In a major city in Argentina, two public hospitals had a problem. Faced with overcrowded waiting rooms and strained resources, patients would line up as early as 4 am to receive care. Some of these people travelled for hours from remote towns and villages, and even then, after waiting all day, many would be forced to return home before making it to the front of the line.
This was, clearly, a serious issue. But what could be done to make the queueing process more efficient? How, in the face of limited resources and a huge patient base, could the hospital streamline the appointment process? This is where four ambitious entrepreneurs came up with an idea.
Whyline is a cutting-edge time management app that’s looking to revolutionise the way we wait. With a simple deployment of technology, these public hospitals completely revolutionized how Argentinian citizens receive care. And now, with the help of Santander X, Banco Santander’s global entrepreneurship community, Whyline is taking this solution to the world.
According to research performed by Whyline, we waste between two to four years of our lives waiting in queues. It goes without saying that there are better things we could all be doing. Moreover, this doesn’t fit with our increasingly on-demand lifestyle, not to mention the necessity to control crowds in the wake of the pandemic.
Patricio Romero, founder and CMO of Whyline, had this realisation while waiting for his son’s paediatrician appointments. After spending hours with a grumpy toddler in the doctor’s waiting room, he took the initiative to create a WhatsApp group with the other patients present. That way, they could keep each other informed as to their position in the queue, while unhappy children were taken away to be entertained elsewhere.
It dawned on Patricio that there must be a way to scale up this simple solution. From the humble paediatrician’s office WhatsApp group, Whyline was born.
“What began with a crowded waiting room and four co-founders with a dream is now a global company with clients across continents and an impactful, award-winning and scalable product.”Patricio Romero, Founder and CMO of Whyline
The four founders of Whyline created not only a solution for customers, but also for businesses. This simple platform was an ideal replacement for antiquated, legacy appointment scheduling software that streamlined systems and fed organisations valuable data.
Whyline empowers customers to schedule their visits, jump in line before they leave the house, be notified when to arrive, know what to expect if they come early and plan their time based on live updates. In the past, this sort of information was only available by wayfinding and navigation apps; this technology would alert users as to congestion levels and generate approximate arrival times.
Now, Whyline has brought this technology to nigh-on any situation you could imagine that might involve waiting. Whyline comprises an app and desktop application for both customers and businesses, hosted entirely in the cloud. Powered by Amazon Web Services, these applications are exceptionally user friendly and easy to integrate with existing services.
Customers simply open the app or desktop client and join the queue. They’ll be informed as to congestion at their destination and called when it’s their turn. Physical and virtual lines are integrated so users can check in onsite as well. Wait times are automatically calculated and updated in real-time, so users are always on the pulse of their position in the queue.
Meanwhile, the central cloud platform automatically receives appointment requests and combines them with internal services and processes. This gives organisations a comprehensive overview of their operation while providing valuable data. For example, they can monitor who their users are, what services they're requesting and the associated peak times for each branch or service. This allows for even closer planning, streamlining, and greater efficiency.
“[Whyline generates] curated pictures of individualised metrics that they just didn’t have access to before, that some of our customers have called the holy grail of data.”Mike Twersky, Founder and CEO of Whyline
We’ve already introduced how Whyline transformed wait times at public hospitals in Argentina. To elaborate further on the tools and benefits of the application, we’ll dive in a little deeper with Whyline’s project with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Post-pandemic, the airport was facing a problem; travel volume was increasing, and suddenly, long lines to get through security extended out the doors of the airport and across the street into the car park. The issue was making headlines.
The airport knew they needed to get creative to solve this problem –and that’s where Whyline came in. Together with its partners, Whyline built the SEA Spot Saver Program, enabling passengers to join the security screening line before arriving at the airport. Instead of being faced with unpredictability and uncertainty upon arrival, SEA Spot Saver Passengers knew exactly when it was their turn to arrive at security. Upon arrival, they are welcomed through a dedicated lane and given their time back at the airport to shop, dine and explore.
How did passengers respond? Both the feedback and the data collected have proven the program’s success. Passenger surveys show a 95% success rate and found that 60% of passengers are using the time they saved to support local businesses in the airport.
“The new program is transformational. Airports are always looking to improve their service level, and virtual queuing is probably one of the most important elements we can look forward to in the future.”Todd Van Gerpen, Manager of Innovation and Systems at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
After the idea was born in Argentina, the initial Whyline team connected with entrepreneurs in New York City. After four years in development serving organisations and businesses in Argentina and the USA, they’re looking to go global. While the market is certainly fertile for startups, with venture capital and large corporations alike extending financial support, Whyline needed more comprehensive mentorship.
This is why the company applied to the Santander X Global Challenge | Helping Businesses Prosper. The project beat more than 20 finalists and 700 participants to become one of the four winners, gaining access to Banco Santander’s global entrepreneurship network. The financial and strategic support provided by Santander was extraordinarily helpful and necessary to fuel faster and more scalable growth. Mark and Romero commented that even the world’s most successful entrepreneurs can’t do it alone: they need the PR, expansive global networks and commercial prestige that companies like Santander can provide.
Furthermore, initiatives such as the Santander X Global Challenge understand that innovation isn't just about entrepreneurs; it’s also about the people their solutions serve. By empowering companies to grow, Santander is directly impacting the lives and businesses of its customers, providing new marketing and revenue generation opportunities that, without this challenge, would not otherwise have been accessible.
“At the end of the day, the work we are doing for this global challenge is not for us - it’s for small businesses and the communities they serve.”Patricio Romero, Founder and CMO of Whyline
Whyline started with a simple idea –time is precious and we need creative ways to give people more of it. As a direct result of Whyline’s success, millions of people around the world have more time to do things they love. Wasting time is no longer a necessary part of daily life, and in this way, Whyline is literally changing people’s lives for the better.
By investing in its core technology, Whyline is continuing to innovate and build even more efficient ways to achieve its goal globally. Now, they’re focused on expanding their offering to small businesses. This will help SMEs harness enterprise-level technology to offer better service than ever before. This is particularly important in the post-pandemic moment, where we need simple and flexible solutions for social distancing that adapt seamlessly to any business environment.
With their solution and Santander’s X support, Whyline is empowering businesses large and small to adapt, grow, and succeed in today’s on-demand world. This is the reason why entrepreneurship is an essential pillar to help build more competitive societies, with greater opportunities for all. So what are you waiting for?
Banco Santander, through Santander X Global Challenge | Helping Businesses Prosper, supports entrepreneurial initiatives that contribute to the acceleration of digitisation in businesses. This is one of the main drivers of economic growth, helping businesses to become more efficient and profitable. This challenge of bringing new ideas to life and helping startups grow requires investment in innovation –hence Santander’s commitment to the entrepreneurial community.
It is a platform that aims to promote talent by creating a global network in which entrepreneurs can give visibility to their projects, get in touch with other members of the Santander X ecosystem and find new opportunities, collaborators and mentors to help them in developing their project.
If you are a startup or scaleup that has an innovative idea that helps people, businesses and governments implement sustainable solutions to build a better future, sign up for Santander X initiatives and turbocharge its development!
Mike Twersky, Founder and CEO of Whyline
Patricio Romero, Founder and CMO of Whyline.