Colin Matthews, a past member of our EPIC Fall Founders Program, and a current member of our EPIC Incubation Program, discusses his startup, Walk-in Express, and his path since his experience at EPICentre with our Globalink Research Intern from Mexico, Juliet Garcia.
Juliet: Can you briefly describe your startup?
Colin: Walk-in Express! It’s an online booking tool for primary care positions, meaning either family doctors or walk-in clinics. I started with the idea specifically for walk-in clinics, but since starting at Founders I found that it’s probably going to have a better fit with family doctors. I learned a lot of things working with walk-in clinics, but it makes more sense with family doctors. You want to see a Doctor, you go to Walk-in Express, and you can see a list of appointments that your doctor has made available. You can then book one of those appointments online at any time, unlike the regular system, where the only way you can get in contact with your doctor is via the phone and only during office hours. In the practitioner’s view, they are able to collect data of the patients booking appointments and their needs to offer a better service.
Juliet: What was the moment that you realized the business opportunity you had with Walk-in Express?
Colin: I actually wanted to do it for emergency rooms. It’s a massive problem in Canada. People frequently wait from 4 to 6 hours to see a doctor in an emergency room, but there were a lot of problems in trying to do that digitally. Suddenly, I moved over to the walk-in clinic’s idea, and I thought this could be a legitimate thing when I started calling walk-in clinics to see if they’d be interested and they say they would be interested in using and paying for my product. At that time I was like, ok, someone actually wants this.
Another big moment was when I was conducting market research. I discovered that half of Canadians can’t get an appointment with their doctors after 4 pm. I found an opportunity in that so I am positioning myself to be the person to alleviate that pain for Ontarians.
Juliet: What has been the role of EPICentre with the creation of Walk-in express?
Colin: Without funders and EPICentre I probably wouldn’t have done it. There is this idea that the people at Founders are very self confident, they fail and they get back up and I don’t fit that persona, I wouldn’t have the confidence to keep going without the validation that I got from founders, it was nice to have a dedicated time with people around doing similar things.
Also, the RBC EPIC Business Model Canvas Competition had a great impact on me for the same reason, there was all these people that either had already some success or they were further on than I was. I guess it’s thanks to the culture that you have the opportunity to focus, get inspired, avoid distractions and work hard on your project.
Juliet: What are the top three skills every entrepreneur should have?
- Being able to inspire other people and trust them enough to work on whatever it is you care about. (Leadership and delegation)
- Being able to pick up skills quickly and be always open to learn
- Networking, it taught me a lot. I obtained my current job because of Founders!
Juliet: Do you have any special habit that has been with you through this path?
Colin: I just try to make progress every day! It’s really easy to get strapped with other life stuff when you are working independently.
Juliet: How important do you think early connections are?
Colin: It’s very important, it’s the most important thing! If you look at really successful entrepreneurs, people raising a million dollars, they know people that actually have a million dollars or they know someone who can connect them with the right people.
Juliet: What’s the most valuable thing that being an entrepreneur has allowed you to do?
Colin: Work in something that I’m passionate about. The main reason why I spend that much time on this is because it’s work that I really care about, and it’s not really about making money. I´m trying to build a product that has value for people and that, for me, is the most valuable thing.
Juliet: Would you call yourself an entrepreneur?
Colin: No, absolutely not. I don’t think you deserve that term when you are still working on a product or service. I think I have entrepreneurial tendencies and that I’m an entrepreneurial person. I am certainly on that path but I haven’t done anything yet.
Juliet: How do you define success?
Colin: On the one hand, personal success is about producing value for people. It’s the most important thing and it doesn’t necessarily have to be through business. I just like to do things that can benefit other people. I could volunteer all the time just to benefit someone with something I’m good at. On the other hand, success for a startup will be a business model that makes sense and that produces value.
Juliet: What would be your advice to young people reading this?
Colin: Just try different things. I put a lot of time and energy into a lot of things. It might seem like a waste of time when switching into something else, but it’s not. As long as you learn something at the end of the day, then it’s worth it! Pick something and try it 100% and then if you decide you don’t like it, you didn’t lose anything. It’s ok if you change your mind. It’s better to act on an idea than to do nothing at all.
EPICentre thanks Colin for his time and we wish him nothing but success with his future entrepreneurial endeavours!