Entrepreneurs Unplugged meeting with Mike Checkley at Accelerate Okanagan
More and more interesting business events have been happening in Kelowna, BC recently. On March 6, 2017, Accelerate Okanagan with Grant Thornton invited the community members to a meeting with Mike Chuckley, President of QHR Technologies where he told the story of his success. The meeting was part of a series titled Entrepreneurs Unplugged.
Mike is an EMR (Electronic Medical Records) software Subject Matter Expert and one of the Co-Founders and Developers of QHR’s flagship Accuro EMR which has grown to be Canada’s leading EMR solution.
Recognized as one of BC’s and Canada’s top employers, QHR has grown to be one of the larger tech employers in Kelowna, employing more than 200 workers. (source AccelarateOkanagan.com).
Mike also has experience working with and mentoring technology startups and is active in the Okanagan technology community.
The event in Accelerate Okanagan lasted about two hours. During the first part, Mike would tell his story of how he started, and how the company got to where they are now. After that, the audience (students, investors, business owners and employees of local tech companies) had a chance to ask the guest speaker their questions.
How did Mike start?
As a classic start-up (see our blog post about idea validation for start-ups, especially the part regarding starting small). In a rented space somewhere on Kirschner Rd. On a folding table with a couple of computers and a business partner, great idea and one customer, who the company kept until today! The company grew from a couple to ten, twenty to reach roughly 250 employees today. What a great success especially that not too long ago Loblaws – one of the largest grocery store chain purchased QHR. There is no better confirmation of a start-up’s success than being approached by a large publically traded company (over 200 000 employees).
What is QHR’s success?
Similarly to Astra Software, QHR uses the Agile and Lean approach in its projects. The product started small and eventually grew to its current size driven by customer feedback and proper Product Management. One thing that Mike is no worried about is losing the flexibility of being a small company now that they are growing so rapidly. What a great problem to have.
The meeting took place at the new Accelerate Okanagan building called Okanagan Innovation Centre. The building is not open yet, and it is still getting its final touches. It’s impressive to see how rapidly the tech community is growing in Kelowna. One look at the intersection on St Paul and Doyle and one block further to Doyle and Ellis and anyone can see the progress AO has made. With the new Interior Health building and the parkades, it surely is the busiest intersection between Vancouver and Calgary!