Sometimes meandering works out (really well)
Recently I made a big change.
For the last 15 years, I worked at technology companies that supported the advertising, media, and marketing spaces — commonly referred to as AdTech or MarTech. In fact, I always considered myself one of the “children of AdTech.” While many folks migrated into adtech from other sectors of software, television, publishing and so forth, I was born into one of the earliest generations in Adtech. It was a burgeoning industry developing from digital media roots. It was fast-paced, highly competitive, and filled with M&A. And it was, well, highly lucrative.
Over 15 years I joined 3 different startups; it was an epic run. Each of these were acquired and one even IPO’d prior to being acquired. Towards the end of my run in AdTech, while I was at Oracle, I even got to sit on the other side of the table and help Oracle acquire a handful of companies. What more could I want?
The spine of AdTech innovation is software, data, analytics, AI — all of which continue to reinvent many other industries. So when the time came, I had to ask myself: did I want to run the AdTech playbook again? Or did I want to look at other industries being reshaped by data and software?
Why I Chose HealthTech to Make an Impact
I explored numerous options for my next move, and however meandering the path was, in the end, a few things had become very clear:
First, I wanted to solve problems that helped people. Like REALLY helped people, not some trickle-down-logic that, “by enabling better advertising, we were making businesses smarter and more successful, and therefore are helping people.”
I also learned that opportunity size mattered. Industries where a large gap existed between current state and potential state were super interesting to me. And I couldn’t think of another space that was so far behind where it should be than Healthcare/HealthTech. FinTech has made it so I can trade a stock, check my accounts, and even transfer money to anyone instantly, all in the palm of my hand. So, when I show up at the doctor’s office, why am I still filling out paperwork with a pen — at every doctor I see? And nearly everyone knows about the struggles of trying to submit a claim or deal with insurance, so I won’t even go there. This was an outsider’s perspective, but I knew if I saw the innovation gap so clearly, I could only imagine what it was behind the scenes of healthcare’s inefficient operations.
Finally, I won’t lie, COVID-19 was a huge deciding factor for me. As I watched the world — and our fragile healthcare system — turn upside down, the attraction to HealthTech only grew. We were watching our healthcare system breakdown in real-time, and it was frightening. From patients not being able to get the medical attention they needed, to the catastrophic personnel and financial hardships hospitals were facing, it only highlighted the dire need to reinvent healthcare.
It was a massive opportunity, and one that would absolutely change people’s lives for the better. I was sold.
Why Olive Was the Choice for Healthcare Innovation
For starters, Olive is working to solve many of the exact problems I experienced as an outsider and patient in our healthcare system. Olive is effectively solving the administrative burdens that cost our healthcare system $1 trillion annually. And by using AI to alleviate that administrative burden (data entry, prior authorizations, patient records, to name a few), healthcare professionals can finally focus on what matters most: their patients.
I tend to think that the world gives you signs. And during my interview process with Olive, I had numerous friends simultaneously validating the extreme issues with our healthcare system. One, an RN, received a job offer at a hospital where she would NEVER see patients — the entire job was going to be working with insurance companies on claims. And in an industry where caregivers spend more time in front of computers than they do patients, this did not seem uncommon. Another friend, a surgeon, estimated the time he spent working in various computer software far outweighed the time he spends actually performing surgery. And yet another told me of how she was looking for new jobs and would only consider businesses running on a certain software stack, because she refused to learn a new one.
As if solving for a third of unnecessary, administrative spend in healthcare isn’t impactful enough, Olive offered more. As Olive’s AI becomes more integrated into healthcare’s most robotic processes, the opportunity to impact the clinical side of healthcare only grows. Through machine and deep learning techniques, Olive will make proactive recommendations on new problems she can help solve. Olive isn’t just saving healthcare professionals time, she’s making them more effective, smarter, and better at delivering patient outcomes. Olive draws on her past experiences to find new connections and opportunities to improve healthcare — her growing intelligence across healthcare allows her to uncover waste, track down efficiencies, and highlight human potential with AI.
Sure, there were other things, too — the CEO knocked my socks off with his vision, every exec I met was incredibly smart and energized, and the company had just closed another $106M doubledown investment from the likes of General Catalyst and Drive Capital. That was all just icing on the cake.
And so, as my new journey into HealthTech begins, much like other chapters of my life, it starts with a small company that’s growing fast in pursuit of their vision of a better future. This time the idea just happens to be disrupting healthcare, an industry that affects every last one of us.