Starting Up in Health Tech

At Emerge we started and are all still working towards one goal: Saving Healthcare.

For a startup health tech company to undertake such a grand mission – staring down the massive, entrenched juggernaut of complexity that is modern American Healthcare – takes bold vision, sure, but also the mindset of a pioneer.  A pioneer, not an underdog.  While it might have felt invigorating to fancy ourselves underdogs, it was useful to keep in mind that the underdog is, more often than not, squashed underfoot, while the pioneer is the one whom others follow into the new world.

In assembling our pioneer team, Emerge looked for core value-based skills that potential members would either inherently have or be willing to make their own.

    An ability to understand and articulate your mission and vision is the number one skill for entrepreneurs looking to assemble a health tech team. Beginning with the end in mind, and putting a team around you that shares your vision and goals is crucial.

    In health tech that goal should be improving patient outcomes and efficiency.

    When you’re hiring people, you have to make sure that they all share a common vision of how health care tech should be - and understand how your company is going to improve outcomes and quality of care for patients by bringing medical data intelligence, technology and business process to a chaotic workflow.

    If people don’t innately understand your mission and vision, you don’t want them on your team.

    Communication is also especially important for a health tech business.  You had better be able to communicate your vision to your team – your view on what’s broken and what you are all working together to fix.

    You must all be speaking from one voice or the mission will fail.

    You also need to regularly communicate a compelling business case around what your team is doing. As a health tech entrepreneur, it’s your job to inspire investors, who will give you the required capital necessary to go down this road. They’re an integral part of your team.

    Resiliency is important for health tech teams.  In this space, you’re going to fail before you succeed.  So for us at Emerge, we only hire people who understand that no matter how many times we fail, we have to get back up and adjust course to continue on in our mission to save healthcare.

    People who are easily discouraged or afraid of failure don’t have a place on a health tech team.



These three skills - understanding and articulating vision, communication, and resiliency - all go back to transparency.

There has to be full transparency at every level of your health tech organization:

  • transparency between you and the healthcare organizations you’re trying to fix;

  • transparency between you and the tech companies you need to partner with to win, and

  • transparency between you and venture capitalists, who you need to fund the journey. 



To aspiring health tech entrepreneurs - going into it, understand that one of the happiest days of your journey will be the day you reach ZERO. That is the exit point from the valley of death. When you generate enough cash from your customers to pay your overhead and simply break even.

For the very few that make it out, the journey is on average 8 years.  No such thing as an overnight success in Healthcare.  You’re fighting against a broken system completely entrenched in the law of unintended consequences.

Have fun and stay the course. Remember why you started.

--Scott Finfer • CEO, Emerge













































Source: Washington Post