Teri Thomas is the CEO of Volpara Health, a company that makes software to save families from cancer. She generously agreed to MC the 2023 TIN Report Launch and Awards.
How did the TIN Report Launch and Awards go?
It was a fun event highlighting the importance of technology to New Zealand’s economy, filled with energy and a welcome bit of humour. I personally appreciated the opportunity to read about, and highlight, numerous movers and shakers in the New Zealand technology ecosystem. It was great to step out of my own field of healthcare and hear about innovations in areas like transportation and agriculture.
What was your high and your low of the evening?
A high of the evening was having a fun conversation with Judith Collins, National’s Spokesperson for Science, Innovation and Technology as well as Foreign Direct Investment, Land Information and Digitising Government. When I explained I wanted to reference her “crushing it” (alluding to her nickname as “the Crusher”) I knew it could go just fine or horribly wrong. She thought it was funny, and I was happy to not accidentally step into what we from Wisconsin call a “cowpie”.
The low of the evening was trying to read notes printed out in 9 point font, and failing miserably at discerning the difference between an “L” and an “I” as well as reading and pronouncing Tairāwhiti correctly. I appreciate the good humour of the audience helping me out, and the good spirited Javln team graciously accepting my apology for calling them Javin!
Did you find value in the event as a CEO?
Absolutely. I enjoyed getting to know some of the other influential and exciting companies in New Zealand and I always find it valuable to network with other CEOs. The TIN event included several leaders who are also purpose- and science-driven, like Dr Peter Meintjes of Pacific Edge; it’s great to see there are numerous other Kiwi companies on a mission to make the world better.
What’s been Volpara’s highlight of 2023? And what lies ahead in 2024?
Volpara has had a HUGE year so I will provide three equal highlights.
- Our first ever cashflow positive year, more than a year ahead of our guidance.
- We’ve crossed a threshold to now have over 100 million images at our disposal to improve our current AI products and develop new market-leading ones.
- We are releasing a brand new breast health product called BRA. Just kidding. Yes we have a new product coming out, but we’ve named the product Quiver. In all seriousness, it’s very important for our staff/time-poor industry, as it will reduce the need for manual data entry at our customers’ mammography sites and open up time for them to focus on patients.
What makes Volpara unique?
While I could talk about AI, everyone is talking about AI, so that’s not unique, even if it is a big focus for us. If I had to say how we are truly different, I’d address our culture. Volpara is a mission-driven certified B Corporation with dedicated staff who are truly passionate about saving families from cancer. I am really lucky to be at the helm of a company that has coworkers with such deep care about our purpose. That purpose and culture resonates with who I am as a person, which makes going to work really energizing. My team is great and what we do makes an impact.