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Female Disruptors: Shani Toledano of HTVet On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shani Toledano.

Shani Toledano is the CEO and co-founder of HTVet and HTBioImaging, revolutionary companies on a mission to rule out cancer in both humans and animals. Shani’s inspiration for finding the company comes from her late father’s late stage cancer diagnosis. Prior to co-founding HTVet and HTBioImaging, Shani served in the Israeli Air Force as an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) instructor and a commander of a flight training center. Following her service, Shani worked for the Israeli Aerospace Industries as a developer of simulators for the aerospace Industry. Shani holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering focusing on Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, and Energy as well as a Master of Science in Artifical Inttelligence with a focus on Medical Imaging from Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

In Israel, as most eighteen year olds, I enlisted in the Israeli Army and was an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) instructor and a commander of a flight training center. Following my service, I worked for the Israeli Aerospace Industries as a developer of simulators for the aerospace Industry.

Alongside my work at IAI, I studied at Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering where I obtained my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering focusing on heat transfer, thermodynamics, and energy as well as a Masters of Science in Artifical Intelligence with a focus on medical imaging.

In July of 2016 I co-founded HT BioImaging, inspired by my father’s late-stage cancer diagnosis. I was always curious and passionate about technology, medicine and the start-up industry as a growth engine for the world and I love to learn new things. I really wanted to find a way to detect cancer as early as possible as I understood early detection increases the chances of survival. As a part of my studies I had read about Heat Diffusion Imaging (HDI) as a technology and knew there was a way to utilize this technology to detect cancer early that wasn’t being utilized in practice today. After two years of developing solutions for human cancer detection, my team and I found apparent similarities in dogs and the ability to rule out cancer for dogs so in 2020, we launched HTVet.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The technology we use at HT BioImaging and HTVet is a completely new technology called Heat Diffusion Imaging (HDI). I will use HTVet’s proprietary device HT Vista as an example for how the technology is utilized. Before HTVista, veterinarians used to have to use invasive needles to extract a sample from lumps and bumps found on dogs to then send to the labs where it could take a week to test the sample to see if those lumps or bump were cancerous or benign. HT Vista, is the first non-invasive medical device that allows veterinarians to rule out cancer of subcutaneous and dermal masses at the clinic in a fast and affordable way, utilizing Heat Diffusion Imaging (HDI) patented technology alongside artificial intelligence, computer vision, and signal analysis to detect and determine further investigation for cancer diagnosis in dogs. The device looks like a tablet with a scanner attached to it that includes an LEDs, a thermal sensor and an optic camera. It takes up to 50 seconds for the scanning process and a few minutes to receive results to see if further invasive testing needs to be conducted or not. It is fast, affordable, and efficient, saving time for the veterinarians as well as saving dogs and dog owners from the uncomfortable process that existed before HT Vista. Until now veterinarians were used to this old process and old way of thinking but not HT Vista is transforming the landscape, disrupting the industry and changing it for the better.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from

I can’t find one… Maybe it’s just because I take the mistakes I’ve made too seriously. :)

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My business partner Gideon Barak who is a very experienced and well known serial entrepreneur has been a tremendous mentor in this process. When I first had the idea for HT BioImaging I came from an engineering background. I knew I needed a business industry veteran to show me the way and I searched and contacted many people with vast backgrounds in launching successful businesses, and when I contacted Gideon, he really believed in me and my passion for this company and technology. Not only that, he shared the same passion and drive as I did and since then he has guided me through the intricacies that come from starting a business and to this day he is along with me on this journey as my co-founder and chairman of HT BioImaging and HTVet.

Dan Halutz, Israeli Air Force lieutenant general and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and commander of the Israeli Air Force, is another mentor of mine I met through a mentorship program right after my service in the Israeli Air Force. Through this program we spent hours speaking on goals and ambitions and the knowledge and expertise he offered still make a their lasting impact today with how I approach decision making. I still consider him as a mentor today and even consult with him on various ideas.

I can’t mention my mentors without mentioning my father who inspired the inception of HT BioImaging and HTVet. Throughout his life he mentored and even in his absence he continues to guide me. His initials are HT for Herzl Toledano, and everyday I walk into the office and see his initials on the wall I am reminded the motivation and drive for why I do what I do is because of his mentorship. He is my constant inspiration to achieve the HT BioImaging and HTVet missions to detect cancer as early as possible for more focused treatments.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

If you are being disruptive in an industry to make that industry more efficient then I think disruption could be a great thing. In the nature of my work I work with industries that are very set in their ways and there is a barrier to entry for technologies who want to improve these industries through “disruption.” HTVet could be seen as very disruptive to veterinarians as it completely changes the idea of the cancer diagnosis process, but in a positive way.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

I’ll share a piece of advice that I actually didn’t take which is, “don’t work with family.” My brother is the VP of R&D at my company and we work fantastic together. There is something to say about this, that it doesn’t work in every situation, but the common thread pulling us together is my father and our mission to help others detect cancer sooner than when my father did which ultimately caused him to pass away. I think that is a bad piece of advice depending on what the company is and for some people it works and for others it does not.

Another piece of advice I received is “hire people who are smarter than you.” Without a doubt I am no expert in AI algorithms, but I hand-picked my team so that they are all extremely knowledgable in what they do and like me, the company mission really resonates with their personal missions, which creates an extremely motivated environment.

I will also give you a piece of advice, never be afraid to fail. I believe, I and many other people in this world, have experience failure and I have always been able to learn from those failures. The difference between dwelling on those failures to push through them versus learning from them and moving on is incredibly impactful to future successes. If you continue to look back at failure you won’t give yourself the room to grow from them and move forward.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

HTVet is working to develop its technology to be available not only to dogs, but cats, and other animals further down the line. We are expanding with distribution partnerships to make sure the device is available worldwide for veterinarians so pets no longer need to be put through unnecessary uncomfortable situations.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I really subscribe to the philosophy that a woman can do anything a man can do. If you have the confidence and knowledge to start your own venture and hold yourself to the same standards or even higher standards as counterparts in your industry the challenges you face will be unique to every other entrepreneur, no matter their gender identity.

When it comes to the idea of societal stereotypes and motherhood it is all about who you have in your support system to really overcome those challenges. For me that comes in the form of my husband and our mothers, my child’s grandmothers. They have really helped me maintain my drive and passion in my career so that the challenges I face are unique to me but no different to any other entrepreneur regardless of gender.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

The book Heat Transfer, by J.P Holman. It is definitely not a typical inspirational book but it created the foundation behind the technology my companies use today to make an impact on the world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Definitely early detection for cancer. Not only are patients effected by this potentially having the ability to save their lives, but also their loved ones are incredibly affected. In 2020, 18.1 million people were diagnosed with cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International, and over 50% of dogs over the age of 10 years old are likely to develop cancer. Through HT BioImaging and HTVet, I can inspire a movement to create awareness around early cancer detection.

It is known in the industry that detecting cancer as early as possible greatly increases chances of survival and allows for an individualized treatment plan that can ultimately save lives. I would love to get cancer patients diagnosed as early as possible so that not only them but also their loved ones can remain calm and support the patient through their treatment and on their road to recovery.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If nothing goes right, go left.” I use this as my motto in my entrepreneurship journey. I am not sure who said it first, but I heard it and it really resonated with me and it is something I think about often when I am working on something for HT BioImaging and HTVet. I need to be innovative and on my toes consistently and I think this quotes truly captures my journey.

How can our readers follow you online?

HTVet Website:

HT BioImaging Website:

My LinkedIn:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!



In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.