Brad and Heidi Jannenga are co-founders of WebPT and winners of last year’s Leadership Excellence spotlight award for Arizona’s Most Admired Companies.
Paul Winandy, WebPT
Paul Winandy, CEO at WebPT, shares what it is like to be the CEO of WebPT, which provides physical therapists with a Web-based electronic medical records system.
How did you end up as CEO of WebPT?
There is a group in town called the Arizona Technology Investor Forum, which focuses on early-stage technology investing. I was the managing director of that angel group, and I met (WebPT founders) Brad and Heidi Jannenga when they came in to present to the group. I looked over their strategy and vision and was really impressed and really enjoyed what they were bringing to the table.
Video by Cory Bergquist
What qualities do you have that helped WebPT triple in size in 2011?
My background is all in early stage technology startups. I’ve done about five in my career. My experience is taking those companies from the early stages and growing them to $10 million or $12 million in revenue. I’ve been through the wars and I’ve been through the battles, so I know what to do in terms of building the right team, bringing in the right resources and being able to grow the company fast.
What qualities do you think an effective CEO needs?
You have to be able to rely on your team. You have to realize what you bring to the table and you have to realize what you need to build out. In early-stage technology companies like WebPT, you have to have the ability to be able to get in there and get your hands dirty. I like that part of it. I like to be a hands-on CEO. But once you build up the team, you have to have the ability to let go and let that team be successful.
Are there benefits to starting a technology company in Arizona?
We’re a little bit under the radar in terms of the Silicon Valley mentality. In Silicon Valley, the mentality is “let’s get a great idea and get a little proof of the concept and then raise a bunch of money.” You can’t do that here in Arizona. You have to build a product that is out on the market generating sales before you can go out and raise a lot of money.
Are there any obstacles to starting a tech company in Arizona?
As much as being under the radar is beneficial, sometimes it’s nice to be out there in the spotlight so you can get the right talent. Phoenix has some phenomenally talented people, but we’re not as deep in the technology area as some other parts of the country.
Where do you see WebPT growing?
We need to stay focused on the physical therapy industry because that will allow us to be laser focused. There is a great market there. It’s a niche market, but it’s developing and it’s a very open and a very green field ready to embrace and adopt technology. There are about 30,000 physical therapy clinics and we have 2,100 now, so about eight percent of the market. So if we focus on that and become the dominant player, we’re going to have a nice, long track record.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a technology company in Arizona?
Solve a business need with whatever product you’re trying to develop. To be successful, it has to be something that is going to have a market demand. There are a lot of great ideas, but they cannot figure out how to make it solve a business need and get that first customer. So find out what is needed, create a way to solve that business need, and then go to market on that basis.
- Over the course of his 20-year career, Winandy has been an executive leader in four successful technology businesses, two of which were named to the Inc. 500 list and were later acquired by public firms.
- For several years prior to WebPT, Winandy was an active business advisor and angel investor in fast-growing technology companies.
- Before his advisory practice, Winandy was COO of SkillSurvey, a startup web services firm providing online reference assessment tools. Before that, he was director of strategic accounts for Khimetrics, a leading enterprise software firm specializing in revenue.