Dr Roisin Molloy, featured in the The Irish Times ahead of prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland Finals
Article featured in the Irish Times.
Written by Peter Hamilton,
When Roisin Molloy was visiting her ill sister in hospital, she saw the unnecessary distress caused by continually waking patients to take their temperature. Having decided that there must be an easier way, Molloy developed the idea for her contactless thermometer product, TRITEMP™.
Her medical technology company, TriMedika, was founded in 2016 after a rigorous 18-month design, development and launch phase for her flagship product. And while there was a clear need for the product before the pandemic, the Covid-19 crisis was a boon for the company.
Molloy cites as a game changer coverage of TRITEMP™ on the Late Late Show and the fact that the HSE used her thermometers in all Covid screening centres and acute hospitals.
The company now sells its wares in 21 countries through both hospitals and distribution partners. While Ireland and Britain are the company’s key markets, it has also launched into Germany and Austria and plans to enter the United State later this year. Within three years, Molloy anticipates that revenue at the business will reach about £50 million (€58.6 million) with non-contact thermometers mandated in every hospital.
What vision/lightbulb moment prompted you to start-up in business?
After a long day of chemotherapy my sister turned and said to me: “If the nurse wakes me to stick that thermometer in my ear again, I’m going to jump out of the window”. I’m a scientist who believes any problem can be solved. So, while I couldn’t change my sister’s illness, I knew that I could make her much more comfortable and that’s been TriMedika’s driving force position from the beginning.
What is your business model and how is it unique?
In 2016, long before Covid, we realised that contact thermometers are a huge source for infection, but at that time non-contacts weren’t fit for use in hospitals. To improve vital patient care worldwide with technology that safeguards patients and carers, we designed a non-contact infrared thermometer, accurate and robust enough for use in the hospital clinical wards. TRITEMP™ has been precision engineered to be used 40,000 times.
What was your ‘back-to-the-wall’ moment and how did you overcome it?
During peak Covid, at a time when our hospitals needed devices to save lives, we were informed that our shipments were stuck in customs and were not getting released. After hours of calling, I found someone with a network of customs agents in every country. Her contacts got eyes on our shipments and legally challenged officials to let them through – that’s one phone number I’ll never lose.
What is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
Some entrepreneurs spend all their time chasing venture capital for funding, taking their eye off revenue generation. Companies grow and succeed on revenue, and entrepreneurs need to plan in three stages for start up, scale up, and to be market leader. Each stage is very different and requires the right processes, tools and metrics for success.
What were the best and the worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
The worst advice was “investment is a mark of success”. It is a first success, but the work only begins there. Generating revenue is the real mark of success. The best advice was: “Don’t listen to naysayers – prove them wrong and if it’s not a ‘hell yea’ then it’s a ‘hell no’.” This has helped in many decisions.
What are the big disruptive forces in your industry?
Three key disruptive forces to date are Covid, Brexit and regulatory change from the Medical Device Directive (MDD) to Medical Device Regulation (MDR). Covid caused a huge boost to sales and brought non-contact thermometers into hospitals, but this also opened a gateway for inferior quality thermometers. TRITEMP™ is much more than an accurate clinical non-contact thermometer – it is a precision engineered tool for accuracy, designed to positively impact and better control infection.