Medivo: Finding the Right Investors and Customers is Key to Business Success
Finding the Right Investors and Customers is Key to Business Success
Three years ago, Jason Bhan, MD, a family practitioner, went into business with a cousin—Sundeep Bhan, a serial entrepreneur—and a friend, Destry Sulkes, also an MD. The three healthcare entrepreneurs founded Medivo, which developed tools to track symptoms, explain lab results, and provide personalized health information.
Jason’s role in the New York City-based company is varied: he heads clinical affairs and product strategy, combining his interests in technology and medicine.
He has these tips for life science entrepreneurs:
Find the right investors-- Sundeep, an experienced entrepreneur, brought some investors to Medivo, but more were needed. “We looked at 10 to 15 potential investors,” says Jason. “Some were only in healthcare or IT; we narrowed it down to those with a balance in both,” a combination that is still rare.
Identify your customers--The team was very careful to analyze who needed this type of health monitoring app and would support it over the long haul. “Doctors don’t like paying for this kind of service, patients can’t or would rather not,” Jason points out. “So for support we explored managed care companies, labs, and pharmaceutical companies. The pharma companies were most interested in participating,” he says. Everyone benefits: “The pharma brand enhances visibility, the patient is more empowered (e.g., by access to their lab tests and education), doctors feel they’re providing better services through tools like better record tracking,” he says.
Plan for expansion-- Although Medivo has an accountant, Jason believes being a PCP brought him an important insight regarding personnel and payments. “PCPs are always fighting shrinking reimbursements, borrowing against their own payroll. It’s hard for doctors to admit they’re over-extended,” he says. “Lots of times you want to short yourself, rather than take someone off the payroll.” If you see your company expanding from 10 to 20 to 50 people, have you factored such a course into your budget?
Prepare for rejection-- Jason made the clinical-to-business transition when he and a friend founded Osmosis, a physician social network designed to take advantage of the emergence of Facebook and Twitter. It never grew beyond five people, partly because funding was hard to get. “It can be a very radical shift, going out and asking for funding for what you think is a great idea. Doctors tend not to like hearing we’re wrong, or that what applies to others doesn’t apply to me,” he says. He kept this experience in mind when seeking Medivo investors.