Lara Mott, CEO and Co-founder of ImproveWell 

Lara Mott, CEO and Co-founder of ImproveWell 

In this interview, Lara Mott explores her journey in co-founding ImproveWell, a platform for collecting real-time feedback from healthcare workers, to improve the quality of care and staff engagement. 

What motivated you to transition from your background in healthcare investment and life sciences consulting to co-founding ImproveWell? 

With a background in medical sciences, I advised many biotechnology clients at FTI Consulting and eventually held senior in-house roles with gene therapy company Oxford BioMedica plc and allergy company Circassia Pharmaceuticals plc. The UK biotechnology sector is an impressive, entrepreneurial environment – companies must secure significant investment to fund clinical trials and engage with multiple stakeholders throughout their journey to ultimately to prepare their markets for launch. I learnt a huge amount from working directly with C-level executives and boards who were passionate about bringing novel therapeutics to market and jumping all the unexpected hurdles along the way. So, when the opportunity to co-found ImproveWell arrived, I felt equipped to take on the challenge. 

How do you believe your early experiences and education in pharmacology have influenced your approach as CEO of ImproveWell? 

As a scientist by training, I like data and naturally take an evidence-based approach to most things which has ended up being one of our core values at ImproveWell. Much like designing and running a scientific experiment, the results you get along the way tend to influence your next steps. Things also don’t go to plan! Resilience is the ultimate skill that I observed very early on in my career. I tend to think clearly when things go ‘wrong’ because you have learnt something important. 

What has been the most significant challenge you’ve encountered thus far in your journey with ImproveWell and how did you overcome it to continue driving the company forward? 

Securing investment for ImproveWell over the years – amidst a pandemic and multiple economic downturns – has been the biggest challenge. We have some wonderful investors who have been with us since 2018 and we are backed by forward-thinking groups such as Angel Academe and Two Magnolias, however it takes a long time and put additional pressure on the business. As a company, we focus all our efforts on sales and marketing. Every single member of the team knows how their role contributes to the commercial success of the company. We jump each hurdle carefully and make sure that investors are aware of the operational progress that we make each year. 

In what ways do you think your leadership style has contributed to the growth and success of ImproveWell, particularly in expanding its operations both in the UK and internationally? 

I describe myself as someone with a Communications background. From my early days at FTI Consulting, implementing financial communications and PR strategies for biotechnology clients, to my in-house roles as Director of Corporate Affairs or Director of Investor Relations, strong communication with different audiences has been essential. For ImproveWell, I make sure that the expectations are clear – my team has annual, quarterly and monthly objectives. We are very open and transparent about what is working well and where we can improve – which is the essence of ImproveWell. We have a strong focus on clear communications and expectation management across our entire business, which ultimately means our customers are set up for success throughout their programmes. 

Can you elaborate on how you actively contribute to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, such as through your mentorship of other women in business and your talks to MBA students? 

My co-founder, Dr Na’eem Ahmed and I met at secondary school and we are both champions of education and continued professional development. Wherever possible, I will always offer my time to students and am privileged to have been asked by UCL’s Global Business School for Health and the Dragon’s Heart Institute’s Climb Leadership programme in Wales to share my experiences. I am usually mentoring a founder / founding team on a one-to-one basis every month which is very satisfying, particularly those at the start of their entrepreneurial journeys – I have been in their shoes and I know how hard it is. They have all the answers, sometimes they just need help to prioritise the 20 different plates that they are spinning. 

How do you envision the future of the broader HealthTech industry evolving and how does ImproveWell aim to position itself to thrive amidst these changes? 

It’s tough to predict what the future holds for HealthTech when your customers are healthcare systems and organisations that are under enormous pressure, but I expect any major system change will be slow. I hope that healthcare becomes more proactive over the next decade in using HealthTech for quality improvement, seeing the workforce as a smoke detector, spotting issues and tackling them before they go wrong. ImproveWell is a tailored, bespoke offering, which means we have and will continue to adapt easily, putting us in a strong position to thrive amidst whatever the future holds. 

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