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Daniel Cane

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Daniel Cane, the serial entrepreneur behind Blackboard and Modernizing Medicine, spent his childhood in Lake Worth, Florida. The son of internist Edward Cane and law professor Marilyn Cane, the promising young Cane was already repairing computers at age twelve. After graduating from Lake Worth High School, Cane attended Cornell University, graduating as an academic scholar with a BS in agricultural economics in 1998.

As a sophomore at Cornell, Cane and co-founder Stephen Gilfus founded CourseInfo LLC, an e-learning company based on an innovative course management system. In 1998, the company merged with Blackboard LLC to form Blackboard Inc. Attempting to make positive changes to the world they new best, the young co-founders’ company sought out new ways to utilize technology to improve the education experience. Blackboard, which by May 2013 was being used by more than 37,000 clients worldwide, was purchased by Providence Equity Partners in July 2011 for $1.6 billion.

Cane left Blackboard in February 2009 to embark on a new venture, the social-sharing platform Kadoo. The service is unique in the extent of the control users are given over their content. Users are given 10 GB of free cloud space, and they can exercise minutiae-level control over who has permission to view the information in that space. The company was purchased by 3Sixty Enterprises in 2009.

A year after selling Kadoo, Cane found himself at a doctor’s office marveling at the lack of technology. The young dermatologist he was seeing told him that the most efficient tool available for running his practice was a sheet of paper. Cane and that same dermatologist, Dr. Michael Sherling, collaborated to found Modernizing Medicine. The company’s goal is dual-fold. First, they seek to create technological tools that help doctors run their practices more efficiently. Secondly, they are seeking to capture physicians’ collective wisdom, gathering unidentified patient data to form an informational base that will help improve patient care.

Since its birth in 2010, Modernizing Medicine has raised a total of $30 million in funding through three rounds of financing, growing to around 170 employees. By December 2013, Modernizing Medicine’s flagship product, the Electronic Medical Assistant, was being used by more than 1,300 physician practices across the country. The software is evolved in collaboration with practicing physicians and developed to be specialty-specific, with offerings for dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, urology, rheumatology, and cosmetic surgery currently available.

A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Cane serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board at the South Florida Science Center and is on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Palm Beach County. He is also a member of the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, and the Boca Chamber of Commerce. He lives with his wife Debra, whom he married in 2002, and their three children.  

Companies and Investments

Modernizing Medicine (Co-Founder, President, CEO), Blackboard Inc (Co-founder)

South Florida Science Museum (Vice Chairman of the Board), Florida Atlantic University (Board of Trustees Member)

Lessons Learned

Help where you’re needed: Both Blackboard and Modernizing Medicine were created to offer tools to fields underserved by technology. As Cane puts it, he looks for “big markets where a transformative technology can really make a difference.” The resulting products are successful because they offer tangible improvements in a field, offering solutions to real problems.

Know your strengths – and seek help for your weakness: In creating Modernizing Medicine, Cane knew there were gaps in his knowledge. To create a product that would be actually useful for doctors, he needed to understand how doctors work. He has said himself that “it takes the perspective of a practicing physician to not only understand the domain, but to be able to bring solutions that only someone deep in the domain could come up with.” He sought out that perspective in co-founder Dr. Michael Sherling, the company’s Chief Medical Officer. The company also has eighteen physicians on staff to help inform the program’s real-word effectiveness. The resulting success proves the necessity in acknowledging the gaps in your own knowledge and being willing to collaborate with those whose skill sets fill them in.

Understand your customer – Modernizing Medicine’s flagship product, the Electronic Medical Assistant, is offered as specialty-specific software. Cane discovered that the specialties work in drastically different ways, and handing them a generalized product would not result in a positive experience. “It takes a year to build a product that is designed to the exact requirements of each specialty,” Cane has said, “We’re so focused on each specialty that to ophthalmologists, we’re an ophthalmology company, but to dermatologists, we’re a dermatology company.” This commitment to fully understanding the customer has allowed Cane to build the problem-solving tool Modernizing Medicine was founded to create.

Inspiring Quotes

Daniel Cane's Quotes

We didn’t get there because our product didn’t work; we got there because it saved doctors so much time that they told their peers about it, and it started to improve the patient outcomes and so the patients were talking about it. The way we’ve grown the company has been very much word of mouth. It’s because we do such a good job at driving efficiency and productivity.

Daniel Cane

I have failed more often than I have succeeded! The trick is to fail quickly and move on. Hanging on too long to something that just isn’t going to work is an unhealthy way to live. I have started more than a few companies that failed and while I wish they had turned out differently, I am proud to have failed and learned from them.

Daniel Cane

I look for big markets where a transformative technology can really make a difference.

Daniel Cane

My real talent is surrounding myself with incredibly talented people.

Daniel Cane

Influential Books