Abram Liverio and Todd St. Louis were frustrated. As representatives of the medical technology company Stryker, they had to request schedules from 73 hospitals one by one to ensure that operating room instruments and other devices were delivered on time. They knew there had to be a better way.
But there wasn’t one at the time in 2013 – and they saw opportunity. Dreaming of creating a cloud-based database for real-time scheduling, they liquidated their 401(k)s to hire a developer, left their six-figure positions and launched OR TRAXa Tampa Bay-based startup.
“We took a chance,” says 39-year-old Liverio.
With no corporate jobs to support them, they were determined to make it work. “This was around the time The 4-hour work week came out,” Liverio recalls. “One of the things Tim Ferriss pointed out was whether you’re going to start your own business. start in an industry you know. This makes perfect sense with what we do. It pushed me over the edge to take that step.”
Thanks to their network of professional connections, they got off to a promising start. Their first client was a small surgery center in Tampa. By year two, they had reached about $12,000 in annual revenue. “At the end of year two, I had a negative $11 in my bank account,” jokes Liverio, who sold his watch collection and refinanced his car to get them over the hump.
Six months later, OR TRAX landed a major client, leading to more accounts. “We’re so niche that we don’t do any marketing,” says Liverio. “We don’t advertise. Everything is organic. Hospitals want to know what other hospitals are doing.”
When Covid hit, the company saw a surge in demand for its technology from hospitals. “They wanted to tighten up on who was in the facility and started reaching out,” says Liverio. Some facilities used the company’s product to track vaccinations
Liverio kept a business journal for three years — an idea he learned from the late Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker and entrepreneur — and kept it behind his desk to remind himself of the early days. “It was funny watching my thought process,” he says.
Today, the nine-year-old company brings in $2.4 million in annual revenue, according to Liverio, with a four-person team. Most of the revenue comes in through three or four year contracts.
Liverio’s advice to other budding entrepreneurs thinking about starting a business? Choose one that you are passionate about. “Unless you’re obsessed with it, I don’t think it’s going to be successful,” he says. “You have to have the creativity, discipline and perseverance to succeed. Motivation goes away. What replaces motivation is discipline.”