MindMaze – the start-up that makes virtual reality work for science
MindMaze originated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, and in less than three years became one of the top 10 healthcare start-ups in Switzerland. The company brings together an eclectic mix of computer scientists, neuroscientists, physicists and roboticists, who are driven by a passion to enhance the quality of life for brain injury survivors.
The MindMaze team developed and launched a revolutionary platform to build intuitive human-machine interfaces combining virtual reality, computer graphics, brain imaging and neuroscience. The potential applications are exciting for healthcare, and these new projects have certainly been noticed by the media industry.
DRAMATIC GROWTH IN A HIGHLY REGULATED INDUSTRY
As a medical company, MindMaze is subject to tight legal constraints in the management of its processes and documentation.
”In this sector if the procedure is lacking, the employees incur criminal responsibility because this directly affects the quality of care provided to patients”, said Frédéric Condolo, Global Product Director at MindMaze.
The CE Mark in Europe and the FDA in the US impose strict standards on the company.
Faced with exponential – almost brutal – growth, the teams needed adapted tools to ensure that their activities conformed to industry standards while also facilitating teamwork and innovation. Process management and documentation had to be consistent, reliable, secure and offer maximum traceability.
”When I arrived, the teams used classic office tools and the development teams used a very technical wiki”, recalls Frédéric Condolo. “In the face of our growth, we needed to quickly implement a common – and more secure – system to track our documentation with electronic signatures and a process management solution.”
With the team growing in Lausanne, Zurich, Boston, San Francisco and Paris, MindMaze searched for tools that could adapt, were easy to use and capable of evolving. The document management tool needed to be able to set document standards for clinical research. The task management tool had to be flexible enough to adapt to specific business needs for different teams and sufficiently robust to be able to follow MindMaze’s growth.
VIRAL ADOPTION OF CONFLUENCE AND COMALA WORKFLOWS FOR PROJECT DOCUMENTATION
Confluence, edited by Atlassian, was chosen because it perfectly met the needs of MindMaze, including respecting medical standards, adapting for growth, and providing structure. In this context, its intuitive grasp made the difference and reassured them on their chosen solution. The direct link between content and task management through the collaboration between Jira Software and Confluence was also another decisive feature.
”Confluence was deployed and adopted very rapidly by the teams.” It was necessary to transmit a culture and operational processes very quickly to many people. This is where Confluence, and in particular the blueprints, played an important role. “Spaces and pages allowed us to grow while maintaining a coherent structure,” explains Frédéric Condolo.
At first, the teams discovered Confluence through classical activities such as meeting notes and following the progress of different decisions. The Comala Workflows add-on was used to set up procedures for reviewing and validating the necessary documents for the proper functioning of the company, directly in Confluence via an electronic signature system. The modifications to the medical protocols and research papers are therefore rigorously traced.
By providing structure and legibility to the company’s entire business, Confluence has enabled the CEO to remain connected to essential information while being regularly outside of its walls.
EVERY TEAM AT MINDMAZE USES JIRA
Given the vast growth, Jira offered a pragmatic solution for all the processes in the company. In addition to development teams that use Jira Software to plan their roadmaps and manage their releases, four other services use Jira to manage their business processes.
”Jira has enabled us to equip our HR, purchasing and financial teams in a very short time and at a lower cost compared to off-the-shelf business solutions,” explains Frédéric Condolo. “At this stage, the tool meets our needs perfectly.”
Jira for HR processes
Jira Software tracks the entire recruitment process and notifies the different people involved (HR manager, operational manager, technical director, administrative team, etc.) at the right time. The tool has even been configured to integrate the scoring of past evaluations during the interviews and manage the remarks from key people to facilitate decision-making.
Jira for purchasing processses
Jira was set up to facilitate the procurement process within the company (purchase requests, budget approval, executing purchases, payments, accounting, completion of purchases, payment, purchase accounting, reception, etc.). The precise management of the permissions makes it possible to contain visibility and restrict transitional actions to only the relevant people. For example, only the owner of a given budget can approve a purchase and only a person in the accounting team can save a payment.
Now that this is in place, everyone is satisfied and the tool greatly simplifies the work for the purchasing teams, the accountants and the people responsible for budget management. Simple add-ons such as sumUp for Jira as well as Excel export functions allows the accounting team to easily track budgets.
”Even though we have knowledge of Jira in-house, we really appreciated Valiantys’ support. Their consultant saved us time and worked with us to validate our hypothesis. We also chose to entrust them with the management of our licenses, which simplified our life because they aligned our renewal dates and provide only one invoice per year, in Swiss francs.”
Frederic Condolo Global Product Director – Mindmaze
After raising 100 million dollars, the start-up is accelerating its international expansion. For Frédéric Condolo, there is no doubt that Atlassian tools will continue to support MindMaze in the next phases of their growth.
”Jira and Confluence adapt to our way of working and evolve with us. In the case of a rapidly growing start-up, this is essential. I could say that Atlassian tools are a real competitive advantage for the company in comparison to other start-ups which are less equipped to grow.”