As one of the nation’s leading cities for healthcare and technology jobs, Nashville is a hotbed for healthcare technology innovation and expertise, but that reputation didn’t evolve overnight. Nashville’s fast-growing healthcare technology scene is the culmination of decades of hard work and focused efforts by tech entrepreneurs like our own CEO David Condra.
As part of the Nashville Technology Council’s Oct. 5 annual meeting at the Marriott Cool Springs Condra spoke about the history of Nashville’s technology industry, along with fellow panelists Dough Altenbern, former president of leading data imaging provider Endata, and marketer Jeff Pack, who helped steer the rise of several tech firms in Nashville.
When Condra, a Vanderbilt engineering graduate and self-taught software programmer, moved back to Nashville in 1979 to start his first healthcare tech services firm, Dalcon Computer Systems, he struggled to find the talent he needed to get his venture off the ground. “I needed technical help, but I didn’t have a clue where to go,” he recalled.
So Condra convinced a programmer friend from his Georgia hometown to move to Nashville to help him. “We had to dive in and figure it out,” Condra said. “In those days, it was about finding smart people who wanted to work hard.” Funding for tech startups was also difficult to find in the city in those days and basically meant mortgaging your home, Condra recalled. “The banks at that time didn’t understand technology, but they understood real estate—so if you put that up, you could finance your technology,” he said.
The challenges of finding a pipeline of tech talent and funding led to the launch of the Nashville Technology Council (NTC), which was started to help grow and expand the influence of the area’s tech industry. Condra served as the first president of the NTC from 2000–2005 and founded the Nashville Angel Network—now known as the Nashville Capital Network—during his tenure. “There was no venture capital firm in Nashville that knew technology, so we started our own,” he said.
Over the past two decades, the NTC has grown from a handful of technology business leaders to 400 members. The organization not only helps tech firms network and access funding, but it’s also actively involved in developing tech talent in the region through initiatives like the Nashville Software School and ApprenTech Tennessee, a new apprenticeship program for grooming senior tech talent unveiled during the meeting.
Condra went on to use his healthcare technology and VoIP expertise to rebrand Dalcon as Amplion in 2012 and develop Amplion Alert, the first patient care assurance platform in the healthcare industry. When asked at the meeting what advice he would give the more than 300 tech leaders in attendance, he urged them to look for ways they could partner with each other to get their ideas off the ground. “I learned very early on that I don’t know everything, and I can’t do everything—but for years I tried to,” Conda said. “Find people you like who complement your skills and who you can work shoulder to shoulder with them building the business you dream about,” he said. “One of the things Nashville Technology can do best is introduce you to a range of folks right here in Nashville—some of whom will share your dream. They may be in many different places, but if you come together, magic can happen.”
Hear more of Condra’s story and the inspiration behind Amplion here. Schedule a consultation with us to learn more about how our next-generation nurse call technology helps hospitals raise the bar on patient care.