Meet a Minnesota CTO: Gal Bar-or



Gal Bar-or

Thank you to Andcor Companies for underwriting the new Meet a Minnesota CTO series.

Gal Bar-or is the Chief Technology Officer at RedBrick Health, a Minneapolis health and wellness software startup that has raked-in nearly $75m in venture funding.

Gal is responsible for driving RedBrick’s software technology, strategy and architecture. He has over 25 years of experience in entrepreneurship and software development, having co-founded Connected Minds, SchoolAxis, and Useful Chemistry — all in the social/mobile space.  He’s also the named inventor on multiple patents.

How long have you been working in tech for and what is your background?

All my life, prettymuch. I started when I was 14 and have been a technologist and and entrepreneur as far back as I can remember. I founded of Foglight Software, which was sold to Quest Software (and then Dell). I also co-founded Capital Technologies (which changed it’s name to siteROCK eventually), RIS, the company founded by Lee Felsenstein, personal computer inventor and creator of the first generation of wearable computing devices and more recently. My more recent ventures include Connected Minds, Dynamic Goodness, SchoolAxis and Useful Chemistry – all in the social/mobile world.

I came to RedBrick Health through the CEO Dan Ryan and initially started here on a trial basis, but now that I think about it, it’s been nearly 20 months!

What are you focused on right now?

My primary role as Chief Technology Officer is mapping RedBrick’s software technology, strategy and architecture to the business model. Our platform includes numerous pending patents and secret sauce innovations that, when put together, form the architecture. My primary objective is to successfully deliver our next generation platform as a service for RedBrick Health.

What are the some of the technologies utilized within your company and development environment?

RESTful services on the front end, an array of back end solutions. We’re a very modern shop, although I don’t want to disclose more details about this now.

How do you ensure that development plans, projects and objectives are aligned with business outcomes?

It’s an ongoing struggle. We develop and deliver both a platform as a service and a software as a service. We work with closely our Market Solutions teams to align the product with the intended market.

What is the size of your department and how is it organized/managed?

We have about 40 people, depending on the day, in that range. Directly reporting to me are the product managers, the architects, and the VP or R&D. Directly reporting to the VP of R&D are the remainder of developer and QA. Directly reporting to the Director of Product Management, are the PM’s who work in teams alongside the developers.

These functional teams are a combination of the software developers, the QA and the PM’s, which together deliver a cohesive set of functionality.

How does your company approach recruiting and retention for technical positions in an increasingly competitive market?

We’ve done everything from standing in the street with a sign to hiring headhunters to various meetup groups and conferences. That said, I would guess that 75% of our technical staff is now hired word of mouth, organically grown from the inside.

How do you personally keep up with the ever changing technology landscape?

Who says that I do?! It was hard 20 years ago and it’s hard now. It’s like being on a speedboat and occasionally getting splashed in the face, tasting the salt. There’s a lot of conferences out there that just talk in generalities about the latest technologies and suggest using the sponsors or consultants to really explain and implement it, that approach doesn’t work for me.

What excites you about where technology is headed?

In our field of health and wellness, things are taking off like they did in the late 90’s. In a certain way, healthcare in the US has kind of behind other global industries, one of the last vestiges of an inefficient market as HIPAA and other aspects have actually kept healthcare innovation behind, but now were starting to see it breakthrough.

The devices are getting smaller and smarter, embedded in clothing and bodies. It’s communication on a much more fluent basis. We have millions and millions of people consuming healthcare and the markets are becoming more refined and efficient, saving money while also improving our collective well being. That’s exciting!

What concerns you about where technology is heading?

The usual privacy questions. We are basing a tremendous amount of trust in the Internet and going into private health information, the risk is quite large. What happens if your EMR is hacked or your genome gets shared unintentionally? It’s extremely critical that this type of information is kept secure, to a level that we have not yet seen.

What are you into outside of technology?

Aviation. As a pilot I fly all kinds of airplanes — from RCs and para gliders to multi-engine. If it flies, I’m interested in it.

What is your opinion of Minnesota’s tech industry?

Very underrated, although in a good way for me.   We’re building a tremendous team for a reasonable cost.  If we were in the Bay area, we would be spending twice as much, literally.