Meet The Disruptors: Lior Kuyer Of SignalPET On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Asa part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lior Kuyer.

Lior is a serial entrepreneur, business executive and experienced hands-on leader. As co-founder and CEO of SignalPET, Lior uses his vast experience building companies and bringing disruptive products to market, to help change the way veterinarians deliver care to their patients.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Iwas born and raised in a Kibbutz in Israel. If you are not familiar with the “kibbutz,” it is a fascinating concept and I would recommend those who are not familiar with it, read more about it. I believe that this very unique environment had an impact on many that were raised this way. It enabled me to learn self-discipline, a strong work ethic and out-of-the-box thinking.

I also spent a number of years as a child in The Netherlands which gave me the ability to learn new languages and adapt to different cultures.

My military service taught me to push beyond what I believe is possible. It also strengthened my discipline, leadership skills and ability to work well with others.

I have always been interested in technology. More so, in innovation. I have always viewed technology as an enabler which led me to study computer programming and then Machine Learning. When I finished grad school in 2007, I remember one of my professors confidently telling me that in ten years or so, Machine Learning will be one of the fastest growing areas in technology. It was interesting to hear. Especially since around that time, there wasn’t much work in ML. Most of it was still academic research.

After working for a few years, I knew it was time to pursue my dream to become an entrepreneur and that is what I have been doing since. Building innovative companies that solve real problems, and disrupt the status quo with superior solutions.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

SignalPET disrupted the status quo of Radiographic reading. It established a new gold standard for veterinary x-ray interpretation. What was once considered “art,” “subjective,” “difficult,” slow and expensive, has been transformed into a real scientific and evidence-based solution that is more accurate, much faster and far more cost-effective than any other solution to this point.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There was a time when I wasted three months trying to train AI using thousands of existing radiology reports. I assumed the reports were correct and that the problem was technical. I learned that humans are subjective and that there is no standard for radiographic interpretation by experts. I assume the same exists in other fields as well.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My two most influential mentors are Dr. Neil Shaw, my co-founder at SignalPET, and my wife.

Having already built a very large company, aside from also having immense wisdom, Neil has always helped me tackle any challenge. Be it a business or personal challenge.

Nati, my wife, is my biggest supporter. She is always there, always believing in me, and always helping. It has been a long journey for us both since my decision to become an entrepreneur. It is not something that I believe can be easily accomplished without full support of the family. They need to be “all in” as well.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

The word “disruption” can be misleading. Without context, disruption can be viewed as negative because it “disturbs” or “interrupts” something. However, it is positive when it solves a real pain point for someone. It is disruptive when it does that at scale and positively impacts all involved. That can be, for example, in improved experience, time and cost.

Can you please share 5 ideas one needs to shake up their industry?

1. Product market fit: Understand your customer and the value you can provide them. I spent months visiting veterinary practices to understand the value SignalPET will be creating for them.

2. Unit of Economics: Be sure to have a proper unit of economics for your product. How much can you sell your product for? Especially when you’re creating a new market that didn’t exist prior. This was the case for SignalPET. Selling an AI-based product for radiographic interpretation did not exist so we had to carefully determine the correct UoE.

3. Persistence: Bootstrapping is never easy. You must be very persistent to succeed. It takes time and tons of effort, failures and disappointments before experiencing real success.

4. Adaptability. You must be able to adapt. If something is not working, adapt. Never swim against the current. We thought we’d be able to launch a completely different version of the product. We pivoted quickly and adapted based on the feedback of early adopters.

5. Selflessness: it’s not about you and it never has been. You are here to support your customers and your team.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We will continue to disrupt the status quo by introducing high (artificial) intelligence that is available 24/7 to veterinarians to use in other areas. I can’t disclose the exact details but we are going to shake things up quite a bit.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Yes. I’ll name a few.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman because it helps one train in the art of how to effectively react. I have had to do this numerous times in my work with SignalPET. Especially when making key decisions whether product, commercial or team related. It’s important to know which system to use and when for the best outcomes. It’s very unlikely that using only one or the other will lead to success.

There are many good books that focus on meditation and the importance of breathing. One such book is Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book has helped me increase my consciousness and clarity as well as staying focused and calm under pressure. As a CEO, staying focused and calm is critical, especially when the team is relying on your support and direction. This is key to keeping my priorities on the well-being of pets and their pet parents.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There are a number of them that come to mind but I will go ahead and share the one I find most relevant.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

While I am not sure who wrote this quote, it is often wrongly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

It is relevant to any entrepreneur that challenges the status quo. You have to remind yourself why you are doing it and of those you are helping because true disruption will come with very strong resistance from very strong influencers. You will need to stay true to your path, show resilience and be up for the greatest challenge of your life. You must know that you are doing the right thing and that you are going to win. You are not doing it for you, it is not about you. You win because of those you are helping. It is about them. Always.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is a difficult question to answer. Possibly, I would focus on a movement that helps individuals figure out what they really want to do, provides them with the right tools to do so and helps set them on a productive path towards accomplishing their goals. I think it is important to find what “makes you tick.” What do you want to do when you wake up in the morning? What do you really want to accomplish? I think it gives strength, resilience and helps people focus on what matters to them most in life.

How can our readers follow you online?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!