Adrian Aoun’s story is a tapestry of entrepreneurship, innovation, and a profound commitment to addressing critical issues. As he navigates the intersection of technology and healthcare, his journey serves as an inspiration for those daring to dream beyond the confines of the present.
Adrian’s innovative AI-driven company, Forward, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Samsung Next, and Softbank.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Adrian Aoun warns potential founders that the stress of entrepreneurship can jeopardize one’s sleep, urging careful consideration before embarking on this challenging journey.
- Adrian envisions a future where human life extends well beyond current limits, drawing inspiration from the exponential progress in transportation over the centuries.
- Despite rapid advancements in transportation, Adrian laments the slow progress in healthcare and positions Forward as a catalyst, aiming to provide the tools for swift iteration and innovation.
- Adrian draws parallels to historical tools like those from the Industrial Revolution, emphasizing the need for similar transformative tools in healthcare to expedite progress.
- Forward aims to bridge the gap between idea and implementation, envisioning a world where diseases are eradicated, and human life surpasses current expectations.
- Adrian’s ambitious goal is not merely to extend life but to eradicate diseases, challenging the status quo in healthcare and pushing for a future of unprecedented longevity.
- Adrian advises aspiring entrepreneurs to fall in love with problems rather than solutions, citing the enduring success of companies like Google that tackle significant issues over time.
For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).
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About Adrian Aoun:
Founder and CEO Adrian Aoun aims to redefine the healthcare system by combining world-class private doctors with new technology to enable proactive, data-driven primary care.
Prior to founding Forward, Adrian was the head of Special Projects for the CEO of Google/Alphabet, where he founded one of the Alphabet companies, Sidewalk Labs.
Adrian arrived at Google upon the acquisition of his previous startup, Wavii, and spent his first year at Google helping to create and build their AI division.
Additionally, Adrian is an active angel investor and advisor to a number of technology startups and funds.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Adrian Aoun: Um, your resources some essential.
Alejandro Cremades: Sorry I felt I thought that was hilarious. We’ll definitely cut that off all righty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmaker show. So do today we have an amazing guest. You know we have a guest you know where we’re gonna be talking a lot about building scaling. You know, financing all the good stuff. You know we’re gonna be talking about. Choosing the problems to work on also going from you know, really a vague statement to something that has an ah interesting execution as well as you know lessons learn you know from the people that you know you work with I mean in this case, our guest. He had the privilege of working with people of the caliber of Bill Gates Larry Page Eric Schmidt you know Microsoft the Google or alphabet and then also about the lessons you know, learned along the way whether he was on a bigger company or on a smaller company because he’s done it now 3 times you know 3 times where he has been the founder and now. He going to be talking to us about his rocket ship. So without further ado Adrian own welcome to the show.
Adrian Aoun: Not at all thanks for having me been a been a big fan of what you’re up to over here. So I feel like you know longtime listener first time caller over here but happy to be on.
Alejandro Cremades: Thank you so much a and min a lot. So let’s do a little of a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up because it was a combination between Paris and then also the us.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, so let me tell you first off Paris is amazing I still remember the croissants like it was yesterday. But you know we moved to the us when I was pretty young and I want you to picture like you know I’ve got parents who at the time barely spoke english I my first language was french so. You know I’m growing up in in Los Angeles with this like thick french accent I mean to the point where like I couldn’t say or even hear the difference between three free and shre. They all came out fweefu which I know sounds really cute until you realize like. Wait a minute you’re in a school where everybody else speaks english perfectly and so you’re just going to be the made fun of kid so at the time if I’m going to be totally candidate. It’s pretty fucking miserable right? It was awful like like who wants to be the the like frenchy growing up in l a so I did everything I could to to ditch my accent like worked super hard when I put my mind to something usually I accomplish it. Now I look back and I’m like what the hell were you thinking that accent is gold like you’re you’re lucky my friend to still ah to still have yours but ah, but look part of that is what made me who I am like 1 of the things is when ah when you’re maybe not the person who’s like hanging out in the popular kid. What do you do? well. You you start playing around with your various toys and 1 of the toys that I played around with was called a computer and I realized wow computers aren’t mean to me the way other kids are and so I just started getting super super into them from a young age and so I think to some extent maybe I got ah maybe I got lucky. Maybe it pushed me on the path that I’m on today you know.
Alejandro Cremades: And even before going to college you were already starting your first business. So but what? what? what did you do first you know I was at first the company.
Adrian Aoun: You know when you start a company when you’re 13 it’s a joke and no one takes it seriously but they’re not willing to tell you to your face. So I so I I think I went to like the local write aid and got business cards printed out in one of those little machines and everything but the computer. Ah, the sorry the company started by just making websites like nothing interesting like there are a bunch of people who wanted websites I kind of enjoyed making them so you know whatever I made websites and I ended up partnering with actually a couple a couple folks were much older than me they were in their thirty s while I was 13 right. And over time we realized that like making websites for other people is is maybe a little of an interesting business. But then what’s a more interesting business is just making online software and that’s what we did. We ended up building a bunch of tools. Things that that really got some good scale. 1 was hey I want to sell my home online fine. We’d give you you know 5 five five madisonstreet dot com one was a suite of tools for schools k through 12 schools to be able to do things like manage calendars manage field trips. You know manage schedules turn in homework. All that sort of stuff online. Now these sorts of things are kind of standard in society but you got to remember back then none of these things had been created. The internet was still pretty new over time what we realized is software was more scalable but actually the most scalable thing at that point in time was actually just hosting websites right? running the infrastructure building the data center. So so we ended up kind of moving to that and the company.
Adrian Aoun: Game Became pretty real when I was in college and we ended up kind of selling it selling it after college and and so a lot of my kind of ah you know when everybody’s in college having their fun experiences for me. It was like ya you go to the party I’m gonna go to work right now and and get stuff done. But the time that felt like a really good idea in retrospect I’m like wait a minute you could have been having fun. What are you talking about? you know? Ah, but as they say sometimes they grow up too fast right.
Alejandro Cremades: So you started. You know the company that you do computer science and then after that you know you sold the business and you eventually joined Microsoft I mean that’s kind of like a very strange transition because you know once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur. So. Why going into corporate. Well.
Adrian Aoun: Well you you probably should have told me that before I went to Microsoft because I promised myself I’d be there at least a year and I’m proud to say I made it to at least eleven months um so you’re right? It was a very tough experience honestly I didn’t really know what I wanted to do I a little like. Kind of was spinning for a little while so you know I’ll kind of give you maybe a way to think about a way to think about things which is at at that point in time the head of Microsoft Research was a guy that ah that was good friends with my family and so you know. I was like oh well, this guy keeps telling me to come work here. I don’t know what else to do so maybe I’ll ah maybe I’ll go work there and the thing that was interesting for me was I had never seen the inside of a big behemoth tech company I mean Microsoft at the time was like they were the £800 gorilla they were the people that produced all these things and I kind of just wanted to see like. What was it like to actually make things at that level of scale and I’ll say that that year at Microsoft was one of the most informative years of my life because it showed me how how things end and if you want to build things from scratch. You kind of have to know what the end of the story looks like. But saying I agree with how they do everything over there but it started to give me a language in a frame of reference. So from that perspective super educational and from the perspective of having impact how the hell do you have impacted a company where your employee 100000 something or other so as you can imagine I didn’t last very long.
Alejandro Cremades: And you did cross paths with the bill gates. For example there. So how was it? How was that experience like.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah I mean honestly, ah to this day still one of the people who who I admire the most in the field of tech. Um I mean the thing that bill was just incredibly incredibly good at is having frameworks this was the first time my life where somebody started to give me frameworks for how to think about things. So I’ll give you an example. Um, it’s a phrase that he says he says quite often. He says look people always overestimate the amount of change that will occur in 1 or 2 years and underestimate the amount of change that will occur in 10 so if I come up to you and I say hey you know whatever like one day we’re all going to be wearing Apple Vision pro masks walking around. Go I don’t know man that just sounds super crazy right? Well you know what? maybe the framework is. It’s probably not going to happen in one or two years but I don’t know in 1020 something like that like that’ll probably like just think about the fact that even I don’t know twenty years ago we didn’t have ah we didn’t have phones and thirty years ago we didn’t have the internet right? I mean like. That’s how fast things change in our lives and bill was really good at kind of giving me some frameworks that I’ve carried along with me.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously as you said Microsoft was the short lift. So at what point do you realize hey I think I got to go out it again.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, well honestly I’m not sure I did realize that for a little while so I was at Microsoft I hated hated hated the fact that I could have so little impact I mean you got to think like. You know there’s probably a team of what 4 people who just work on as I like to call it the red squiggly like the auto-corrected Microsoft word There’s like somebody whose life. It is working on just that and for me that was just too small like don’t get me wrong I love spell check I really do. But that was just too small. So um, so then I got recruited to go work at Myspace. Um I don’t know if you remember at the time Myspace was the number 1 website on the planet by volume I went there. Um as you can imagine I didn’t last I think I lasted ninety six days it’s still unclear to me of whether I quit or I was fired but it was clear. There was not a good fit. Um, ah the the level of talent. The quality of talent after going from Microsoft where everybody’s super intelligent to myspace where everybody was to put it kindly not um, ah that did not work that did not work super well. So after I left I was like what the hell do I do I can’t work at big companies I can’t work at these guys. What the hell do I do. So frankly, it was almost out about well I guess the only thing I know how to do is is to start companies. So let’s just go back to that now my dad was a linguist and so I so I spent a lot of time kind of growing up reading the works of you know the chomskys of the world etc and I had often thought about language and you know.
Adrian Aoun: In kind of grade school and they teach you you know, like subject verbs predicates and all these rules about grammar I always thought that they made no sense and I’ll tell you why sometimes be sitting around the dinner table with I don’t know whether it’s Chomsky my dad somebody else some other linguist. They’d be debating over what’s the right way to say something and whenever they wanted to kind of tiebreak. They’d just turn to me as a little kid and they say which of these sounds better and I would say that one sounds better and they’d see like hot see. We’re right and I was and I figured well hold on if the point of the rules is to define language then? why are you just asking me what sounds better right? like. You quickly realize the the rules are let’s call it what it is kind of bullshit right? Most of grammar’s kind of bullshit. You know this if you feed all the grammar textbooks into a computer the computer still doesn’t know how to like read language. Um, and you know this because every time they teach you a rule they say oh yeah, but there’s also 2000 exceptions so then what I realized is maybe the way we learn language is just off of patterns. Maybe the human brain is incredibly good at picking up patterns and so what we did is we started to say can we teach computers to read and understand language again merely by using the patterns and it turns out you can it turns out you can quite well. So what we did is we did deep learning applied to natural language and if you think about this whole Ai revolution right now who would have thought it was deep learning applied to natural language. So I like to tell people if I had waited 5 years I’d probably be a billionaire but you know it’s okay, ah we we did a really good job starting kind of the trend.
Adrian Aoun: We weren’t the only ones out there but there were a bunch of people that kind of started on this path and I think now you’re seeing the fruits of our labor and I’m really excited for that in.
Alejandro Cremades: So eventually google comes knocking. So um, you know we see really remarkable. You know that you were able to get the interest from some from a corporation like Google how did that happen and and what was it like going through a transaction you know with. With Google.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, it was it was interesting so it happened well actually some of our investors several of our investors um were executives at Google. So for example, ah Marissa Mayer I was very lucky I mean you know she ran search at Google and I’m building like a ah search Ai company right? and so she was like kind of the best investor you could possibly get um but there were some others as well and they just. Kept kind of coming to be being like wow this really would fit in well at Google this really would fit in well at Google so eventually we you know decide to give in and say okay, let’s let’s go do this and you know we had this vision of Google having this enormous Ai division and being the whole experts of the world. So so let me tell you a little how the transaction goes. Well first off. Um I I want you to picture diligence with ah with a you know trillion dollar company like Google where they’re like let’s get your finance team and our finance team on a call to discuss tax treatments and you know my finance team was me um and their finance team is like 20 of them in pricewaterhouse coopers on the yeah on the line as well and like four lawyers. And they go well, you know they’re asking me all these questions about how we file our taxes and I’m sitting there and I’m like we use Turbotax and they’re like they look mortified they literally and then I’ve got a different diligence call where they go well, how do you treat the sanctions on Iran and I’m looking and I’m going. Ah.
Adrian Aoun: Don’t treat this in like how do you know you don’t have iranian users using your gum but we don’t know you know so the good news is even though they’re a big company. They’re pretty agile over there and so they were like yeah okay none of this actually matters. We’re still buying your company. Now. The interesting thing was you know I show up on day one I walk up to my boss. The guy who runs engineering of literally all of Google this guy Allen used just amazing guy and I go okay Allen like you know, introduced me to these ai guys and he literally looks like oh no, no, no we fairly got an Ai division. We got a couple people doing this and that but like there literally. Wasn’t really a division to speak of so me a couple other people. We actually started it. We took it from not existing I think we got it to about maybe 700 people every course of a year and some of that was you know, taking taking different divisions internally and kind of mer. You know, redirecting them merging them. But some of it was we went and we bought things like deepmind out of London who have clearly made waves um and the great thing is we really did kind of put ai back on the map I mean all the insurgents that you see today kind of came from those movements I think we spent order of about $1000000000 in twelve months and then you saw you know everybody from facebook to baidu to microsoft everybody get into the game and for me that was that was incredibly exciting.
Alejandro Cremades: So what was that time where you receive a call from Larry page.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, okay so I was I was what’s the right way to say this I was incredibly frustrated so after about a year of being at Google I actually quit um it was I again tried to make my 1 year date in this case I think I made it to eleven and a half Months so um and address me I had tons of incentive to stay to kind of years two and 3 but I was just like you know we are the world’s best engineering best technology I mean like honestly incredible research, but we don’t ship products and I really like to have impact I don’t like to just kind of sit there and tinker with toys I want to see them in users’ hands. And I want to know that we’re doing something better for humanity. so ah so I quit and I kind of transferred all my teams over I turned in my laptop handed everything from my assistant back to my badge to everything and then I had this kind of interesting experience. We had ah we had a going away party and Larry page kind of comes into my going away party and in his awkward kind of ah, very enduring way goes. Well why are people celebrating and I go cause I’m leaving and he goes no, you’re not and I go no no, no really I am I know you’re powerful I know you get to choose a lot of things but really I’m leaving. Um, and he goes okay after your party’s swinging by my office so I swing by his office and we go for a walk and this is really fascinating. Um, he’s like why are you leaving and I’m like because we don’t ship things like we don’t do innovative things and he spent maybe I’m not even joking 3 hours 4 hours
Adrian Aoun: Just arguing with me point by point here’s what Youtube does here’s what Google docs says here’s what this here’s what that and I literally and every single one was like you bought that you bought that you bought that like we haven’t done anything interesting around here right? like search hasn’t changed in fucking 15 years and after I argued with him for about I don’t know 3 hours 4 hours or something he goes he goes actually I agree with everything you’ve said and I go wait. What huh like I don’t get it. He’s just been arguing with me like what what’s happening and he goes. Yeah I just wanted to kind of pressure test your your ideas and I was like ah okay and then he goes Adrian. What do you. Think the future of transportation is so I say okay, well let’s talk about that as we talk about the future of transportation for 15 minutes and then he goes what’s the future of education I give them my ideas on the future of education goes. What’s the future of energy I give him my ideas in the future healthcare care. You know you name it like all these sorts of xaviation ah and on and on. And I would give him all these ideas and then at the end of just talking to him for ah for I mean at this point like hours upon hours upon hours he goes Adrian I don’t think Google can innovate anymore? Um, ah so why don’t you work with me and let’s do something separate and I’m like. Larry page asking me to co-found a company I’m very confused right now like what is happening and ah long story short we spent the weekend trying to come up with how could we innovate and what we came up with basically by the end of the weekend was ah was what eventually became called alphabet.
Adrian Aoun: And so um, so what’s funny is on a Friday I like turned in my team you know team laptop everything by Monday I had started back at Google again. Interestingly I had taken some of my team that were going to leave with me to go start a company that we were going to start. Um, we ended up just staying at Google. Um, and forming a new division. Um that we kept pretty quiet. There’s some press out there on it but we kept pretty quiet and this division was basically to go create alphabet companies. Um, and then I spent the next few years where I think my title was technically head of special projects of all of Google but in essence what we did was. We. We said what are great new companies that that could benefit from somebody like a Google getting into them and trying to solve them in other words, what are some of the biggest problems in humanity that we should go after with with our skill sets and and that’s what you see kind of a bunch of the alphabet companies came to be.
Alejandro Cremades: So what? what? what is typically you know like that process of having let’s say like um I don’t like a vague statement. You know like an idea of something big a big market or the way that you’re seeing the future to the moment that you’re in the execution of it.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, so this is actually this is actually one of the hardest things in the world and you know, kind of empirically that it’s 1 of the hardest things in the world because if you were to just kind of look at. You know how much do founders make in ah in silicon valley tech companies versus engineers and you’re like wait a minute the engineer did all the work they built the damn product. What the founder do well they just had an idea and they went after it. Well it turns out founders make a lot merely because like. It turns out going from some vague notion to what do you do is an incredibly hard problem but I actually think it’s a little more formulaic than people realize so what we did. Our group was called javelin and the idea of javelin was we’re going to. You know we’re going to like take some big shots right. And what we did was we started with what’s the Meta problem statement that we care about and like can we can we actually measure it and for us the number 1 thing that we cared about was qualities q a lwise this is quality adjusted life years and basically what it’s saying is we want humans to live longer lives. But. You also have to quality adjust it right? because it turns out if you live an extra hundred years but you know you’re you’re ah you’re you know in a wheelchair that’s not as good as if you’re running around vibrant and so so this is a metric we didn’t invent that metric. It’s a metric that that a bunch of people actually in the nonprofit world used.
Adrian Aoun: But then what we did is We just started to rank all of Society’s problems against Qualities. Can’t do this perfectly but the idea is you want to get you know the dumb things pretty low and the impactful things pretty high. It doesn’t have to be perfect and so once you do that you start looking at problems like gender equality or getting people out of our overcrowded prisons. Or ah or can I Solve Racism. What should I be doing about birth Control. What should I be doing about health care et Cetera and there were a bunch of these things that we kind of said hey these could have an enormous amount of impact and we worked on problems related to um, trying to solve climate change to. Ah, problems related to free energy making energy free to building cities building cities came out as a sidewalk labs but some of these others have come out either in alphabet companies or or another in other companies and what we tried to do Was. We tried to start by saying what’s the problem and can we concretely and in a measurable way Define The problem It can’t be like go build the best city because you know what the best city for my mom might be different than the best city for you or or any of our friends. So instead we said well we need a metric of success. In our case, it was the city that can change the fastest under the thesis that if you can rapidly Innovate. You can learn what’s working and not learn and unlearn kind of the the mistakes that you’ve made along the way. Um, and so we started to ask ourselves. Okay, if we took.
Adrian Aoun: Maybe the physical infrastructure. How can we get physical infrastructure in a city to change at a super rapid pace and you start thinking about modular housing you start thinking about lightweight Materials. You start thinking about separating the layers so that your house is maybe a thin shell and something else deals with protecting you from the weather. Had all these sorts of notions but we did this in everything we did this in Healthcare. How can we get people to live Longer. We did in Education. How can we improve Education rates, etc and the key for us was we would start by trying to understand a problem and then frankly it was almost pretty easy to ask yourself. What would the future look like and here’s a trick that like almost anybody can do. Imagine. You’re kind of sitting at home and you just list out like okay I want to know what the future of education is okay well it turns out there’s this really interesting trick. Most people don’t realize that the future of anything the future of education looks more like the future than it looks like education. The future of food looks more like the future than it looks like food. In other words, if you want to know what the future of food is do you go up to Wolfgang Puck or do you go up to a material scientist at mit probably a material scientist at Mit you may not be a good chef but he can predict the Future. So Once you know that insight It’s actually pretty. Pretty easy What you do is you start by saying Okay, let’s take education and let’s just list out a bunch of technologies that have hit every other industry. Um personalization using big data using artificial intelligence online Connectivity. You name it all these sorts of things right.
Adrian Aoun: And now you say okay, but what is the future of of anything. What’s the future of clothing when it’s personalized. Well, that’s pretty easy. No longer is it small medium or large it fits to me what is the future of clothing when it’s connected. Well easy, no longer is your your piece of clothing a dumb piece of clothing now. It’s able to kind of send and receive data. What is the future of clothing when it when it contains over-the-air updates. Well easy, no longer is a piece of clothing static. Maybe it can change its design over time you could start to kind of predict out what do each of these things look like. And then if you just ask yourself fine. What is clothing that is online connected gets over the error updates uses Ai etc. It becomes really obvious what the world’s going to look like and once you see that kind of tangible image if that’s where we’re trying to go it becomes a lot easier to work backwards and say ergo. My first step is x y or z.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously here you are having a a really tremendous you know, um, careerurier with Google you know, incredible ideas. You know, being able to work with the likes of a Larry page. You know also Eric Schmidt really amazing no and and and what an experience for you but eventually. Your older brother gets sick and then that changes the course for everything. So what happened.
Adrian Aoun: Um, um, yeah, yeah, well you know imagine like I on a Monday I’m at Google trying to solve ai on a Tuesday I’m like sitting in an exam room and I see doctors kind of like. Sitting there with post-it notes and I’m saying like like are you fucking kidding me like where’s the ai and honestly you quickly realize like health care is just a pile of crap. Not only is a pile crap. It’s not even an evenly distributed pile of crap right? There’s about 8000000000 people on the planet. Less than 2000000000 of them have access to anything you and I would call like a real form of care. So I’m sitting here as an engineer in the year whatever 2024 and I’m like this makes no sense. We can get smartphones to the whole damn planet. Why can’t we get basic health care there when you peel back layers the onion one of the things you quickly realize is health care is based on doctors and nurses now I love doctors and nurses. But you’re never going to scale them to the whole damn planet doctors are too expensive and there’s not enough of them so I started to ask myself. What would it look like if instead of building healthcare as a service. We rebuilt it as a product in other words, what would it be like if we just tried to take. Every single thing that doctors and nurses are doing and just migrated over to hardware and software like holy shit if you could do it. You could scale healthcare up to the whole planet apply all the Ai you want? It’s gonna be fucking awesome now. It turns out that that’s one of those things that’s a little easier said than done right? I wish somebody had told me how hard it would be when we when we embarked. But.
Adrian Aoun: Oftentimes they say the naivete is what carries you this far. So that’s what we’ve been kind of working on for the last I don’t know how many years it’s been now six years some some ungodly number of my life. But ah, but you know we’re we’re every day making a little more progress towards that ah towards that goal.
Alejandro Cremades: So for the people that are listening. You know forward I mean oh you see you guys say you know hit it off in 2017 so it’s been now like 7 years over 7 years which is incredible I guess for the people that are listening to get it. What ended up being the business model of forward.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, so basically we started by we we figured if you want to boil the ocean you have to start somewhere you know Tesla starts with their model s and goes to their model three. So what’s our model s well our model s is we started by building a super high-tech doctor’s office. We did one in San Francisco it’s done pretty well. Scaled it up. We’re live in about Twenty Twenty five cities all across the country but immediately you go okay Adrian but a high tech doctor’s office like how’s that ever going to scale to the whole planet How’s that going to bring about your Ai future. But think about what we’ve been doing every day we’ve been watching what happens inside of our clinic so you come in, you sit in the exam chair. You talk to your doctor about the flu and I go wait a minute. Why do you even come in. Let’s just build that into the mobile app next guy talks his doctor about skin issues I build a skin scanner next guy talks to doctor about heart issues I build a body scanner and solely but surely what we’ve been doing is just migrating every single thing from doctor and nurse to hardware and software until what you realize at the limit. We only want to be building hardware and software. We don’t even believe a doctor’s office should exist and that’s kind of the phase that we’re in now. So now we’ve been rolling out what you can almost think of as our our model three we call it the forward care pot. It’s a super futuristic ai- driven doctor’s office and the way I like to think about it is. If Elon has a self-driving car. Well this is the autonomous doctor’s office. It’s taking advantage of all the new Ai that we have in society today and it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty futuristic. You walk up to it you unlock it with your phone immediately. It’s like hello Adrian welcome to forward, please step inside and as you do it basically loads up a bunch of different apps for you to play with.
Adrian Aoun: You choose the body scan app. It’s like please stand so it rotates you in a circle takes a whole bunch of readings shows you the results on the screen explains them to you and then gives you your treatment whether it’s a prescription a plan. Whatever makes sense for you. Let’s say you choose heart health it’s pretty badass. It actually opens a tray and hands you a sensor shows you how to hold that sensor against your heart. Again takes the readings gives you the results in the screen explains them to you and gives you your treatment and what you realize we’re doing is we’re starting to put health care back in the hands of consumers. No longer is there somebody standing in between you and the care now you can get the care whenever you want and you can almost imagine what we’re doing a little like building the Iphone right. The first iphone came out didn’t do too much so what Apple do? Well they add 3 g they add five G Lidar Gyroscope Gps well for us, it’s the same thing you can now do blood tests. We’re working on everything from ekg’s to ultrasounds to you name it. We want to kind of build it all in there. And the idea is that that’s a that’s a platform that’s an operating system that other people can build apps on top of so today we’re building the apps but over time we’re going to open it up so other people could build apps on top of us. We want to power the new wave of healthcare similar to how Apple has powered the mobile computing wave.
Alejandro Cremades: I’ve also seen that you know for capitalizing the business. You know online. It has been reported that you guys have raised about 325000000 even though you guys don’t really confirm. You know any of that stuff I’d like to ask you like what has been the journey to of of raising money for you guys because. You know here you are a third time founder fully. You know, exited before you know so you’re one of those tiers zero that they are hard to come across for investors but how did you go about making sure that you were choosing the right people for the right resource for this. Okay.
Adrian Aoun: So I’m lucky in that aside from being a founder I also invest in a lot of companies an investor in probably about 350 startups and probably about 40 or 50 funds many of which you know from the founders funds to the to the you name it right. And one of the things that that you get from doing that is you just get to know these people over time and you get to know who are the people who dream big who are the people who don’t who are the people that let’s be real like act like assholes who are the people that don’t. And so for the people that we’ve brought as our investors all kind of the major investors are frankly people I’ve known for 10155 years in some cases they backed me in my last company they backed me in this company and hopefully they’ll back me in my next company. Um, but the idea that that we’re looking for is people who are aligned with what we want to do. I didn’t get into this because I’m like oh I need a quick buck I mean look at my resume man I’m doing fine right? like I got into this because I want to do something that matters because I want to leave the world better off than I found it and when you look across at investors today. There’s some people who are just trying to make a name for themselves trying to make that quick buck and we don’t frankly, want them involved in fort then there’s some people who say no, there’s. Fundamental ways in which we can improve humanity and we can leave it better off than we found it using these skills that we were given that we were lucky enough to have whether that’s allocating capital whether that’s technology and those are the people we try to align themselves with.
Adrian Aoun: So almost like ask yourself who are the dreamers who are the people who imagine a better world and want to ensure that it comes about when we when we find those people in there and they see the world The way we do. We usually latch on and end up working together.
Alejandro Cremades: And I say vision you know is ah is a big one. You know, allowing them to to really get enrolled into the future that you guys are living into and and to that to that note you know imagine if you were to go to sleep tonight. And you wake up in a world where the vision of forward is fully realized what does that world look like.
Adrian Aoun: Yeah, um, ah well I ah you got to start by asking. How do you sleep I always tell people I sleep like a baby I wake up every 2 hours and cry right? So um.
Adrian Aoun: Sadly, if you care about your sleep I highly recommend, not becoming a founder because you will stress every single night There’s always something on your plate but look the the world that I dream of is a pretty different world than the one we have today today we live to I think the average is you know, mid 70 s and what I kind of. Take a step back and I ask myself like how do we end up here. Let’s kind of look as far back as modern human histories record. It’s about fifty five hundred years back to kind of the bronze era but rather than starting by looking at healthcare let’s start by looking at something simple like transportation. Fifty five hundred years ago transportation was not very fancy. It was walking around on your own two feet like literally like you could maybe go five miles a day we did that for about 1000 years and then we invented these things called sandals now we got up to about ten miles a day did that for about 1000 years and we tamed horses now you get up to maybe 5000 if you’re lucky. That for about 1000 years and then in just the last few two hundred years think about what we did we invented river boats to get hundreds of miles then then trains to get you know, even more than planes. Oh my god a thousand miles and then you know like ah Nasa says whatever we got this, we’re going straight to so to the moon one hundred Twenty Five Thousand miles away and then of course you’ve got Elon saying no no no I got this mar is one hundred twenty five million miles away so think about that in just fifty five hundred years we went from five miles a day to one hundred and twenty five million miles away like 25000000 x holy shit. But now let’s kind of instead. Let’s look at at life expectancy. So pretend you were born in the bronze era.
Adrian Aoun: Um, bad news. You had a ah very high probability of dying in infancy about 15 to 20% probability of death. But the good news there is that also means you had a 75 to eighty percent probability of survival if you did survive infancy. What was the average life expectancy. It’s about 42 43 years old. Now let’s look at where we are today life expectancy Mid seventy s so you’re telling me that we haven’t even doubled the fucking number like are you kidding me? Where’s my 25000000 x where’s my space x wheres where’s my rockets and what you realize is healthcare is nowhere. So I want a world. We’re we’re not living to like 80 and 90 But where’re we’re living to 80900 like what is stopping us from getting there what is stopping us from just fully eradicating disease once and for all and when you look at transportation remember how it’s pretty fat and then it kind of inflected just in the last two hundred years what what caused that? Honestly, it was tools. It was things like the industrial revolution we can now build mechanical things. Well we don’t have the tools to allow us to iterate quickly in the world of healthcare and if you think about what we’re trying to do at forward is we’re trying to do exactly that we’re trying to allow somebody to go from I have an idea to its. Live in the world later today and that’s what operating systems do that’s what infrastructure does and if it works then you might only be whatever 100 years away from us all living to a thousand who knows but that’s the world that we envision and that’s the world that we’re going after.
Alejandro Cremades: So that that would be a beautiful world by the way now we’re talking about the future here I want to talk about the past but doing so with a lens of reflection incredible experience that you’ve been able to to have and and what you’ve done so far. So imagine if I was to put you now into a time machine. But I bring you back in time I bring you back to that moment that maybe you know you were thinking about um, starting another company. You were coming out of Microsoft Myspace and really figuring out. Um a future in which you know you could bring a solution of your own once again. And let’s say you’re able to have a conversation with your younger self and let’s say that younger self was to listen and you’re able to tell that younger self one piece of advice to that younger Adrian and and you’re able to share 1 piece of a device before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Adrian Aoun: The one piece of advice I would give if I were giving it to myself. Unfortunately I’m I’m stubborn and I wouldn’t listen but hopefully ah hopefully somebody else will the problem matters more than the solution. We all love when we’re starting companies when we have ideas just think about how we talk about it. Oh I’m starting a company and then your friend goes great. What are you doing like they’re asking. What is the idea but the ideas can change over time they will change. Maybe it’s right? Maybe it’s wrong. You know what doesn’t change problem if you say I want to work on making people live longer. You’re gonna have shit to work on from now until forever like that is a hard problem. Think of Google like Google’s mission is to understand and organize the world’s information and make it freely accessible. Well does Google know where this pen is no, do they know where this water bottle is no they know nothing they know point zero zero one percent of all information at best right? and yet. Also one of the largest tech companies and what it shows you is that when you work on problems that are big when you work on problems that matter you’re going to be able to keep going for decades upon decades upon decades. So I hope that people fall in love with problems not fall in love with solutions.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow now for the people that are listening Adrian that they will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Adrian Aoun: Oh you can always email me or message me on Linkedin Adrian Aoun: at ah wound dot net or or message me on Linkedin or on Twitter any anywhere I’m usually accessible.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. Well hey Adrian thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Adrian Aoun: Oh it’s been absolutely great to be here I Appreciate you having me.
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