Seven years ago, the seeds of mySugr were planted in Vienna, Austria, by the company’s four co-founders. That was the physical location, but the beauty of mobile health is that it isn’t confined by geography. Users from around the world began managing their diabetes through mySugr’s first-of-its-kind smartphone app, logging-in from all corners of the globe.
Seven years ago, the seeds of mySugr were planted in Vienna, Austria, by the company’s four co-founders. That was the physical location, but the beauty of mobile health is that it's not confined by geography. Users from around the world began managing their diabetes through mySugr’s first-of-its-kind smartphone app, logging-in from all corners of the globe
Our customer base has grown immensely and our offerings have evolved and matured. For example, mySugr now offers business-to-business solutions to help manage health and costs at a population level. Throughout this journey, one region has always presented the greatest opportunity for us to grow as a company and to make the greatest impact: the United States.
In 2016, we took the first step of opening a second office in Encinitas as our new US base. This February, we moved down the road to a bigger, custom-built space that can accommodate our growing team. Encinitas is a beautiful beach town in Southern California, 20 minutes north of the major diabetes hub of San Diego. It’s a great spot to recruit new talent and a great launching pad for our expansion throughout the US.
Here’s a bit more about the new office and mySugr’s global journey from co-founder and CEO Frank Westermann...
1. First of all, why San Diego? What made you chose this area for mySugr’s first overseas branch?
The U.S. has always been mySugr’s most important market (more than half of our 1.7 million users are based in the US;), so in 2016, we decided to open up a U.S. office. We looked into the Bay Area (Silicon Valley), where most digital startups are, but quickly came to the conclusion that the quest for talent and the cost of living for future employees would be too expensive. At the same time, we started to work with ProSciento Inc. who conducted clinical studies for mySugr and were in based in San Diego. Looking around the San Diego area we discovered a “hub for diabetes”. Other important diabetes innovators like Dexcom and Tandem Diabetes set up their roots in Southern California, so mySugr fit right in.
2. Does the San Diego office have a different set of goals and priorities than the Vienna office, or is it more about replicating mySugr’s success in the US?
Everyone at mySugr is working towards the same strategic goals, but the two offices do have a slightly different focus. In the US, we’re really thinking about the needs of the US market, with the support of Vienna when it comes to execution. Our San Diego office mainly focuses on marketing, business development, and sales as well as customer support and diabetes coaching for our US customers (in English, Spanish and Portuguese).
3. Are you hiring locally or bringing in existing team members from Vienna?
We are mainly hiring inside the US to get more of the American perspective — a lot of people underestimate the differences between the US and Europe. We recently transferred Benno Grottenegg from Vienna to California as Head of Operations and he is an important link between the US teams and Vienna. As we bring on new people in the US, it is vitally important to us that they understand the processes in Vienna and that they know their colleagues there. We keep a lively exchange between the two continents and send teams back and forth on a regular basis. That’s one of the perks you get when you’re working at mySugr (see job postings here).
4. What sort of atmosphere and culture are you hoping to create in this new space?
Finding the right people has always been a core element of our success. It started with the four founders back in 2012 and it has grown to 130 employees across both continents. We look at the cultural fit of a person as much as the skills. A candidate gets interviewed by a number of people and every interviewer has to approve the applicant. This might seem like a lengthy process, but it results in very loyal team members. In general, we foster an open, candid and fun working environment driven by outcome. The new space in Encinitas will allow these agile work processes to thrive.
5. Did you ever picture that you would be at this point --opening an office in San Diego-- when you founded mySugr in 2012?
My founders and I always hoped, or maybe rather dreamed, that we would become this successful. Our main vision has always been to “make diabetes suck less” for people. In 2017, mySugr was acquired by Roche and we were able to scale our business model and grow the company from 40 employees to 130 overall. We remain committed to our founding vision and we’ve worked hard to retain the enthusiasm and perseverance of a startup. Right now, that energy is being directed towards this new challenge of establishing inroads throughout the US healthcare market.
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