March 8, 2023

Episode 196: Cavan Klinsky, Co-Founder & CTO of Healthie

Cavan Klinsky is the Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder of Healthie, where he spearheads the development of the company’s comprehensive white-label and API platform, empowering health and wellness professionals to grow their businesses and build digital-first relationships with clients. He works closely with Healthie’s startups to integrate into other tools used in the growing digital health ecosystem.

From writing the first line of code to scaling an application that powers millions of requests each day, Cavan has built Healthie’s strong, scalable foundation that powers digital health’s future. A self-taught developer from an early age, Cavan has freelanced for different startups, small businesses, and non-profits with a focus on building minimum viable products, and during high school co-founded Gevva, the “First Search Engine to Focus on Getting Things Done”. Cavan completed his first year of college at the University of Pennsylvania, where he met his Healthie co-founder, before dropping out to build Healthie.  

Julian: Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast. Today we have Cavan co-founder and CTO at Healthie. Healthie is a SaaS company that offers infrastructure for virtual first healthcare companies to launch and scale provider services. Cavan, I'm so excited to chat with you.

Not only. In, in this new lens and landscape of, of healthcare where things are extremely transitioning and into so many different ways and people are looking for more alternative ways, get healthcare services, companies are seeing the frustrations of customers and offering or getting the right solutions and, and.

Things essentially for their, for their healthcare needs, but also APIs and, and white label kind of platforms like, like what you're working on that I think are, are accelerating the growth of a lot of different companies. that it's assisting and helping and whose customers are.

But before we get into all that good stuff, what were you doing before you started Healthie?  

Cavan: Yeah, so before Healthie I was an undergrad. I met my co-founder of my freshman year of college and ended up leaving after that first year to work on Healthie full time.  

Julian: Amazing. What was the inspiration and what was the catalyst behind Healthie in particular and healthcare services?

Cavan: Yeah. So I, I got really interested in, in healthcare and healthcare technology, I think as a lot of people did in the industry, which was as a patient uh, I had open heart surgery after my freshman year of high school. And that whole process, right? Prepping for the surgery, having for the surgery, and then especially recovering from the surgery.

I had basically eight weeks over the course of the summer where I was kind of stuck in my bedroom, couldn't run around couldn't exercise, couldn't do the stuff I normally spend summers doing. Yeah. So ended up playing way too many video games, but also got seriously into coding. Built my first web application that summer and then also started to read a lot of like health and fitness blogs, trying to live vicariously through other people when I was really on the med.

So recovered from that did a lot of freelance web development in high school. Went to college where I met my business partner who was getting her mba. She had come from healthcare consulting and she had really basically identified that, 65% of Americans are overweight. There's a whole group of people who are clinically trained to help them.

Why does nobody see a dietician? So we got started out building software tools to allow dieticians to run their business and deliver care to patients. Turns out that really nobody in the industry trying to deliver this really high tech care had a good tool that they could build on to do that. So we moved from just serving dieticians to our current business model, which is being this kind of core infrastructure platform for virtual care.

Julian: Yeah. And what were companies using beforehand? And, and as a preface, I, I, I worked in pharmacy for like six years in independent pharmacy, so I've seen so many different types of software and they're so clunky. They're, they almost look like legacy technology, even if it's brand new. Part of it's compliance, part of it is just, A lack of, of, I guess, attention to UI and UX in, in the experience of, their customers.

But what was the incumbent beforehand and, and what is is Healthie allowing them in terms of these providers to do now? .  

Cavan: Yeah. So, I, I think really before Healthie our customers were faced with three choices. None of them were particularly good choice. One was to try to cobble together like eight different solutions.

Mm-hmm. , which was a nightmare. And keeping that data in sync is a mess, and it's still not really doing what you want. Yeah. Option two was trying to use like preexisting, electronic health record and patient management software, but the reality is like the type of software that works well when you break your foot and go into emerging care.

Is not the right type of software if you're trying to build these, virtual, first, proactive healthcare organizations with these really groundbreaking care models. So then what you saw happening were that a lot of the larger ones were building everything in house. And when you think about kind of what you're building, Right.

To be able to get to the part of the software that's really unique to you, you have to kinda rebuild everything That's table stakes, right? Yeah. Everything from, handling time zones correctly, worrying about daylight savings time, storing all this data in a compliant way, making sure your servers are running 24 7.

And that was just costing a huge amount of money. And it's not kind of what they're, these companies are really great at. What they're really granted is delivering patient. So that's kind of really where Healthie comes in. So with Healthie's platform, we're a solution that you're able to get up and running very quickly, right?

But you don't hit walls because we're API first and fully brandable. You continue to extend it and tailor it for your care organization. And we're also really built for people who wanna build these long-term relationships with their patients, not just see them once every couple years when they have an acute medical.

So that's really what we do. And I think why we've had a lot of success because we're able to be kind of that really good solution better than those other three.  

Julian: Yeah. And you, you, you mentioned in, in, in that explanation, this whole advanced kind of care or the advanced service. I can't remember how you said it in particular, but it it's essentially the healthcare offering and, and the connection from the, the company and, and the patient.

And when you say, this improved or advanced kind of I don't know if it's personability or, or care. Or care experience, what are we missing and, and what are companies trying to do and, and what is Healthie allowing them to do in terms of the long-term relationship that wasn't allowed? Is it, is it part of just understanding, that that customer or that that, I guess patient and knowing their history and their journey and having access to that information?

Is it more than that? What in particular is allowing this increased level of experience?

Cavan: Yeah. Healthie works with a very wide range of companies, right? Mm-hmm. , behavioral health, addiction treatment, sleep, weight loss, chronic pain therapy. So, so big, big, big range. But what really unites our customers is that the, them trying to build a strong, long-term relationship with a patient, right?

And to do that, it's not just kind of one time episodic care, right? It's not, somebody goes into the doctor. They are trying to engage with their patient on a very, very frequent basis, right? They want to have educational content. They wanna see a data feed of how the patient is doing. They wanna be able to have frequent appointments they wanna be able to do asynchronous messaging, and they need that all to be very, very tightly integrated with kind of some of the more traditional parts of how care is delivered, right?

With. The taking notes on visits with e-prescribing, with scheduling, et cetera. So, so it's really kind of that blend of, of basically being focused on patient engagement while tied in with ehr. That I think sets Healthie apart, like a lot of electronic health record systems are really wrappers around a billing module, right?

Like they're really good at submitting insurance claims to payers. And if you look at how a lot of them make money, that's how they make money. They take a percentage of the claims with Healthie. We've taken a very, very different approach. We've had a patient engagement side of the business since day one.

Yeah. We, we don't like make a percentage of, of insurance. Like that's not our focus. We have that functionality, but it's not what drives us, what's really, like our core DNA is kind of enabling that strong provider patient relationship.  

Julian: Yeah. And what does that mean from, I guess, a patient point of view and, and how I, how I see it is that depending on if I have to move or switch providers and.

If they have the same infrastructure, I'll seemingly have the same experience. And what does that mean in terms of accessibility from a patient point of view? That, that has never really been around. If I'm, if I'm signing up for a different insurance provider or a different healthcare service, it's this portal.

It's that portal. Everything is so fragmented. What does it mean for the experience of the user moving forward if it's Healthie, successful?  

Cavan: So I think from an inpatient, really the main benefit is you're using tech that feels like tech that's built by people who care a lot about technology and are good at building it, right?

Like I know as a patient, like if I try to like sign in, like my primary care physician's patient portal. It feels like something from 2005 and, and maybe a lot of it is right. Yeah. So, so the main benefit is that like patience and really everybody has gotten really used to these consumer great experiences, right?

Like one of the things we thought a lot when we were starting Healthie is we want the patient side to feel as easy to use as. And engaging as something like Instagram, right? Or these days, like in TikTok. So, so that's really the main, main benefit to patients. Health's a B2B company. So we really sell to customers and let them kind of customize the platform.

So, but one of the things that we're really focused on doing that is really. Building a, a open platform and not building like a walled garden, like traditionally, a lot of EHRs, it's been very hard to pull data out. They've been very aggressively against integrating with other services and at Healthie, we really take the opposite approach.

We have an API first architecture that makes it very easy to kind of. For providers and for care organizations to pull all the data out to transfer to other places mm-hmm. to pull data in. And that enables these really, really powerful care experience experiences for both providers and for patients.

Julian: Yeah. Tell the audience what we might not know about, having to deal with building through HIPAA and compliance and all those things and barriers that, that others say, whether it's B2C or other B2B models that don't necessarily have the same restric. , what, what does that mean in terms of the timeline to build?

What does that mean in terms of implementing, say new products or features? How does that change the environment of building, being that you've built a lot of products and, and now you, Healthie's kind of the core that you're, you're working on?  

Cavan: Yeah, so, so one of the main One of the main benefits we offer a lot of our customers, especially early stage customers, is the fact that we take a huge amount of that security compliance off their plate.

HIPAA is a bear, right? It's really something that that influences every product decision, every engineering decision, every vendor decision. Yeah. and thankfully for Healthie, we've been HIPAA compliant since day one, so it's something that's always been in our dna. But I get asked a lot about companies who are maybe a little more generic b2b, who are thinking about serving the healthcare market.

And they ask me kind of what it takes to come HIPAA compliant. And a lot of the time it involves ripping out and kind of replacing a lot of stuff. The other thing I think people don't really realize about HIPAA is, HIPAA's, HIPAA's a law a from the nineties, so it's. A one-to-one set of standards or specifics about what type of engineering decisions you should be making.

It's vague and that causes a lot of difficulties and kind of headaches. Yeah. And two, there's no real such thing as being HIPAA certified. Whereas like for soc two, type two, for example, writer or high trust it's very traditional. You get an auditor, they review it and they basically give you any opinion or statement saying, Hey, yes, like you've checked the boxes, you're good.

You can feel good about yourself. HIPAA's a much more kind of general thing. You can get third party audits on it and Healthie we do. But it's definitely less common. So I, I think with, with hipaa it's a, it's a, it's dealing with a lot of the uncertainties and then. It just, yeah. Really drives a lot of those vendor decisions and it makes things a lot more expensive.

Right. So, a lot of times, with hipaa, one of the big things is having a business associates agreement in place with people you share a PHI with. And for a lot of vendors, that's kind of one of those things where as soon as you mention those three letters, they're like, okay, you're on our enterprise plan and your subscription needs to start.

$5,000 a month and not our $5 a month plan. So a lot of those startup costs just get a lot higher because you're not able to use the free version, you're not able to use the basic version. You're kind of forced into this enterprise funnel. And there are also some vendors that just won't sign it. So, there have definitely been a lot of tools over the years at Healthie that we would've loved to use, that we just were not able to.

It was just a non-starter because of HIPAA compliance. So it really is kind of an all-encompassing thing. It's something that we definitely think a lot about.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. And thinking about just the, the, the development process and, and building a product that, that you're working on, in terms of implementing you, you talked about rip and replace and as a founder, I'm like, my heart stops because anything you have to rip and replace or the technical debt that you have to then kind of like, reevaluate and, and change.

What is that onboarding process? So the relationship that you have with certain customers, and not only what's the most compelling, reason for them to, to use the platform and start building on it, but also, how is that onboarding process and how do you get them fully integrated? How much time is, I guess, spent on, on that?

Cavan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Great question. So we really start working with customers all along their lifecycle, right? Mm-hmm. . So we have customers who start with us, as two founders in a venture studio, no product, no customers, et cetera. And then we also, start with people when they've already raised over a billion dollars of venture funding in some cases.

Mm-hmm. , and are very, very far along. Series E, series F where we work with, companies that are already public, right? So we really run that whole gamut. And I think that's, I think that's unintuitive to a lot of people cuz you know, a lot of times you have to choose one. But why I think it works at Healthie is for a couple of kind of core principles, right?

A, we're non-prescriptive, so we're a toolbox that you can really use in the way you want to use. We don't force certain decisions on you. We really focus on flex. That lets us serve a very wide use case of different company sizes. And two, we're modular, so we have a ton of functionality we've been building for seven and a half years.

But if you don't need to use part of our platform, you can turn it off. And what that means is like when we're working with people just starting out, They may use almost every feature, right? Because that's kind of, they don't have anything else in place. But when we come to a company that's very mature, that has thousands of employees, they may start with us just for scheduling or just for the electronic health record, or just for the patient video chat feature.

And they're able to turn off everything else when they start and then turn more things on over time. So we. Versus a straight up rip and replace everything. We're able to kind of slot in around what they already have and what they like, and that makes it much easier to get onboarded. And then as far as getting them onboarded, I mean, frankly, it's one of the things that we've had to get really, really good at.

Yeah, we we invest a ton of money in onboarding, right. In our customer success team, we included all as part of the cost. It's not saying that you. Not sign up for. We handle data migration, imports, training, developer support, et cetera. I like to really always say we keep pace with our customers, so we love supporting aggressive timelines and we can really make them happen.

And that's some of the stuff I get the most personal enrichment outta doing. So yeah, ensure, I think it's having the flexible platform, giving customers a lot of options, and then being able to be there with them and provide guidance so they can basically implement the right options.  

Julian: Yeah. Tell us a little bit about the traction.

How many people or how many customers are, are using the platform? How many how many companies have you set helped set up kind of their businesses and, and, and the level of engagement that you're seeing? Not only from from the conception until now, but what are you excited about in terms of the near future and, and the growth?

Cavan: Yeah, so we work with thousands and thousands of provider organizations. We cover millions and millions of patient lives. Companies that use, he braised over 2 billion in venture. And we really work with a big range. We work with both digital healthcare companies, like kind of cutting edge, often venture backed companies.

And then we also do, kind of more traditional healthcare concierge medicine hospital systems, medical spas, et cetera. And we also do kind of mom and pop private practices. So we really run the whole gamut which is really, really cool. Yeah, it always keeps it interesting and, and like a lot of what we think about is building a platform to really support kind of all those use cases in a really flexible.

Right. It's not like we have different code bases. It's all the same product but we just build it in a very kind of flexible, powerful way that makes it work for all these different areas. As far as kind of upcoming, I mean, we're really excited to just double down on the things that have been going great.

Like our internal motto this year is to go from startup to scale up. So a lot of what we're thinking about is, hey, Healthie's, an 80 ish person company right now, kind of at our current. Things are going well, but we know that when we double internally, when we double our customer base externally, the things that have gotten us here aren't necessarily going to be the things that get us there.

Right. So we're thinking a lot about it, internal processes, hiring the right people, organization, structure, we were just talking about onboarding. Yeah. Like what's the right way to have a really, really organized onboarding. So that's a lot of what we're thinking about. But I mean, what's great about Healthie is like we're a company.

The way we do sales is you get on a call with us, you bring us kind of a, a feature requirement list or problems you're having and we explain how Healthie solves 'em. So that's in a, a really, really great place and just wanna make sure it stays in a great place as we continue to grow.  

Julian: Yeah, yeah. If, I always like to think about kind of high level or, or even just thinking outside in, what are some of the biggest challenges that Healthie faces.

Cavan: Yeah, I mean, I, I think really the biggest thing is, is that startup to scale of transition, right? Like, to give an example especially, a year ago we had like half the people working here that we do now even less. And it's very often like, Hey would people get on calls or we be providing support or doing sales.

And we always, we often hear feedback from customers that, Hey, it feels like we're talking to the founders. And, and often it was because they were talking to the founders or because they were talking to employee. That have been here, five, six years, who knew Healthie like the back of our hand, and are just kind of really, really important core team members.

And that's amazing. And, and that level of experience and feeling cared for and feeling supported is so important. So the question is, how do you just do that at a much, much larger scale? Right. My co-founder and I, we can't like double the amount of time we have in a day. So what we need to do is hire great people allow 'em to succeed, empower them to really be able to handle that scale.

So I think that's a lot of the, the challenges and stuff that, that we're, we're facing. I mean, they're, they're definitely good prompts to have, right? They're champagne problems, but stuff that we're excited to, to solve.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. If everything goes though, what's the long-term vision for Healthie?

Cavan: Yeah. And yeah, going back to co-founder relationship, I, I mean, I think one of the things that I got so lucky about, even though I started a business with somebody I literally just met, is that we've always been really long term aligned on the vision for Healthie. And what that vision is, is we're not in a rush.

We're not trying to like, build into a certain size and flip it. We really, really believe in the mission and in the impact we're having and in building kind of a generationally defining so what, what does that mean? Kind of getting a little more specific. Right. We always like to joke. We're like half seven years into being a 13 year overnight success

But the way I really see it, Is our healthcare system in this country is, everybody knows in the US is just totally, totally broken, right? Yeah. Nobody is happy about it. And we always complain and there's all these initiatives and nothing ever seems to really, really get better. But what Healthie really does, is, it allows kind of all these people and their ideas, all these innovators to be able to really focus on delivering that care.

And when you look at our customer base, right, most of them are delivering proactive care, right? They're treating addiction, not an overdose. Mm-hmm. , they're treating weight loss, not a heart attack. They're treating diabetes, not a amputation. And if we're able to really enable all these cool, new, unique care that really help our healthcare system in this country get more proactive.

That I think could fundamentally shift the balance of how we do healthcare in this country. And I think that's what we're so excited about now, and in doing so and being that core infrastructure layer to power, that you're not just building a great philanthropic business, right? Even though you are having a lot of positive physical impact, you're also building a really, really great financial business as well.

And that's another one of our big principles. One of the most powerful things we can tell people is, Hey, we'll be around in 10 years. So Healthie's been profitable for the past four years or so, right? We keep an incredibly close eye on the cash because being sustainable, being not reliant on external funding is so important because that's what allows us to make the right decisions, and that's what allows us to, to not just survive, but really thrive over the coming.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. So exciting to hear about the progress and, and the impact that Healthie will have and in and in your industry that you're working on, but also with, with other companies and, and the success that, that they have and the experimentation that they'll wanna, go through. I always like this next section, I called him my founder faq, so I'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll see where we get.

So, first question is, what makes what's particularly hard about your job?  

Cavan: I, I think what I'm, what's hard about my job and kinda what I'm uniquely good at is just balancing a ton of different plates and skills kind of at once, right? So like, my day-to-day jumps from like, having one-on-ones with our employer base and being a people manager to jumping in on some of our.

Toughest engineering problems and being kind of like a direct contributor to being on sales calls, being on implementation calls. So really just kind of balancing all of that, I think is a, just a really big blend of skillsets. But I think ultimately I, the, the buck stops with me where if a customer's having problems, if a server's having problems, if employee's having problems, et cetera, like all that really rolls up.

Yeah. And being able to manage all of those and kind of get it done quickly and being able to enable us being healthcare critical, business critical infrastructure is really what. What I spend a lot of my day doing.

Julian: Love that. What, what's your prediction for how healthcare will transition, not only with obviously the the, the injection of services like Healthie, being able to help other providers or other individuals, shift the, the paradigm of, of healthcare services.

But what's your prediction in terms of, the traditional healthcare model where you have a provider, you have a, healthcare, a primary healthcare p. It takes forever to get in touch with them. And, and you might not know extremely like what I is being involved in the healthcare services but what's your prediction for how that changes, how the experience will change?

And, and if you have any wild predictions for how the, the structure of say, insurance and providers and the whole kind of payments process, we love to hear your thoughts in, in your insight with Healthie?  

Cavan: Yeah. So I, I think ultimately healthcare in the system is, is getting more proactive, right?

Right. Like as I mentioned, like I think more and more people are, are really realizing that an ounce of prevention actually is worth a pound of care. And that's happening both with all these kind of people with new innovative care models. It's happening with insurers who are realizing that they'll save a lot more money if they treat.

What's causing the problem and not the outcome of the problem. So I think that's really a, a big thing. We enable I think you're seeing consumers take more ownership of their healthcare, right? They wanna be the ones choosing more of these solutions. They, they are no longer accepting of kind of how healthcare is just new worked and having these really poor.

Kind of distant provider experiences. And then I think you are seeing people, value-based care has been a buzzword for probably decades at this point, but I think we continue to see movement towards that and really being able to not just provide care, but also demonstrate the results of how that care is helping is gonna become increasingly important.

Julian: Yeah, yeah. I, I from a technical standpoint or perspective, being that you've worked on quite a few products and, and Healthie is, is, a product that you're fully invested in. I'm always interested in white label services and being able to quickly bring up a system in, in, in, in half, if not a fraction of the time as traditional means.

As you've said, you don't even need an in-house development team. Sometimes you need maybe one technical founder or one technical engineer to at least, maintain a servicer or product. , what does that mean for companies being able to, come on board and are you seeing other outside of healthcare and, and Healthie other kind of white label services interjecting or, or speeding up, know, the process of companies being built in other industries as well?

Cavan: Yeah, yeah. So I, I think, I think white label services are, are, are great if done correctly, right? So like with Healthie you can get your own web application that's very customized. You can get your own app in the app store without writing a line. And it ends up being kind of very split for you. And I think there's a couple important things there.

One, like Healthie is very flexible, so it is actually very customized to the, the customer. And it's also easy to change. So like we've had people pivot their business models on our white label mm-hmm. in a matter of days just by checking and unchecking some boxes where if they had built in house, they would've had to throw out a ton of code and kind of.

But then what's also really important is the company offering the white labels needs to be offering the white labels in a way that they can still be a, a technically competent and kind of very efficient service provider. Yeah. I know of people offering white label solutions where they literally have a different code base per white label.

They are submitting, the app once, there's no regular updates, like they have no ability to really orchestrate it and like that is no good cuz then you're getting kind of crappy. And who cares what the branding is, if the underlying tech is not very good. So I think that's one of the things that I think we're really uniquely good at and Healthie, is we offer these very customizable white labels, but it's all the same code base, it's all the same product, and we don't slow down on, on feature delivery velocity because we're a white label platform.

Yeah. And then the other thing, when it comes to white labeled and to no code in. Is, I do think at a certain scale you're going to outgrow at least parts of a white label. Yeah. And that's why I think what's also so important about Healthie is we build these white labeled interfaces on top of our api. And then we make that same API available to customers to build on top of themselves.

So if you're u, if you're a no code tool that just has the, the interface you're gonna have customers graduate off the platform. But if you're like Healthie and you have both kind of that no code interface and the ability to write code to extend that interface, I think that's where a lot of the uniqueness comes in.

And that's really what, what lets us scale up to these very, very large.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. Where do you go to find good people and how and how do you assess good talent?  

Cavan: So a my favorite way is good people, no good people. So our favorite way to find new people is, is company referrals, or people in my personal network that I know very well, that have a lot of trust for who refer people out.

So, so that's, that's my favorite. Beyond that, I mean, I think from a top of the funnel perspective, we're very open. We have job postings on greenhouse, on LinkedIn, on Angel List, and all these different places that, that I think ends up being a little less. But when it comes to evaluat, I think we have a pretty straightforward interview process, and basically for most roles it's, Hey have you done something like this in your prior experience?

Can you describe doing it in prior experience in a way that like clearly shows that you know what you're talking about. Are you a good culture fit? Right? Like one of our core principles is we don't hire assholes, but beyond that, like we really like people who have some personal connection to, to healthcare.

Like a lot of our developers are former biology majors who are career switchers or people came from other career paths, but just have some knowledge of the healthcare system. Mm-hmm. . And then finally we, we do like basic sanity checks. Have you been telling us like the truth during this process? , right?

Whether it's a, a coding interview or whether it's a background check or reference checks. Because transparently we have found, when we skip those steps, you do occasionally get people who are great at interviewing but don't actually have any real capabilities underneath that superficial level. So that's really kind of what we do.

And then ultimately, we, we, we believe in that process and it's been going well. But we do love, love personal referrals from other people at.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Thinking about fundraising and, and being that, health tech is, is so popular because I think everyone's trying to address the problem that you mentioned early in the show, which is healthcare is kind of broken or, or it's fragmented and, and no one's necessarily satisfied on, on either layer, right?

Doctors aren't, aren't fi maybe not getting the right patients or getting enough patients or insurances are, are having it difficult to actually service people, insurance providers. Dealing with, inflated costs and, and disgruntled customers. And patients, of course want the healthcare that they need.

Thinking about, healthcare and, and the platform. Just going back to my question here when, when thinking about not only fund the right people, but God, I lost my train of thought here. I totally, I totally was on a rabbit hole. What was my original question there?

It was fundraising. Fundraising. Thank you. When thinking about kind of in a Red Sea environment, how do you not only differentiate your product but also how do you. Kind of, and find the right investors, find the right group around you to help you know who, who understand and, and, and care for the product vision.

What advice would you give the finders looking for those people?  

Cavan: Yeah. . So I think we've had an interesting fundraising journey, right? Where we, we started the company being this kind of like dietician focused company or almost like a mind body competitor. We raised the seed round in 2016, or what at the time was considered a seed.

We raised a million bucks. Yeah. And then we went all in on being kind of this like, hey, venture back scale, scale, scale. Like blitz, blitz, blitz. Yeah. And what we ended up. Is we almost killed the company because we didn't really invest enough in product. Yeah. We hired a bunch of sales and marketing people and we were trying to grow a lot in a space that frankly wasn't a venture backable space, like selling software for 90 bucks a month, you could build a wonderful business, but in the space we were in, it was not a venture scale business.

So we, we hit a wall really, really hard. And got to a point where basically like clearly nobody would've put more funding into the business. So we ended up, having to do a round of layoffs. We rebuilt the entire product. This is back in 2018. Yeah. And we kind of came out of that with a product that suddenly people loved.

That was cash flow positive. So we could kind of grow in our own power. And we thought we'd do that. And then this digital health side of the market open, where when we did that rebuild, we were able to sell this kind of much more sophisticated technology. Yeah. Which, which let us start going more and more at market.

And then instead of selling, $90 a month software you're selling like, $90,000 a year software, even, even more than that. And that really changed the dynamics. And then what also was happening was we were in this, health tech infrastructure was not a word in 2016.

And then Covid happens, and then like 20 20, 20 21, it becomes like the hottest space. So yeah, all these people were emerging, all this money's flowing in. And we really realized that we had almost done an about face. We had done an amazing job of building a product but we. Did a terrible job of marketing ourselves cause we were spending all this time and energy building the best product and helping our customers.

Yeah. So we did an A round in 2022. From some, some great investors and really to, to, know, to help ensure we were in the conversation and really to double down on building the best product and customer experience. So, so today, Healthie's raised about 17 million, but what was really great about our last round is we raised not having to raise money, right?

We were a profitable company. So that gave us a lot of kind of control over the situation, and that really led us, help us identify and choose the right investors for Healthie. And I was talking about like, and as far as who those are, I was talking. The fact I've aligned long-term vision with my co-founder.

And it's also really, really important in having aligned long-term vision with your investors. So when we got a bunch of term sheets, and really what we were looking at during that process was, Hey, is this somebody who will like, hey, trust us as founders to run the business. Right? We didn't want somebody who kind of like micromanage or second guess every decision, right?

And to somebody who was like aligned with kind of the long term. We're like, the way we become a huge company is not. Discounting like crazy, hiring a ton of cold callers and trying to have the best next quarter. But we're really trying to have the best next five years, the best next 10 years. So yeah, we, we found some great investors both, some, institutional firms and then we also Brought on a lot of individual angel investors who are operators in healthcare or healthcare technology, and those have been amazing.

Some of them are our customers or have now turned into our customers. They're a great source of referrals. And having those people who are now basically financially bought in Healthie has been amazing as well.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah, it's incredible to see the, the progression, especially with, with it, it, it's like almost like a pivot, but it really, it's just adding more in terms of what you're able to affect and, and how the, the infrastructure really does impact, multiple types of healthcare providers and professionals.

It's always fascinating because pivoting is one of the hardest things, but one founder said on the show, product market fit is a point in time and not, not a consistent thing. And I thought that was, that, was there very much representative of, of the story you kind of described there, which is you had a viable product, you shifted to, to work on something that encompasses more features and services, and then once you build that, then you have to spend money on, on marketing and, and sales and really getting your product.

It's so exciting to hear that founder journey and the evolution. It just seems like, done, done the right way. I always like to ask this question. If you had a magic wand what's one thing that you would want your company to have now versus wait for it or, or have it in the future? What's one thing that you would for right now?

Cavan: I think the most important thing about most companies is the people. And we have a lot of really great open roles. So if I had a magic wand, we would have them all filled with amazing people who were fully trained and ramped up, and that would be great. Cause that's, that's a lot of my time. And, it's not, it's a multi-month process to find the right people and then it's a multi-month process to train people up.

So yeah, if I had a magic wand, people, people, people.  

Julian: People, people, people I love. I always like to ask this next question, not only for the audience, but for selfish research purposes. Whether it's early in your career or now, what books or people have influenced you the most? ?  

Cavan: Yeah, that's a good question.

I, I read a ton. And honestly, it's one of the things I had stopped doing in the middle of the company. Like I used to do it a lot before starting Healthie, and then I got so busy and frankly, we'd spend a bunch of time, I still spend time on Twitter, but on all these things instead of reading actual books.

So I, I really do love reading. I hit what I hit last year, I think 48 books. And, and I think they're just really, really helpful. As far as kind of what has influenced me, I mean, I, I think I don't read a ton of. Business self-help books, if that makes sense. Or business advice. Books. I really like reading mostly non-fiction about interesting people doing interesting things, right?

So like I just finished reading the book Endurance, which is about Ernest Shackleton and, and that expedition that went completely, terribly wrong. And they got stuck in the literally an Antarctica for years and had to climb back over the ice. And on these small boats back to civilization. That's an inspiring book.

Does it teach me anything about building a product directly? No. But does it put me in the right, the right mindset to do it? I'd say yes. So yeah, I would say either, there's definitely a lot of more like specific names. Like I grew up reading Paul Graham essays, like, that's big, like, on the tech end, the 37 signals or Nate Kerak on, like the rails performance getting away in the weeds.

So the, there's a whole range there, but I think most of. Most enriching stuff I've read has been a little higher level. Just interesting. True stories that I think have just been, I think, has expanded my worldview in a way that reading just tech documentation, may not,  

Julian: yeah, yeah. One, one founder said it before, it's like learning a new perspective or, or, or new kind of, thought process from methodology versus, in terms of attacking certain situations.

And it's cool. As founders, I always like to ask that question because I think we're, we're able to, Bits and pieces of information that are super helpful and valuable out of almost anything we ingest. So it's interesting about hearing about what you ingest yourself. And Cavan, I know we're at the end of the episode here, but I do wanna give you a chance to give us your plugs.

Let us know where we can be a fan of Healthie, where we can support you as a founder, where we can know more about the product and if I'm somebody who wants to engage with it, where we can find and, and start using the. .  

Cavan: Yeah. So, if you're building a company in the digital health space please definitely take a look at Healthie for your Infrastructure platform or, g e t h e A l t h i

If you're looking for a job, we're hiring for a ton of roles. So, if you go on our LinkedIn, you can see all of those there. You can follow us on Twitter. Those are probably the main ones. If you ever have questions for me directly, I'm just So always feel free to reach out.  

Julian: Amazing. Cavan. It was so amazing. Not only learning about your founder journey and, and what was the inspiration for you and, and also you know, what brought you and your co-founder together, but also the healthcare space and, and how Healthie is really ch changing in, in, in the way of, of giving accessibility but also helping kind of accelerate ideas more quickly and more readily so that we can start testing them and seeing as a consumer what's gonna be valuable for us.

So I hope you enjoyed yourself and, and Cavan, thank you so much for being on the show today.  

Cavan: Yeah, thank you for having me. Great time.  

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