By GREGORY ZELLER //
It’s not the first time entrepreneur Don Marchon has pivoted, but for surgeons and surgical patients around the world, this one might be the most important.
It’s been almost two years since the former Hewlett-Packard Co. exec refocused his 2002 startup, Remote Meeting Technologies, on the healthcare community. Originally designed to provide cutting-edge remote-meeting capabilities for any commercial user – this was before GoToMeeting and Skype – RMT’s brightest future, according to its founder, was always in medicine.
So, in 2014, RMT changed its stage name to Remote Medical Technologies and centered its patented streaming video and authentication tech on telepathology, allowing pathologists, surgeons and other medical practitioners to share real-time imagery – including high-definition internal scans, live from the OR – with unprecedented clarity.
Now Marchon is kicking Melville-based RMT into higher gear. Already into its second generation of telemedicine products, Remote Medical Technologies is going to market with an advanced teleultrasound device, and Marchon is beating the bricks to raise $5 million in capital, with an eye on expanded R&D, marketing and IT-infrastructure operations.
While RMT is decidedly focused on the future of Internet-based communications, its origins track back to the earliest days of the World Wide Web. Marchon was a longtime executive at HP, where he rose to lead a team of global managers primarily responsible for HP’s strategic partnerships. Specifically, Marchon’s minions focused on creating unique IT infrastructures with major-league partners including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Computer Associates.
The work had Marchon rubbing elbows with a who’s-who of IT giants. He was on a first-name basis with Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and worked closely with Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar to bring CA’s Unicenter network mode manager to market.
While he “absolutely loved driving strategic partnerships worldwide,” the job involved almost 90 percent travel – “My kids called me ‘Uncle Dad’ and my wife called me things I can’t mention” – and Marchon was eventually lured by the bright lights of a New York City dotcom.
Joining the fledgling Intellisys Electronic Commerce also gave Marchon a chance to fulfill one of his longtime dreams, to help start a company “like Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard did.”
Unfortunately for Marchon, Intellisys Electronic Commerce followed a trajectory similar to many turn-of-the-millennium dotcoms, rising from 50 employees to 500, regularly setting monthly revenue records … and then crashing, all within one year.
It was an educational experience, according to Marchon, and the primary lesson was this: Intellisys might have been a bust, but the Internet was here to stay.
Combined with lessons gleaned from the topflight executives he’d worked with – particularly Hewlett, “one of the people I really look up to” – the experience convinced Marchon to strike out on his own. His target: Internet-based videoconferencing, which at the time was in its infancy.
Back at HP, the need for quality videoconferencing had been clear. Marchon’s teams often met with counterparts in partner organizations to whiteboard ideas and designs, and “if the right person wasn’t available or we didn’t communicate effectively, the whole thing came to a standstill,” he noted.
Some sort of remote, on-demand conferencing solution was required. But at the time, such options were limited: Before everyday choices like WebEx, videoconferencing was point-to-point and expensive and had “limitations with regards to utility,” according to Marchon.
So the innovator, who holds an MBA in finance from Hofstra University, came up with Remote Meeting Technologies, “one of if not the first” browser-based videoconferencing platforms.
As videoconferencing mainstreamed, the company developed, providing its state-of-the-art conferencing tech to clients across a broad range of industries. But videoconferencing technologies advanced quickly, and the things that made RMT unique – affordability, browser-based access virtually everywhere – were soon commonplace.
And RMT, Marchon knew, was spread too thin.
“I went very broad, as opposed to focusing and going deep into the market sector I really wanted to go after,” he noted. “The truth is, I always had my eye on medicine.”
Marchon acknowledges a longtime fascination with medical science, reinforced by recent health issues among family members. In 2006, when RMT’s proprietary streaming video and security protocols earned a U.S. patent, the CEO was already pushing toward a primary healthcare focus; by 2014, the Melville company had pivoted and was officially doing business as Remote Medical Technologies.
It still has some “grandfathered” clients from the Remote Meeting days, Marchon added, but RMT’s future path is clear, particularly with the iMedHD2 Teleultrasound System set to debut.
“I’ve watched the technology evolve all along, so I could make our product better and bring it into the medical space,” he said. “I wanted it to be something that wasn’t nice to have, but something they needed to have.”
One of RMT’s biggest breakthroughs is also one of its smallest: real-time imaging on the sub-nuclear level; it can transmit images from a digital microscope or “any other medical device that has the ability share video,” Marchon noted.
Another advantage: the RMT development team’s ability to “deploy mission-critical security technologies,” something that was previously “nonexistent” in the realm of medical-imagery transmissions, the CEO added.
Those security protocols, the wide range of HD imagery the iMedHD2 systems can provide and the systems’ dynamic mobility give Marchon exactly what he’s always wanted: a hot startup combining groundbreaking technology with the soul of mentors like Packard and Wang.
Now all he needs is some operating capital. Marchon presented RMT at the Jan. 22 Long Island Capital Alliance Healthcare Forum, a Melville pitch-a-thon that put medical-minded firms before a roomful of potential investors. It was the first time the founder ever pitched his company to investors, but it likely won’t be the last.
“We’re in the early stage of raising capital,” he said. “There’s dialogue, but it’s all early.”
While his seven-member team can handle its current workload, how fast Marchon can grow RMT depends on how fast he can raise that $5 million.
“This is a purpose-built solution specifically for the use of physicians who want an immediate look at gorgeous imagery that shows exactly what’s happening medically, remotely in real time,” he said. “That’s what they need to make quick decisions.
“We’re going to grow, one way or another,” Marchon added. “The only question is how long it will take.”