Tech Firm’s Services Within Reach
May 21st, 2015
As a lawyer, Mandy Woodland specializes in offering entrepre-neurs affordable legal advice. Now, she’s also CEO of Caetum, a tech startup that aims to make clinical research easier and more successful.
Woodland said Caetum will create a cloud-based application for budgeting and organizing clinical trials that will be cheaper, easier to use and offer better predictive analysis than competing products.
“Our product will make it easier for researchers to budget. That will lead to more successful trials, and more successful trials are good for patients.
“Our application will also be available to researchers working in other areas.”
Caetum grew out of Woodland’s participation in the master of technology entrepreneurship and innovation program at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
It had seemed the right fit for Woodland when she was looking to further her education, which already included degrees in science from Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L., and law from Halifax’s Dalhousie University.
Once in the program, St. John’s-based Woodland met her initial co-founders and began the task of developing a notification platform with health-care and clinical trial applications.
Interviews with potential users revealed that those involved in running clinical trials struggled with budgeting. Interviewees said they found similar existing products expensive and time-consuming to use.
The Caetum founders are creating a beta version of their application. If tests go well, they hope to have the product on the market by next spring.
Working on Caetum is just one more responsibility for Woodland, who already has many professional and volunteer roles.
She owns Mandy Woodland Law and also operates the Canadian practice of Damsel in Defense, a legal education course. Both aim to provide entrepreneurs with accessible legal understanding and protection.
“Most startups face the same issues,” she said. “They find it hard to access funds and professional services because they’re bootstrapping their businesses.
“I wanted to find a way to help. Getting away from expensive hourly billing was important. I found clients refused to make preventative phone calls until something went wrong. I wanted to fix that.”
Her newest venture is a partnership with digital strategist and public relations consultant Karen Moores. Their new venture, Moores Woodland, will allow them to offer consulting services in digital media and privacy.
Woodland said she didn’t expect to get a startup out of the Saint Mary’s program, although Caetum is a natural progression for someone with a background in medical research and law.
“I wanted skills applicable to everything I do, but it’s turned out well.”
Woodland’s interest in law was first piqued when she took a course in criminology as part of her undergraduate degree in science.
After finishing her science degree, she began working in medical research. She found she liked the work but disliked her working environment. When a friend in law school encouraged her to study law, she was tempted but cautious.
“It’s a big leap to give up work to take on an expensive program and move to another province.”
These days, her volunteer roles include acting as chairwoman of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries. She’s also a board member at the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs.
She said the entrepreneurship program gave her a better understanding of herself, as well as a new company.
“We were asked to examine why we do what we do. I realized I’d felt driven to help people for as long as I could remember.
“My father’s an entrepreneur and my brother is also entrepreneurial. I work with entrepreneurs who are changing the world and helping others. It makes me happy to help them.”