Geoff Clapp’s List of 6 Things Health Entrepreneurs Should and Shouldn’t Do
Geoff Clapp (@GeoffClapp) is the Co-Founder of Health Hero and, more recently, the Co-Founder of Better (an app that is a Personal Health Assistant). He was the keynote at Silicon Valley Health 2.0 meetup on April 15, 2015. The title of his talk was “Six Things for Health Entrepreneurs (and One Shameless Plug).” TDWI Media was there to film the entire event (see below).
Geoff has been a healthcare entrepreneur for 15 years, having a successful exit from his first company, Health Hero, that sold to Bosch. After that he retired for 4 years (translation – he did really well). His passion is digital health. In fact, he says what he wants on his grave stone is “That guy helped out in digital health.”
He is excited by the entire health continuum from wellness to critical illness, but he advised the audience of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, “The person who needs you the most is the person with serious illness, not the wellness folks.”
Here is the video:
And, here are his main points together with the time he discusses them in the video.
1. Regulation is not the enemy
Minute 3:31. If you care about quality, then the FDA is not a threat. If we don’t start to appreciate and comply with regulations, “we will end up with the junk that is on Indiegogo now” (e.g., the Healtbe GoBe). We need to hold ourselves to higher standards. Remember, to many what we are doing is akin to Silicon Snake Oil!
2. The Global Allure
Minute 6:45. Startups often want to go global way too early. They need to remember that the US is not one big market. Rather, markets differ state by state. They need to master the domestic markets before going abroad. Geoff tells the audience, he made the mistake of going global too early and almost drove his company off the cliff.
3. The Death March (aka We Got a Pilot!)
Minute 10:15. “You need to know how many pilots you need to learn what you need to learn.” “Don’t make me cry,” he says, by showing me “an advisor or pilot deck with a slide showing Stanford, UCSF, Harvard, and Kaiser. Every startup has a slide like this. Instead, tell me what you learned from the pilot, who you worked with, and how it is going to work.” “Try vs Buy” discussion at minute 13:45: You need to know the difference between the guy (or company) that says “I love you” and wants to do a 100 person pilot vs. someone (or some company) that wants to do something meaningful with you.
4.There is a Healthcare Consumer (It’s the Patient)
And yet, Geoff says, we ignore the patient. But, it is important to know that what we are experiencing now is the rise of the consumer and a big change in the way healthcare is paid for. Increasingly, consumers are paying out of pocket or from health savings accounts or defined contributions. Many have money to spend. Healthcare is complex and time-consuming. “People will pay if you can cut through the complexity and save them time. Everyone in the room should ‘run home and build something for these people'”. Discussion of “Place” at minute 18:33. “Healthcare is awesome at building builldings. It is good at place, but not at mobility, telemedicine, or going where people actually are. Place is going to continue to change dramatically.”
5. Solve a Real Problem
Minute 19:47. This is my favorite of all of Geoff’s points. He asks the audience, “What problem doe the Fuel Band really solve? There are too many products based on technology for technology’s sake.” Its better to go after those boring problems that are important to people who are sick (yeah!)
6. The Fund-Raising Landscape
Minute 23:14. “It is really frothy out there – lot’s of stuff is getting funded.” [Music to the audience's ears!] Geoff says “most of you will be able to raise money from someone.” [Music crescendos!] Minute 24:24 More things that make Geoff cry: “Please don’t tell me you are going to disrupt healthcare. Fixing health care is going to take all of us plus millions more.” You need, he says, “to have people who are both inside and outside of healthcare to work with.”
One Shameless Plug
Watch (minute 26:46) as Geoff announces the launch of his new company, Better, is taking place the next day!
Questions and Answers
Minute 29.16. How Important are Pilots and Studies?
Minute 32:10. What are the right paths to reach consumers? Payers? Physicians? Employers?
Minute 35:53. Is there more resistance to change in healthcare? How do we market to docs?