The Healthtech VC #003: In conversation with Julie Sufana, contextflow’s Chief Marketing Officer

Listen to the full episode The Healthtech VC podcast on Apple Podcasts here and on Spotify here.

In the third episode of The Healthtech VC, our managing partner, Dr. Fiona Pathiraja is joined by Julie Sufana, Chief Marketing Officer at contextflow, a Vienna-based healthtech start-up developing deep learning-based tools to improve radiology workflows. Crista Galli Ventures have long supported contextflow, who are one of our earliest portfolio companies.

Originally from the US, Julie has an enviably diverse experience, ranging from education, finance, automotive and more, alongside professional acting. After studying for a master’s degree in marketing at the University of Vienna, Julie felt drawn to contextflow by the team culture and cutting-edge technology, which complemented her interest and excitement for AI. 

The storytelling Chief Marketing Officer

The importance of marketing in healthtech is often underestimated and whilst no two days are the same, Julie has responsibility for building the brand and elevating the company presence by telling the story of contextflow. Working in a start-up often means that every member of the team wears multiple hats – in her role as Chief Marketing Officer, Julie does everything from communications and PR, business development and pitching to customer support. She describes working in the start-up world as “a very fast, real-world, PhD-level education” and for anyone who isn’t afraid to pitch in and get their hands dirty, it can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.  

Game-changing workflow

Radiology workflow is the way that a radiologist works day-to-day, including how they choose the next case and how scans are triaged for reporting. During the discussion, Fiona reflects on her experience as a consultant radiologist, sharing her insight about how inefficient radiology workflows can be. Addressing this challenge, contextflow is a comprehensive, one-stop healthtech solution for radiologists that can be integrated into the existing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) with functionality for triage, decision support, and more. The platform uses a 3D image-based search engine to provide additional context through reference cases, statistics and patterns, comparisons to other scans. Their technology aids radiologists’ decision-making for difficult cases but also has the potential to improve access to radiology services through use in training or in more remote settings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was awarded a €1.2 million grant from the EIC Accelerator to support with expansion of tech capabilities to detect COVID-19 on scans as well as supporting triage for people admitted to hospital with the virus. 

Diversity in Healthtech

As the first female hire for contextflow, Julie is a keen advocate for diversity in healthtech. Through the conversations about each of their experiences, both Fiona and Julie agree that being truly inclusive and diverse means going beyond arbitrary quotas. It requires hiring individuals that challenge us all with new ways of thinking, perspectives and ideas, which will ultimately support the industry to truly thrive and make a positive impact in people’s lives. 

To learn more about contextflow, visit their website: https://contextflow.com/

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