We recently sat down with Butterfly Network VP of Product, Matthew de Jonge, to discuss the democratization of healthcare products and how they’re making a difference in the face of a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for everyone the world over. It helps, as Mr. Rogers would say to look for the helpers. We’re honored to be sharing their stories with you in our Product Talk podcast series on “The Role of Product in a Pandemic.”
Democratizing healthcare products is more important than ever during these trying times. This is the second episode in our podcast series on The Role of Product in a Pandemic. In case you missed it, check out the previous episode on “Innovating Products for a Pandemic.” You can listen to the full episode of Product Talk with Matthew de Jonge or check out the highlights below:
On how Butterfly Network is democratizing healthcare products during the pandemic
It’s been amazing to see the way various companies have stepped up to help.
“We’ve released what we’ve been working on for a long time. We decided to accelerate the release in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s been incredibly exciting to see on Twitter. Physicians are using this tool to conserve PPE to conserve their protective equipment.
Whereby they’ll have one person in full PPE holding the Butterfly ultrasound machine scanning patients. Meanwhile, a group of physicians is safely in another room interpreting, guiding, collaborating over the ultrasound. So, it has been really, truly fulfilling, and exciting for the team to see this technology we envisioned to play a role in the management of this crisis. Helping physicians at the frontlines stay safe and conserve PPE.”
Widespread access has always been the goal for Butterfly Network
The focus on democratizing healthcare products was a day one goal for Butterfly Network.
“It’s surprising how little it’s changed. The goal is to democratize access to medical imaging. The premise here is that if you think about how much the world has changed in the last 40 years it’s been profound. We’re talking right now on a Skype call. I’ve got three supercomputers just around me that I can take for granted and use every day to look at pictures of my friends.
It’s that the world is very different than 40 years ago. I don’t have a typewriter in my home. That’s again, all thanks to the transition to the semiconductor and the billions and billions of dollars over time that has been invested in building denser, more efficient, faster chips and a whole bunch of wonderful software on top of them. However, medicine, in particular, medical imaging has changed very, very little during the same time.”
On how we worked his way up to VP of Product at Butterfly Network
In his own words, de Jonge sought out “this quirky serial entrepreneur in Connecticut working on trying to get medical imaging, ultrasound onto and semiconductor platform.” He found his diamond in the rough.
“I joined as one of the first product managers. It was a situation where I was happy to mop the floors. It didn’t matter to me what we were going to do. At the time, you know, there was a basic proof of principle. Possibly that there was a chip and ultrasonic chip that worked. No real product definition, no real notion for what was going to be built for whom what it had to do, what its gonna look like, what was going to be priced, how is it going to be distributed what the markets of interest were.
However, there were important elements. There was a team, there was a founder with a singular vision. They had a lot of resources that had been brought to bear. The company had already raised like $100 million. And so it was a really cool substrate. Wonderful opportunity for me to dig in and over time worked my way up. I worked my way up to sort of owning the product management function across all the different elements of our technology ecosystem.”
About the speaker
Matthew de Jonge studied mechanical engineering at Princeton University and upon graduation, started work at Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. At Bridgewater, Matt served as an assistant to the CEO, and went on to build the company's first AI team with Dave Ferrucci, creator of IBM's Watson. After 5 years at Bridgewater, Matt left to join Butterfly Network, an early-stage startup determined to build the world's first ultrasound machine on a chip. Three years later, Butterfly Network succeeded in releasing the Butterfly iQ - the world's most affordable, portable and versatile ultrasound machine. Today Matt is VP of Product at Butterfly Network, overseeing a team of Product Managers and Designers focused on making safe medical imaging a ubiquitous and universally-accessible part of healthcare delivery.
About the host
Samantha Scott has carved an active history in product management, starting with NexJ Systems and moving from AppNexus to Etsy. Samantha is currently pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School to further enhance her business acumen. Prior to that, she was the Director of Product Management at Capsule, a healthcare technology that provides clinical surveillance and medical device integration. Her career is backed by a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Before delving into products and product management, Samantha served as Toronto Hydro’s Compliance and Quality Analyst and TD’s Business Analyst.