Don’t wait for the perfect team to start your company

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Christina Hernandez Sherwood, eMed Editor, MedCity News

Jake Halpert agrees with the conventional wisdom that the team is the most important aspect of an early-stage health care business. "It's absolutely true," said Halpert, CEO of Lucidity Health, which works to bridge the divide between payers and providers by analyzing and moving data. But, Halpert added, an entrepreneur shouldn't wait for the perfect team to start his company. "It's better to start even if you don't have the right team," he said, "because along the way youl'l get the right team."

Each opportunity the company secured by having a full team -- meetings with potential collaborators and interactions with others in health care -- got Lucidity closer to its ideal team, Halpert said. "You can [eventually] get the right team," he said. "If you don't start, then you'll never get the right team."

When a team is working together for at least 12 hours a day, Halpert said, company fit is important. "There needs to be flexibility to make sure everybody is happy and working phenomenally, and sometimes that can mean making an adjustment," he said. "CEOs of early-stage companies especially have to be willing to make those hard decisions to switch personnel."

Here are other entrepreneurial insights from Halpert:

Get the lay of the land -- "It's really hard to sell to hospitals," Halpert said. "Sales cycles are pretty long in health care in general." You learn as you go while working in the health care industry, he said. But it takes time and, sometimes, failures to understand intricacies, such as how databases are wired and how hospitals interact, Halpert said. "It's a lot like playing chess," he said. "After a certain amount of time, you see moves that make sense."

Join an accelerator -- Lucidity landed a spot in the Philadelphia-based accelerator DreamIt Health. Through the program, Halpert said, Lucidity gained access to a prestigious Philadelphia law firm, which helps the company with its bylaws, stock agreements, HIPAA and more. He compared the experience of an early-stage company without the benefits of an accelerator to "growing up without parents."

[Top photo by Victor1558]

[Bottom photo of Jake Halpert]

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