One thing is obvious from the moment you walk into the Call9 office: we’re about people. The words on the front door are our motto: “Do right by the patient and all else will fall into place.” This mission is why we come to work every day – for our patients, their families and each other. The television screen in our reception area displays highlights—photos, birthdays, work anniversaries, statistics for the week—that celebrate our team and our collective success.
The Harvard i-lab is renowned for helping aspiring Harvard entrepreneurs build innovative ventures that are changing industries. It was there that Tim Peck first began exploring the idea of being with patients at the moment of their emergency, and how fixing the 911 system could potentially accomplish that.
Our Call9 i-Lab is designed to encourage product development and to simulate the tight product feedback loop required to iterate quickly and safely. The main room is equipped with a patient bed, demo cart and cameras to run experiments. Two smaller bays enable providers and engineers to simultaneously collaborate. Even as we’ve grown, we continue to utilize these same principles as we build-out Call9’s solution.
Call9 initially got its start in Palo Alto, and the apartment on Webster was the first meeting spot for the original cofounders, including Tim & XiaoSong Mu, Call9’s technical cofounder. In the early days, many days and nights were spent at the kitchen table, dreaming up what this crazy idea of Tim’s would look like. At the time, Tim was still working for Harvard, and XiaoSong hadn’t yet graduated from Stanford – and yet, it was in this kitchen that they came up with the first screens of the Call9 app.
Now, Webster is just as much a place to gather, collaborate and dream as it was back in 2015.
We quickly realized we needed more than a kitchen table to work at, and HanaHaus was our next stop. A dynamic coworking space on University Ave, which is one of the main drags in Palo Alto, this is where we applied for—and were finally accepted into—Y Combinator as part of the first class of healthcare companies. It was truly an exciting time to be learning the VC world. Blue Bottle Coffee was also getting started there; they had their first store at that incubator. We drank a lot of free coffee back then.
The Blue Bottle poster and lighted “coffee” sign in University remind us of those days when we were fueled by caffeine and passion.
We were accepted into Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley startup accelerator, as part of the Summer 2015 class. Pioneer Way was the name of the road Y Combinator was on back then. Twice a year, they accept a group of fledgling companies with big ideas and help them work towards transforming industries. Companies like Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit also got their start there. From that experience, we learned two important truths that continue to drive Call9’s culture: make something people want, and love your customer.
Pioneer, with its bright orange chairs and “Make Something People Want” posters, reminds us that people are at the center of everything we do.
Central Island Healthcare on Old Country Road in Plainview, NY, was our first facility. The owner of CIH agreed to let Tim develop Call9 at his facility on the condition that he stay there 24/7 to ensure residents were receiving the best treatment. For three months, Tim slept on a cot in a conference room at Central Island and learned everything he could about nursing homes in order to create the kind of service they needed.
The Mona Lisa painting on the wall in Old Country was originally on the wall in that conference room at CIH and was always in view during video conference calls. It reminds us of those gritty early days.
Owned and occupied by Tim’s parents, Al and Estelle, the Peck household on Fulton Street in Westbury, NY—just a 10-minute drive from Central Island—was the Call9 East home base in the early years. Various employees lived with Tim’s parents while we established our service operations at CIH; their living room is where we saw our first patients via telemedicine. It remained the home office of the medical practice after Call9, Inc., established formal offices. For a long time after that, all of the mail for our physician group was still sent to that address. Alex Palasek, our legal officer who lived a few miles away, would stop by the house on his way home from the Brooklyn office to pick up the mail and have coffee with Tim’s parents.
There are some charming childhood photos of our team and their children hanging on the wall in Fulton that remind us we’re all a family here.
Our next West Coast location was an “office” that was a few blocks from Stanford University (it was actually a two-bedroom apartment). The whole engineering team worked in one bedroom, and the other bedroom was a meeting room. Call9 really started to take shape in this small, intimate space. We built the first (very basic) company website, redesigned how the platform looked and created the original charting and documentation functions in the app.
Our first designer, George Ma, created the cartoon heads of Tim and XiaoSong that currently hang on the wall in Forest.
Our first real office in Palo Alto was in a building off California Ave. These were tough days in the history of the company as we spent a significant amount of time on product development. The glass walls throughout the office were the makeshift whiteboard. The office looked out onto a courtyard, and when the engineers needed a break, they’d all go out together and play frisbee, football and soccer.
Fittingly, modern-day Sherman also looks out on the Industry City courtyard where we often escape for a bit of fresh air and the occasional game of soccer.
For the first year, we developed our product with the clinical team in New York building the on-site operations and our engineering team in Silicon Valley developing the technology. In the long term, it was unsustainable for our engineers to be so far from our services, so the entire team moved after it was agreed that Brooklyn would be the location for our new office. We briefly landed at Bond Collective, a coworking space in Brooklyn, before settling in our permanent office at Industry City.
Bond is our quiet room – a cozy space full of comfortable chairs to work independently or collaborate in a more casual environment.
With a sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, the Boardroom represents our present moment. Industry City, our current home, is constantly changing, growing, evolving into something even better – and so are we. This office gives us renewed energy to look towards the future of what we’re creating Call9 to be, and the millions of patients we will one day serve.