter Foley in 2015, and recently announced 160 jobs in a move that will bring the company’s global team to 653 employees.
“It goes back to our founding principle: it’s about ensuring that we can bring healthcare into people’s homes and a lot easier than some of the traditional models”
LetsGetChecked tests cover general health, men’s health, women’s health, and sexual health, and are available in Ireland and other European countries, as well as nationwide in the United States. By combining health data and diagnostic results, LetsGetChecked provides rich health insights to enable better healthcare decision making.
Last year LetsGetChecked raised $71m in funding bringing to $113m the amount it has raised so far.
The company experienced significant growth in 2020, with sales increasing by over 800pc year-on-year.
LetsGetChecked has also shipped more than 1m coronavirus tests since the beginning of the pandemic. LetsGetChecked is currently working alongside American Airlines, British Airways, and OneWorld to launch a transatlantic Coronavirus testing trial to demonstrate how testing can re-open travel routes and remove the need for quarantine periods.
The company has opened a new lab in Dublin and has moved into at-home Covid-19 testing, promising a 24-hour turnaround at €129 per test. Building on experience from its CLIA/CAP/BSL II certified high complexity laboratory based in Monrovia, California, the forthcoming Dublin-based lab will be its first owned and operated laboratory in Europe.
Thriving in a scaling environment
Richie Foley joined LetsGetChecked from Ryanair in March 2020, moving at a crucial time, as the company scaled its Covid-19 testing offering and he played a crucial role in developing the at-home testing offering.
“The scale of the growth has probably been the major piece that impressed me,” said Foley. “Peter is an advocate of owning as much of the supply chain as possible. We have our own lab and our own manufacturing. We have our own team of doctors, nurses and owning as much of the supply chain as possible. It’s about scaling all of these various parts of the business to be best placed on many fronts the product.”
Foley’s previous work as head of Product & Design at Ryanair involved mapping out its digital strategy to meet the needs of the business and customers as the company scaled across.
In a strange way his move to LetsGetChecked was prescient because although airlines aren’t flying as many passengers in the teeth of the pandemic, the appetite among consumers and businesses for home-testing is on the rise.
“There are very interesting similarities between Ryanair and LetsGetChecked. The environment at Ryanair with Michael [O’Leary] at the helm is very much almost like a start-up mentality. You work very hard and the business has very big plans for growth.”
Foley experienced the rapid growth of Ryanair into new markets and opening offices and hubs in Poland and Madrid as well as building out the digital experience for passenters.
“I figured that if I could survive in that environment for five years it would do me good stead in any business.”
The question now is whether pandemics are going to be a factor for the rest of our lives. And crucially it appears to have been a case of being in the right place, right time for LetsGetChecked.
“Peter founded the business in a non-Covid time and that’s a very important thing to remember. His vision is about making healthcare more available to people and ultimately bringing it into people’s homes. That’s what the business was founded upon.”
He said that when Covid-19 struck in 2020 the business was well positioned to deal with the crisis. “Ultimately Covid was another diagnostic test that our lab teams created and validated for. Our care team was mobilised to deal with any queries from patients. So we were able to react very quickly.”
Foley stressed that LetsGetChecked is about supporting a variety of health issues and that its future goes well beyond Covid-19.
“It goes back to our founding principle: it’s about ensuring that we can bring healthcare into people’s homes and a lot easier than some of the traditional models.”
Above all, the future of LetsGetChecked is digital and Foley sees significant avenues of opportunity by combing testing with digital technologies like the internet and wearable devices.
“We’re a digital healthcare insights company,” he said, referring to how the company’s labs and network of healthcare professionals can integrate with the data coming from a patient’s Garmin watch or Apple Watch, for example.
“There’s so much more innovation that we’re going after. Because we own the supply chain, we have our own lab, our own R&D departments, we’re well positioned to go after the innovation space.”
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By John Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published: 16 April 2021