Breaking News: Thomas Daniells Joins the epipole Senior Team

April 2, 2024

epipole Marketing recently caught up with the newest member of the Senior Team here, Thomas (Tom) Daniells, and had chance to speak about what he’s bringing to the table, what to expect for the future, and what we are going to be doing together to bring our vision and our product(s) to the world!

epipole Marketing (eM) and Tom Daniells (TD):

eM:        Firstly, allow me to be one of the first to say ‘Welcome aboard’ – we’re excited to have you join the company here at epipole!

TD:         Well thank you very much, excited to be here!

eM:        We have a few quick-fire type questions today to go through, to help give our readers an introduction to your good self, and to get people excited about the next steps for our company here. So, to kick things off, could you share with us a little about who you are, your background and what drew you to join our board?

TD:         OK, great question! Well, I’ve been in the ophthalmic industry for 30 plus years, with a wide variety of companies – from public to private, surgical to diagnostic, to clinical optometry and ophthalmology – it’s been a career that has spanned a lot of different scope.

Now, at the stage in my career where my next phase will be working with companies like epipole, to share what I can to help make them successful.

I know it’s hard out there, it’s certainly a challenging time and a challenging market, but I think you have a great product, one that can really make a difference – combined with that, I’m a commercial executive that has a track record of success I believe can really help to build the commercial strategy for the company, and position the product to help enable the doctors to deliver better care to their patient and building their practice.

That’s how you win in this space – by helping practitioners deliver greater value to their patients and helping them improve the lives of their patients too.

eM:        Amazing! OK, so in terms of ‘Why Us’ – When (and how) did you first become aware of epipole?

TD:         Ian Stevens (the Chairman of epipole) and I worked together at Optos for many years – We had a great partnership there in those early years of Optos, and that shared experience building the foundations for a fantastic partnership. So when he reached out to me about epipole, and said there was an opportunity to help, and I was all in! Ian and I are great friends and have a lot of mutual admiration so there was no hesitation working with him again.

eM:        Ian has been a driving force behind so much of the company – nothing but love and respect for the guy from working with him myself here at epipole.

TD:         Absolutely – To think back at what we accomplished back then, it’s definitely up there as one of the highlights of my career – taking a great idea, one that’s trying to get a foothold in the market, and through blood, sweat and tears you succeed. From a professional standpoint it’s very gratifying!

eM:        Well we’re thrilled to have your expertise on board! To expand on this, in terms of epipole today, what specific skills or experiences do you hope to bring to our organisation?

TD:         I would say my unique skillset is ability to see the big picture, and to see what the macro drivers in a market are, and then being able to break that down into the specifically actionable activities and tactics. Then leveraging good process, leveraging technology, and analysing and utilising best practice to do things like shorten sales cycles, increase close rates, and do what I can to shorten the sales process and make things happen faster.

eM:        Fantastic! OK, so in your opinion, what sets our organisation apart from others, and how do you see yourself helping us further stand out?

TD:         Immediately it was the core competencies that stood out; the understanding of the technology, the need for it, the technology itself, and the ability to have extremely experienced people who are knowledgeable in the right ways.

There is an opportunity to help focusing some of the commercial efforts, but that core engineering and leadership is everything to help understand the opportunities in product and how to move forwards with making it better and providing more opportunities for customers as we grow.

There is a need to sell and drive the business forwards there, but to your question about the ‘core competencies’, it all comes back down to the very smart, very intelligent people at the centre of the company building the best product possible – we have the right team, with the right values, and we need to look at how to reward these people in the right way too, to help get the most out of them.

eM:        And we are incredibly proud of the team and the people that work with is here – we’ve really built something very special where people are passionate about what they do, and we actively get excited to come into work – that’s rare!

TD:         It really is an impressive team, with some really very talented people in the company.

eM:        Absolutely! OK, so next question: Now as you mentioned, it’s a challenging market out there at the moment, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges we’re going to face, and how you may help us with those?

TD:         Specifically speaking about the eyecare industry in the United States, there’s a lot of challenges out there in terms of running a practice – staff, costs, money, concerns, patient expectations, quality of care, out of pocket expenses, and then you have technology changes. Technology of various forms is coming to market, offering to potentially solve a lot of problems, but then for the owners and medical professionals running these practices it’s often a case of there being a lot of uncertainty, and people asking, “which one to go for?” out of all of the options.

Running a successful practice is largely about understanding where revenue is coming from e.g., is it from medical, is it from retail – with increasing costs and reducing incomes, companies need to help the practices uncover the opportunities to grow their top line and bottom line. And the exciting thing is we can help them solve some of these challenges with the epiCam, so it’s then a case of how we communicate to these potential customers how exactly we can help with everything from increasing practice efficiency, to adding new patients to their books, to potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars on equipment.

There’s also the fact that there simply aren’t enough ophthalmologists to care for the aging eyes that are out there. Consequently, optometry needs to get better at what they do – it’s hard, it’s hard to look at the retina – so if we can make that easier, more accessible, helping them see the right patients at the right time, and helping them get what they need from their retinal imaging technology, that can add a lot of value to them and to their patients too.


eM:        So, focusing on the immediate future, what are your priorities for epipole over the next few months.

(laughing) – Revenue!

But more specifically – Helping refine the commercial organisation, and really synthesise the ‘go to market’ strategy for the product. Refining the ideal customer profiles – looking at are we going after the right people, helping the organisation with the commercial messaging, the tactical elements, and looking at how best to get the message out there will be the key next steps, in order to really focus on the commercialisation for epipole and how we can drive the sales forwards and help more people in their practices.

eM:        Exciting! OK, so, to your point earlier, it’s important for us to celebrate successes and milestones along the way. What achievements are you most looking forward to celebrating with our organisation?

TD:         Short term would be getting to celebrating selling the first 100 systems, and then building market momentum on top of these first adopters to mainstream optometry.

After that – Where to start?! We have a really well thought out R&D pipeline, a robust product life cycle map, and a good understanding of where we are going next, so building on the success with the current product and then expanding from there is exciting – staying ahead of the market with developments in things like digital healthcare is especially interesting, and we fit right into that evolving future with the upgrades and functionality we are already developing in house.

eM:        If you could summarize you’re vision for the future of epipole in just three words, what would they be?

Ultimately, those three words I think would be: “Improved retinal care”, through digital solutions, new technology, and facilitating new ways of working for our partners, both now and with all the developments planned for the future too.

eM:        Fantastic – OK, so, finally, what message or advice would you like to share with our team as we embark on this journey together this year?

TD:         Message to everyone at epipole: embrace the opportunity!

It’s a unique opportunity to bring a powerful technology to the marketplace. Through your hard work and execution of our strategy, we’re going to help a lot of practices, and a lot of patients, and we want to have fun along the way!

Stay on target. Work out the plan, stick to it, and all pull together in the same direction, and there is no limit to what we can achieve.

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