In his years helping companies get out of financial distress, Nevil Hermer observed a trend. Healthcare deductibles were increasing and employees in need of care were becoming more and more squeezed for money.
“Given my background in HR, which has included managing healthcare insurance for every business I’ve been with, I saw the opportunity quickly,” he said. “Understanding the reasons behind the increasing deductibles and recognizing that the patient-responsible portion for healthcare was going to continue to grow, we figured there was an opportunity to build CareCap.”
CareCap’s platform lets businesses and healthcare providers design payment plans for customers and patients that can’t afford the cost upfront. The startup leverages relationships between patients and providers to create plans that banks might not offer. CareCap tries to attract businesses by touting the customer loyalty and retention that comes from offering payment options.
We caught up with Hermer for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “When you visit the doctor and he tells you your deductible and co-pay requires that you pay him $1,000, ask him if he offers CareCap. With CareCap, he can let you pay in affordable monthly payments that you set to meet your budget.”
Inspiration hit us when: “We realized that the merchant is the answer to payment assistance much as banks were some years back and credit cards were more recently — until they tightened their underwriting criteria. Merchants — specifically service providers — will build on the relationships they have with their customers and help them afford the services they need. They know them and our experience is that those merchants who offer payment plans to their customers have seen an increase in revenue and a reduction in bad debt.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We wanted to prove the model before we asked for funding from friends and family – we respect them too much not to test as much as we could first. So, we bootstrapped initially. We currently use angels, but the demand for our solution is so great, institutional capital is needed to scale the company.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “The fact that while we help people afford the care they need, what we are really doing is building loyalty. Patients really appreciate that the doctor is helping them get the treatment they need and they not only come back, but they also tell their friends and family. ‘Care Matters!'”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Hiring smart, committed, passionate people who care about the people they are serving: our customers.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Waiting too long to bring on our PR consultant. We have a great story, we needed to get this out sooner.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “These are all smart and obviously very successful people. We’d be happy to have any one of them – or all three! Mr. Bezos does what we do — connecting merchants with consumers — and he would get the value proposition very quickly.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Ringing the bell to celebrate a win. This generates positive energy and makes us all want to do more.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Cultural fit. Of course we need driven, intelligent and caring people, but they need to want to see the whole team succeed. Team is important; so is respect. We look for team members who will contribute to the current positive working environment.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Three things we all learn from experience: Change happens. It will take twice as long as your best estimate. You will need more money than you think.”