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In healthcare entrepreneurship, when the payer isn’t the customer

Christina Hernandez Sherwood on April 08, 2014

In healthcare, the people who pay for a product or service aren't necessarily the people who will benefit from it. Natasha Alexeeva, CEO of the synchronized telemedicine platform GoGoHealth, found it difficult to sell to physicians -- realizing that her true customers would be insurance companies. "Physicians would very often be against technology," she said. "They just want to do things the way they've been doing it the last 50 years."

While in negotiations with insurers across the country, Alexeeva said the team at GoGoHealth needed to prove their concept by collecting data and also monetize their model. So the company is piloting its service on a subscription basis with physicians, she said, even though the ultimate clients are insurance companies. And if those two players aren't enough, Alexeeva said she learned employers are the true decision makers, as they tell insurance companies what they want. "It's a big loop," she said, and healthcare entrepreneurs are at the center.

Here are other entrepreneurial insights from Alexeeva:

Be vocal in your co-founder search -- "It's always tricky to meet the right person," said Alexeeva of what she described as her co-founder journey. She found that the best way to meet the right person was to form an opinion -- and verbalize it. Be clear about your mission and what you're looking for in a co-founder, Alexeeva said, and get the word out via your website, LinkedIn, and other avenues. "People who are in sync with you will find you," she said.

Hire within your value set -- Your team will face many setbacks in your startup's life, Alexeeva said, and it's important for potential team members to know it won't be an easy journey. "[Choose] people who you know would continue working," she said, despite setbacks. "Some people will disagree with what you do," Alexeeva said, and they'll find innumerable reasons why something won't work. "You need to find the person who believes it will work," she said.

Be financially savvy to maintain control -- The GoGoHealth team has raised money on grants with the objective of not losing control of the company early on, Alexeeva said. One money saver was the company's participation in BizSpark Plus, a Microsoft program that lets companies host their website on a HIPAA-compliant  platform.

Photo by Tax Credits

Category:  Creation  Execution  Tags:  Entrepreneur, Company Profiles, GoGoHealth

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