Nov 25, 2020
In this episode, I interview
Michelle Gallaher, a Melbourne-based award-winning entrepreneur,
speaker, and advocate for the Australian health technology sector
and for women in science, technology, engineering maths, and
medicine (STEMM). As CEO of Opyl
Ltd (ASX:OPL), a company
working at the intersection of social media, clinical trials,
health data, and artificial intelligence, Michelle is a
sought-after mentor, collaborator, media commentator, and
influencer particularly on the pace of advancement of emerging
digital health technologies.
After 25 years in Biotech, aged
48 in 2014 with a massive mortgage, she bootstrapped a business
focusing on social media and healthcare. Three and a half years
later in 2018, she sold to a listed company that did marketing in
AI for $1 Million. She really wanted to get into the AI space and
so after the sale, she stayed on as general manager and in early
2019, there was a significant strategic shift and the CEO left. She
took over, rewrote the business plan within two weeks, and pivoted
the business within seven months.
The business started with two
full-time employees and currently has six. Their first-year sales
were $311,000 with a profit of $80,000 and the two founders paid
themselves $26,000 each after leaving a $220,000 a year corporate
salary. A year before selling, her business partner got sick and
never returned. Michelle’s father came in once a week for six weeks
to help her with the restructuring and they grew their annual sales
from $500,000 to $700,000 with a profit of just under
She put up her office across the
road from her kids’ school. Michelle recommends growing a business
through collaboration and feels that she has not yet succeeded in
business, but is killing it as a parent. She believes the hardest
thing about growing a small business is cash management and says
that the one thing she would tell herself on day one of starting
out is, “Go hard” Stay tuned to gain from Michelle’s wealth of
small business growth wisdom.
This Cast Covers:
- Solving the problem of recruiting people into
clinical trials and the mining of social media for data that help
inform healthcare strategy and forward development of new products
and services for healthcare organizations.
- Enabling an environment where patients’ voices
are brought into the development of new healthcare technologies and
- Monetizing their work by offering consultancy
services and selling enterprise solutions.
she started the business, sold it three years later, and stayed on
to manage it to date.
intricacies of how artificial intelligence technology works and how
they use it.
- Pivoting from a social media consultancy to an
AI-Based company that facilitates healthcare design, development,
- Leaving a cushy corporate job to bootstrap with
no capital injection at all.
she feels she could have taken on an investor if she had to do it
all over again.
left to run the business solo after her business partner got very
sick and couldn’t help manage the business anymore.
- Selling the business at a million-dollar
- Shifting from a revenue-based business and
pivoting into building out an intellectual property
- Scaling the business by collaborating with a
company in a similar space.
- Building a diverse team and implementing
flexible workplace policies that ensure people enjoy coming to
there yet with success in business but killing it as a
- Success in seeing an idea coming to fruition
and not getting too hung up on the idea of social
articulating what your value proposition is is key to succeeding in
- Leveraging R&D tax incentives and looking
at government grants to raise gainful financing.
wonderful validation that comes from being listed at the ASX and
the challenges that come with it.
- Spending a lot of money to generate revenue and
then selling intellectual property to get investor funding that can
be immediately allocated to more research and
level of expensiveness in terms of both time and money of being a
- Working on improving her skills in talent
management by having more difficult conversations with her team
- Learning not to be affected by people not
believing in her and to think fast to be able to evaluate where the
business is at any one time.
- Meeting Ariane Huffington and learning the
value of sleep and sleep hygiene.
able to make all her decisions herself and fail without anybody
- Shifting from a growth mindset to a
- Consciously building on their culture on a
daily basis and struggling to find some work-life
- Trying not to tie her identity to the success
of her business.
- Spending $100k on her professional development
and how it has improved her strategic and core functional
advantages of having a diverse board of directors.
Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC