Trace the building blocks of Stuart Bracken’s career, and you’ll find doses of paternal advice, academic fundamentals and macro experience in New York.
His father’s financial services company gave him early glimpses of what it took to be an entrepreneur and develop a company that could hire people. But in the last 10 years, Bracken has made plenty of hires himself as he’s helped start six businesses. Bracken says he became interested in entrepreneurship during the heart of the dot-com days.Finding a solution to a problem and making it more efficient with technology makes it effective. This is how you build a sustainable technology company.
Along the way, Bracken earned business and accounting degrees from Wake Forest University and, in 2007, an MBA with a focus on Finance and Entrepreneurship from Emory’s Goizueta Business School. In late 2014, he was honored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle with a place on the annual “40 under 40” list.
The publication noted that Bracken started as a serial entrepreneur at just 23-years-old.
His six company-starts ranged from a mobile commerce startup, to a networking platform, to most recently a healthcare technology company, called Bioscape Digital.
“What they all have in common is that they don’t rely on technology for the sake of technology, as that doesn’t work,” Bracken said. “Finding a solution to a problem and making it more efficient with technology makes it effective. This is how you build a sustainable technology company.”
Bracken, 34, said Bioscape helps provide a better patient experience in hospitals. It also has applicability in other industries, such as banks, restaurants and airlines.
“Healthcare providers recognized that their required day to day tasks alone were not sufficient, what is required is making an extra effort to care for their patient.,” Bracken said. “It’s these extra efforts that have demonstrated to have a significant impact on their patient’s care. Bioscape Digital enables healthcare workers to deliver better care in a time-efficient manner. Going to a hospital is not an enjoyable experience, so we’re helping hospitals better engage patients and the results are patients are more satisfied and they are getting better care.”
Bioscape began a little more than two years ago. Its primary offering is a specially-designed tablet platform that resides in each hospital room. Bracken said the company spent its first year studying the problem and how patients were being impacted, while the second year has been devoted to proving benefits and commercialization.
Hospitals see Bioscape’s product and service as personalizing and providing value to a healthcare system. The business is aligning to the consumer (patient), and Bracken said Bioscape is meeting the market at a perfect time.
“Every day I strive to add value and create a positive impact on society, and I believe for me, the best way to do this is by being an entrepreneur,” Bracken told the Chornicle. “Entrepreneurs are constantly pushing innovation, creating new jobs, and making wealth for society as a whole. Those three things make me an avid supporter of entrepreneurship and it make me feel passionate about what I do every day.”
At Emory, Bracken said he collected an academic baseline that allows him to be conversant in each of the topics he faces on a daily basis.
People like Charlie Goetz, a Distinguished Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Goizueta Business School and a successful serial entrepreneur in his own right, helped guide Bracken through situations he’s encountered while growing businesses. Goetz said Bracken understands what is necessary to build a business before he even starts one.
“I thought so highly of [him] and what he’s doing in Bioscape, that I invested my time and money in it,” Goetz said.
While good product concepts are important in building a successful business, the most important item by far is not an idea but good management execution. Goetz said Bracken understands how to grow a successful business because he takes time to understand what customers really want and then he delivers it.
“While most of the business disciplines are all about getting the correct answers, entrepreneurship is really all about asking the right questions, and that’s what the best entrepreneurs do so well,” said Goetz, who added he believes Bracken is poised for rapid growth.I think the key is not pretending to know everything, but rather knowing the right person to ask. What I love most about being an entrepreneur is creating jobs.
At Goizueta, Bracken gained access to alumni and a full range of professors, many experts in industries that cover a range of business expertise.
“I think the key is not pretending to know everything, but rather knowing the right person to ask,” Bracken said. “What I love most about being an entrepreneur is creating jobs.”
That has proven to be very rewarding for Bracken.
He encourages students to consider an entrepreneurial path rather than defaulting to a corporate or large organizational setting. Not everything has gone smoothly in the last 10 years but Bracken said that’s part of the entrepreneurial practice — something you have to recognize when you start a business. He says he has learned tough lessons, such as scaling a business too quickly; utilizing the wrong business model; or hiring fast and firing slowly, which can all have materially negative consequences. He likes to take some lessons he’s learned and pass them along to students, like some of his professors did, knowing that he made his own mistakes and understands that there are some things you have to learn yourself.