40 Under 40 winner of the day: Ken Saman

Software engineer Ken Saman started his career integrating mobile devices into vehicles for Motorola before realising he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life developing code for a corporate giant.

Saman now spends his time working on a system that supports patients after they are discharged from hospital and was last month named a winner at InDaily’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Awards. While completing an MBA at UniSA, the 39-year-old joined global company YourAmigo where he led the company’s engineering and account management teams across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific for almost seven years.

Saman then started Personify Care, where he is still CEO.

“After seven years of using data to generate more sales for retailers, I decided to apply the same principles to helping patients recover from health issues,” he said.

The web-based platform was developed in Adelaide and first trialed in South Australian private hospitals. It is now expanding into the US market.

Personify Care enables regular text messages to discharged patients from their nurse over a six to eight week period with information about their recovery and assessments that monitor the risks associated with a complication.

We asked Saman some more about doing business in South Australia.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

South Australia is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a global business. We have access to incredible talent coming out of world class universities. Our cost of living vs quality of life far exceeds anything you get in places like the US or other states in Australia. We also have access to some amazing federal and state funding initiatives that support companies in their early stages.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

If your market is limited to South Australia then that can be challenging. Firstly, because of its size, it can mean the opportunities are limited to win customers. Secondly, we can sometimes default to the false perception that if it’s something that has been developed overseas then it must be better than something local.

Do you see your future in South Australia?

Absolutely. I’ve worked and lived all around the world. South Australia will always be home.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

Don’t! Don’t encourage them to stay. Let them go and gain international experience (as I did) but make it attractive to them (and others) to come back and set up businesses and companies that will employ/provide experience to future leaders.

The State Government could also play a role in offsetting the ‘small market’ problem. They are a big buyer in the SA economy. Allocating a small percentage of their annual budgets to emerging companies would allow innovative companies to develop credible case studies that would accelerate their expansion nationally and internationally.

More about 40 Under 40

An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community judged hundreds of nominees for the inaugural 40 Under 40 awards, which aim to identify and promote a new generation of local leaders under the age of 40.

The final 40 includes a hugely varied collection of South Australian talents, who are making a mark in fields such as health, technology, the media, property, social innovation, agriculture, finance, the law, and much more.

For the full list of 40 Under 40 winners go here.

July 23, 2017