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Helping People Live Insanely Different Lives: Brian Rowe

The workplace wellness market is $2.9 billion and is expected to grow 9.4% annually over the next several years. In higher education, there are around 2 million employees. The size of the higher education employee wellness market is approximately $200 million annually. Taking all this information into account, Brian Rowe founded Perceivant with a mission to provide cloud-based technologies and education that lower costs, increase productivity, and measure value to customers and stakeholders. He set up the company to produce personalized online assessment, learning, and analytics that enable individuals to develop knowledge and skills so that they can be productive and successfully manage all areas of their life.

Perceivant currently markets and sells assessment and learning products for use in college health education courses and workplace well-being programs offered in academic and business environments. With a primary focus on the health and well-being of employees and students, Perceivant offers directed as well as self-directed learning environments designed around end-user experience. Perceivant’s addressable market is population health management in universities, corporations, and healthcare organizations. The total market size is estimated to grow to $40 billion by 2018.

“We help people thrive with well-being, education and population health solutions.”

In Conversation with the Entrepreneur

Q. Can you tell us something about yourself?
I’ve been programming since I was 13 years old. In 1990, I started developing Internet based applications programming in C. After I finished my MBA, I was the first corporate Director of e-Business at Cummins where, I started six online businesses and won the CIO Magazine’s 50 Best Intranets Award during my tenure. I was a founder of Last Piece Software where I acted as the president until the company was acquired by iGoDigital, which was eventually acquired by ExactTarget and is now Salesforce Predictive. With a background that bridges both business and technology, I enjoy the fast paced and dynamic startup environment, where these skills can be used effectively. My current interests are in Health and wellness because there is so much misinformation right now and opportunity has a huge impact on people’s lives, including my own.
Q. Brief us about Perceivant’s history?
The company started in Healthcare analytics, but we determined that it was not enough to just put together data about a population. We wanted to reach people and change behavior, to have a lasting impact. Last year we acquired Bearface Instructional Technologies which has the well-being education we needed and have continued to increase our engagement capabilities. Chris Johnson, the Bearface founder, joined Perceivant as our President putting a focused effort into our sales and product efforts.

Q. What is Perceivant’s differentiating factor?
Our solution is entirely customized to the University and in some situations personalized to the student. We help the University create the course they want to teach, leveraging our library of content topics, as well as our rapid publishing and technology expertise. Our analytics make our products smarter and more engaging to students.

Q. What are the product offerings of the company?
We offer two products:

  • An online learning environment that supports instructor-led courses in colleges and universities. In this directed learning environment, students learn through self-assessment, immediate feedback, reflection, and problem-solving. This promotes and reports students’ ability to develop strategies and tactics that solve complex, ill-structured problems.
  • A cloud-based employee engagement environment that helps individuals create and achieve goals that will enhance their well-being in all dimensions of their life. This gives organizations the ability to identify risks within a population (students, employees, patients) and make business decisions that help to mitigate risks, reduce costs, promote workforce productivity, and increase value.

We have a unified platform that provides the technology to collect and analyze data so that you can make intelligent decisions quickly.

Q. What is the USP of Perceivant’s products?
Our products provide personalized learning environments that recommend content and activities based on the individual’s interests and motives. They give people the tools and resources to solve problems and enjoy any part of their life.

Q. Who are your target clientele and competitors?
We primarily focus on Universities and Higher Education, both students as well as faculty. Traditional publishers are who we compete against most frequently. Books and e-Books are out of date and we don’t the view those products as competitive. We offer a new and evolved solution to delivering a university course.

UNC Chapel Hill Requires All Students to Use Perceivant Driven Courseware
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a top tier institution known world-wide for its academics and research as well as an athletic powerhouse. So it makes sense that all UNC students must take the Fitness for Life course, which is a requirement for graduation. Offered by the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Fitness for Life is designed to teach students exercise fitness and testing concepts, including behavior change and problem solving concepts that they will be able to apply to their personal and professional lives after graduation.

Problem
Nearly 5,000 students enroll in UNC’s Fitness for Life course every year. Students enjoyed the classroom experience in which they learned how to assess their fitness, track their diet, and develop their own exercise programs. However, they found the online video materials less than engaging. The video was slow to load onto students’ computers, navigation cumbersome, and many students complained that the content was too dry and theoretical.

Furthermore, there were logistical issues. The Fitness for Life lab manual was printed and distributed to students through the department administrative office, causing accounting headaches and absorbing a lot of the staff’s time. Students often forgot to purchase the lab manual and came to class without it, frustrating instructors. Becca Battiglini, the course coordinator, looked to Perceivant for the solution.

Solution
Perceivant installed a new web-based learning and assessment system customized to match the Fitness for Life syllabus. The company created a new custom lab manual for the course that students can download, print, and take to class with them. Perceivant also provided new interactive versions of the labs and assessments online. The online labs calculate results and provide immediate feedback.

Instead of the old linear video lectures, the new course materials are balanced between textbook content, short video demonstrations, and interactive activities and quizzes. Besides the engaging interactivity of the materials, the online eTextbook is much easier to access, navigate, and study. An ePub version of the textbook can be downloaded by students on to their mobile devices, and they can use it to search, bookmark, and highlight the text. These are features that were not available in the old system.

Besides improving the online instructional experience for the students, the new online self-assessments and labs brought another benefit: easy data collection and analytics. Where before students wrote assessment results into their print lab manual, then can now enter lab and assessment data online. Not only does Perceivant better organize their self-assessment data, but it enables the students to easily track their progress by comparing pre- and post-course results. For faculty, Perceivant provides an easy to use data tool with which they can use aggregated student data to demonstrate the efficacy of the course and show student course activity beyond simple quiz scores.

Finally, Perceivant solved the administrative headaches. It took over distribution of all course materials, which are now purchased by students online. This freed university staff to do other tasks while making the course materials easier to access by the students.

We give employers and health care organizations assessment, analytic, and education tools that give a holistic view of population risk and provide real-time analysis that cut costs and increases productivity.

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