Leader In The Spotlight: Todor Jeliaskov, Chairman & CEO inHEART


Liz Moyles

I am so blessed to be in this space surrounded by exceptional people at all levels of the organisation. I genuinely can say there isn’t a single day that I don’t learn about a new company and its technology. It’s so inspiring for me that the research that is ongoing in MedTech / Medical Devices appears to extend to every corner of healthcare. And this week, when I spoke with Todor Jeliaskov, Chairman and CEO of inHEART, it was another opportunity for me to experience that awe and amazement first hand. 

Todor is a great guy. Very at ease with himself. He exudes self-assurance and inspires confidence. He is an understated guy, very smiley, very content and yet simultaneously ambitious and hungry to succeed for the better of patients, surgeons, his team and the investors who so ardently support at inHEART. 

He is rarely still and in fact this interview was run live as he was en-route to a conference in another country. It was great to speak with him about his background, his career and his own drive and motivation. 

It was an honour to speak with you and learn more about the wonderful things you and inHEART are doing. 


I hope you all enjoy the interview!  Thanks for your time Todor!


  • By now, we all know the first question I love to ask is, “As you were kicking a football around the pitch, or playing with Lego, Todor, did you dream of being in Medtech or was this a space you just kind of ‘fell into?’. 

    No, it genuinely wasn’t anything I dreamed of or even considered. It was a space I just fell into. If anything, I wanted to be a professional, competitive Alpine skier! 

    My parents didn’t think there was much mileage in my career ambitions. It was whilst I was getting my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in Austria, back in the 90s, that I started working with Siemens. Before I realised it, I was hooked on MedTech. 

    Yes, alpine skiing vs. engineering-it was a close call back then!!!!!

    MedTech is such a very special place because you can witness how your work directly impacts patients' quality of life. There are not many industries that can give you such personal and professional satisfaction.


  • I agree wholeheartedly with that. There are few such special industries. Todor, a little bird told me that you are in fact a very good skier, and that this runs in your family too. Is that right? 

    Yes, I am a good skier. However, my children are paying the price of my first passion. They are each of them exceptional and in fact they are all competitive skiers and on the local ski team. I still get to enjoy my first passion, but it is in my leisure time. I am blessed that I enjoy engineering, my second passion, so very much. 

    When you left academia, what do you think was your greatest realisation upon entering the working environment? 

    I started working at Siemens on several projects and the one which had the greatest interest for me was in Medical Ultrasound.  Looking back my biggest observation was how different the academic research space was to industry.

    Perhaps the first lesson I learned is that everything you do in Industry must be economically justified; cost matters and the search for perfection is certainly not a virtue in this space!

    I know your career has taken you all over the world. How easy was it to adapt to the various cross cultural working approaches and what did you learn from this?

    I love travelling and experiencing many numerous cultures. Other cultures are unique, different, and challenging in their own way. They are challenging because it makes us realise our own inherent and perhaps unconscious biases and prejudices. If you are going to work effectively together in a cross-cultural environment, it requires humility, curiosity, and a genuine desire to connect. It can be difficult for many individuals, and in truth, I think it can be difficult for anyone, when encountered with something truly ‘different’. However, the professional and personal rewards of appreciating the nuances of the ‘different’ cultures are immeasurable.


  • I really empathise with that point. There have been times when I have encountered something so different culturally that it has come as a shock to me to realise my own inherent and unconscious biases. It is really interesting to travel. 

    You really are not afraid of change Todor I know that, and I think your next career move goes to show that. How did you go from high tech and MedTech, to working at Eltrak Bulgaria, in Caterpillar Construction and becoming a CEO there, given such a dramatic career change? 

    It was a crazy career change I agree. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to focus more on people and sales than technology, and to be truthful, no, I didn’t miss the MedTech world. At least not for a while. 

    The Caterpillar opportunity was pure luck. I was ready for a change, and I seized the opportunity that arose. I became CEO of the Bulgarian arm of Eltrak, and I was fortunate enough to meet Stacey Polites, the talented and successful leader of the Eltrak Group in Greece. I learned a lot from him about entrepreneurship and operating a business.


  • That was a meteoric rise, and you seem to repeat the same pattern in your next career move. You left Simens as a Business Manager Ultrasound, became a CEO at Eltrak Bulgaria, returned to MedTech to GE as the VP and GM in Ultrasound covering NA, Asia and Europe. Those are some huge shoes to fill! What did it feel like to step into that role and what are you most proud of? 

    GE contacted me in 2012 and I returned to MedTech and the corporate world. I actually joined initially as a Global R&D manager but you’re right, I was soon promoted to GM and VP at GE’s Ultrasound business. GE is very data-driven and focused on financial performance. The experience and the learning as a GE Executive are priceless. I am proud to have been part of GE’s Leadership team. That leadership has made GE the dominant worldwide market leader in diagnostic ultrasound that it is today.


  • And next followed another dramatic change as you moved into the start-up world. Yet again you have been immensely successful in this environment, which unfortunately isn’t always the case for everyone. What key lessons have you learned along the way and what advice would you give to others in start-ups? 

    I read somewhere that nine out of ten startups fail at various stages or fail to return the investments of the early backers. That ratio sounds about right based on what I have seen. I have the highest respect for everyone in start-ups, all my fellow entrepreneurs. Success in the startup world is a combination of entrepreneurial persistence, great vision, top people skills, and LUCK. Yes, luck.

    Ideas may be ahead of their time, and projects may go down in flames, only to be reborn 10 years later when the timing is suddenly right, and the start-ups then become successful enterprises. Being the right person, at the right time is something you can't control, but it plays a role in your success.  Malcolm Gladwell persuasively validates such a hypothesis in the “Outliners.” 

    Therefore, I would say to all successful entrepreneurs, be humble. It could have worked out very differently- and I remind myself of this frequently. 


  • That’s a really insightful and observation Todor, and I know you do truly heed your own advice. You are very ‘humble’ about your extensive successes.  

    I know you hold several Board and Director roles and I’m interested to learn what you have noted as differences between these and being the CEO? 

    There are many different types of Boards, and generalizations are tricky. However, there are distinct differences. As a CEO, you have the final decision-making power; the direct operational and strategic responsibilities lie with you. The Board provides guidance, expertise, and oversight to support you in achieving the Company's goals, but they can also fire you if you fail.

    Sometimes, as CEOs we can forget that the Board has, first and foremost, fiduciary responsibilities to the company and its stakeholders. As a CEO it is key to remember that the Board aren’t just a free consulting service for the Executive Leadership Team. They have a very strong governance role to observe.


  • Let’s talk about inHEART, where you are both the Chairman and CEO at inHEART. What attracted you to the team and its technology? 

    I joined inHEART in 2021 because of its founding team. Its clinical depth of understanding of Cardiology and the clinical need mesmerized me. The founding team had a bold vision of AI and the role it could play in analysing clinical data and supporting physicians in making the best treatment decisions for their patients. All of this was long before AI became such a buzzword. Before AI became the AI we know today.

    I was excited by the opportunity to be at the forefront of this development. 


  • What are clinicians, investors, the market, patients saying about inHEART’s solution? What are you most proud of?

    We started commercializing our first SaaS solution two years ago, in 22, and I am excited that we are already available in over 150 hospitals in Europe and the United States. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing how your product helps physicians be more confident, efficient, and effective in treating their patients.  

    I love seeing the independent clinical studies using inHEART and the exciting social media posts inHEART users make about their experience with our solution. These are the greatest “thank you” for our team.


  • What further opportunities do you see? 

    Our focus at inHEART is now on prevention and screening for cardiac diseases, addressing some of the biggest remaining challenges, such as sudden cardiac death and cardio-embolic stroke. 800,000 people suffer from deadly Cardiac Arrhythmias each year in Europe and the United States alone. 

    AI will help identify at risk patients much earlier in the disease progression, so they can get help and treatment before life changing or life-threatening complications arise.


  • That is such a powerful and compelling vision to have Todor. I know many people look to you as a mentor, but has anyone one played a particularly key role in your career / work life? 

    Many people have played important roles in my life at different times, opening new perspectives and changing my worldviews and understanding of entrepreneurship and business. Ram Bedi played such a role at Siemens in the early days, Stacey Polites at Eltrak in Greece, and more recently, Shifamed’s founder, Amr Salahieh, to mention just a few. But there are many more. Personally, my father, who recently passed away, has always been my greatest supporter and wise mentor.  


  • What a wonderful thing to say about your father and I am sure that the three individuals you mentioned will be honoured to learn you see them as mentors.

    Turning this upside down, when you are hiring someone to the company, what is it you look for? 

    I am looking for motivated and self-driven people who fit our culture. Startups can sometimes be messy, with strategic pivots and frequent changes. Employees relying on corporate-style processes and long-term, steady directions may find this fluidity at startups challenging.  It is not for everyone. 


  • I see that a lot in my role. Some people thrive, others find it too chaotic and uncertain. So Todor, before you head into the conference, what do you do in your spare time to relax and inspire you?

    I enjoy running, cycling, and swimming, and I love ski touring in the winter, but what truly re-energizes me, is my family. Spending quality time with my wife, and watching the kids grow and develop their personalities always rejuvenates me and brings me joy.


That’s just a truly lovely answer Todor. I genuinely have enjoyed spending time with you. You are so easy to speak with and I have learned a lot from you. I could continue speaking but I know you’re off to your conference, so enjoy and I look forward to speaking with you soon. And I can’t wait to see what’s next for inHEART- all great and good I know.



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