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An Interview with Joel Arun Sursas, Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm, Singapore

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Joel Arun Sursas is the Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm, Singapore. He works closely with engineers and implementation consultants to achieve medical technology solutions that improve patient outcomes, enhance monitoring and protect patient privacy.

Tell me about your best and worst days at work.

The best days at work are typically days which involve multi-disciplinary collaboration and brainstorming. As a startup, we are privileged to have subject-matter experts sitting at an arm’s length away from one another. Unlike MNCs where “departments” are often fragmented and walled-off, we can achieve a lot of mileage in small focus-group discussions. As a physician, I immensely enjoy exploring the minds of the engineers, business developers and product developers in my midst.

The worst days at work would be the days I spend dealing with the mountain of paperwork that comes along with regulatory requirements. As a startup we are looking to market our device in the EU, UK, Australia and Asia – each region has a unique regulatory framework, each with its own accompanying set of essential requirements and documentation. Navigating this space can be complicated, time-consuming and confusing. It’s part of the learning process, however, and being accustomed to the various regional requirements and legal stipulations will benefit us in the long run as we develop our future pipeline of products and services.

Who are the clients/what are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I enjoy going back to my roots and engaging with clinical users the most. The projects that give me the most fulfillment are those that directly engage physicians and nurses; I think that my role enables me to be an effective bridge between the IT domain and the health domain. After all, the core of health informatics is the people, and engaging in discourse with the key stakeholders enables me to manage patient data in the most effective, safe and optimal manner.

What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

I would have to say that it would be in formulating the value proposition of our medical device to multiple stakeholders. Initially, our medical device was positioned as a patient-advocating device – which it is. However, I think we started to turn more heads when we buttressed our value proposition to include physicians, midwives and the hospital administration. This change made me realize the importance of developing an all-encompassing value proposition that attracts as many vital stakeholders as possible. It makes the conversation a lot easier as no matter how diverse your target audience is, the message is a positive one.

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

I thought that medical school would have taught me most of what I knew about medicine. However, my two years in the Singapore Armed Forces developing and implementing Southeast Asia’s largest EHR and my time spent at Biorithm have taught me a lot more about the medico-industrial complex. While I have furthered myself professionally at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Medical School in the field of health informatics, the self-learning from these pivotal experiences has been challenging, immense, and extremely rewarding. I would say that this experiential learning has been the most crucial part of my professional journey thus far, and I would venture to say that it will continue to be.

 What risks is your company facing?

 Although we do face competitors as a fetal-maternal monitoring company, Biorithm views competition as an opportunity. Firstly, the fact that there is viable competition validates the space we occupy. Secondly, it keeps us on our toes and encourages us to continually seek differentiating factors which will eventually culminate in better clinician and patient outcomes. Thirdly, competition can always be converted to collaboration should the occasion arise!

What would you do with unlimited resources?

This is a tricky question. Intuitively, I would invest most of it in the company as (unsurprisingly), I believe in our company. However, on that note – I think that the success we have achieved so far as a small startup has been contingent on the limitation of resources we face. That constraint forces everyone to learn, step out of their comfort zone and upgrade themselves daily. That’s the “burning platform” that most startups face at some point in their life cycle, and it is what most successful startups attribute their success to.

When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

It would have to be in writing our Clinical Evaluation Report (CER) for our device, for CE marking. The CER contends with the background literature – my research background comes in very useful for this segment which is typically medically jargonized. I enjoy looking at up-to-date evidence for subsequent analysis.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I juggle my work with freelance medical writing which I do to finance my post-graduate studies. Because of the time zone difference, I’m usually up in the wee hours of the morning in Singapore attending live lectures in Boston or Baltimore. I’m an exercise addict, so the adrenaline of post-work exercise helps to keep me awake!

How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

I’m confident that our team-effort at Biorithm towards innovation will see an impressionable mark on the way obstetric and fetal monitoring is conducted. The technology has remained grossly unchanged since the 1960s, and we are poised to change that.

You can know more about Joel Arun through his Website and LinkedIn.

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Interview

An Interview with Actor & Musician Carrel Lasso

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Carell Lasso is a Colombian actor and musician. He is well known for his role in La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) which is available on Netflix. Carrel is also one of the actors of the new HBO show “One thousand fangs” or “Mil Colmillos” .

Carell, thank you for talking with us. To be a part of the first HBO series in your home country must have felt great. How was the experience like?

Thank you for having me. For me it was a wonderful experience, to be part of the first HBO Series produced in my home country.

I met very talented people. The shooting days were extensive and 70% of the filming was at night in difficult conditions due to the weather and the jungle, but at the end of the day, it was a blessing and a great pleasure to be part of this awesome crew .

Tell us more about your character Barakus.

My character is called Alfredo Barranco aka Barakus. He is a corporal in the army’s special forces, and embarks on a mission where unexpected things happen
By the way, I had to gain 10 kilos of weight to play this character and had to go through a difficult military training and extensive gym workouts.

You have been a part of several awesome projects. Which project is really close to you?

La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) has been a project that meant a lot to me due to the conditions and the circumstances that I was going through in my life at that time. It was also the production with which I obtained international recognition for my work, since it was sold to more than 280 countries in the 5 continents and was dubbed in many languages. You can watch this awesome show on Netflix.

 What suggestion would you give to actors who are struggling to get their first break?

My suggestion is to prepare, to work hard and to have their minds focused on what they want no matter what others say.  People who are not capable, are always going to want you to be like them, so through criticism and ridicule they will  want to discourage you, but you must be patient and persistent and trust the talent and the desire that is in you. The best things come from heaven when you least expect them.

How are you helping young actors achieve their goals?

Since last year I have been collaborating with NYC Latin Media preparing their new talent for  productions.  Through live acting workshops and now via Zoom I serve as an acting coach, teaching different techniques and methodologies of acting and hoping to instill my passion for acting to the next generation of actors. 

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Interview

An Interview with Russell Jack, Southland-based Yogapreneur and Mindfulness Teacher

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Russell Jack Interview

Russell Herbert Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.

Russel, thank you for talking with us. Even the best of Mindfulness experts and life coaches have their own ups and downs. Tell me about your best days at work and also about days when you feel low.

Thank you for having me. You are right when you say that it doesn’t necessarily mean that people who are life coaches and who teach mindfulness are immune from their own life challenges. The thing is, they know how to deal with such situations better than most of the people out there.

For me, the best days are whenever I can be at the beach. I love teaching outdoors, and the days when I get to teach by the ocean are the best. There are so many distractions in our life that can bring us down, and being out in nature walking, running, doing yoga, or simply observing is so therapeutic. I also feel down sometimes. Those are the days when I get bad news. I am very close to my clients and I am an empathetic person, so I take their problems too close to my heart.

What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I enjoy teaching, reading, and writing. I recently started a blog to practice writing and share my thoughts with the world. My primary focus is teaching though. I teach yoga, mindfulness, and Qigong, and I love walking my clients through the processes and seeing their results improve.

What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

Well, my biggest “a-ha” moment happened when I tried eating meat after a long break. My parents are vegan, so I was used to a meatless diet for the longest time. But during my late teenage years, you know, everyone rebels, and I decided to try a steak while I was away from home. I didn’t like it though.

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

Dropping out of college when I felt like pursuing teaching as my life calling. There are many societal and parental pressures nowadays. My parents really wanted me to go to school and get educated, but I chose to educate myself. It’s my path. If I didn’t leave college, I would probably just hang out with my friends now, instead of building my teaching business and helping people connect with themselves through yoga and mindfulness.

The ongoing Pandemic has impacted businesses in so many ways. What risks is your company facing?

Well, COVID-19 has impacted many businesses, but luckily for New Zealand, we didn’t get hit as hard as the rest of the world. I am still able to teach and continue my practice. But I know that there are many people around the world who have lost their jobs and companies who didn’t survive the pandemic and subsequent closures. My heart goes to those.

What would you do with unlimited resources?

I would invest them in protecting animals around the world. There are many people who are conscious of the harm we create in the animal world, but there is not enough funding to make a big difference, I believe.

Being a Yoga practitioner gives you the necessary skills to immerse yourself in whatever you do. Still, When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I lose myself when I teach. I turn into a vessel of knowledge and try to help my students connect with themselves through my teaching.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love traveling and being in nature, writing and learning, listening to music, and talking to my loved ones.

How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

My impact is not as big as I would like it to be, but I still think that by volunteering, teaching, and leading by example, I do contribute to the betterment of the world.

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Interview

CEO of VEDOC Talks About the Initiatives taken by the company During the Ongoing Pandemic

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vedoc covid19 initiative

In a previous Interview with Times of Startups, Yoguef Sanchez-Jarquin, the founder of VEDOC talked about how VEDOC or Vehicle Doctor helps users connect with vetted vehicle service providers with a few screen taps. We recently caught up with Yoguef Sanchez to know more about where his company is heading owing to the unexpected situation we are witnessing because of Covid-19.

Yoguef, It’s great to have you back. Since we last talked, how has been the growth story of Vedoc so far?

Thank you for having me again. Vedoc has grown significantly in the past few months, We are starting to expand and introduce our platform in places such as New Jersey, Chicago, and Detroit. Our goal is to create awareness in major cities and gradually work our way into smaller towns.

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your organization and Vehicle service providers in general?

Thankfully the Automotive industry has not had any real setbacks overall. As an organization we have adapted well and we are continuing to grow as a team

Tell us more about your recent program in which your company will provide service attendants to gas stations in cities that have seen a massive surge in Covid-19 cases?

We have plans to roll out the program for the remainder of the year upon launching. We are currently seeking to onboard as many fuel stations in the most affected areas. Our goal is to reduce contact between people and provide additional income for locals who are struggling during this current crisis.

Social distancing is one of the tools which can help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. How can fuel stations and car service providers facilitate contactless service for their customers?

Vedoc app was developed with the idea of making the way you service your vehicle convenient which results in being able to contact service providers through the app, chat , schedule and pay and we are also now on-boarding mobile service providers which has become a trend in growing cities.

We genuinely believe that it will complement the concept of contactless service by maintaining people safe at at their homes. On the other hand, some gas stations can see up to 100 vehicles per day so imagine how the amount of germs are transmitted through people.

Through our recent initiative, our service attendants will reduce the risk by keeping you safe in your car while your vehicle is being fueled and providing safe paying methods.


At its core, Vedoc is known for connecting car users to service providers. However, several businesses have evolved in the last few months owing to the ongoing pandemic. Are their any significant changes in your organization in the recent past?

We have made minor modifications and improvements to our organization. However, the core operation has continued to run smoothly without significant setbacks. In that sense, we can consider ourselves fortunate. Overall, we believe this to be perfect timing to introduce a new, convenient and honest way to service your vehicle while contributing our 2 cents to the current crisis.

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