Mauricio Gonzalez de la Fuente had been working for Microsoft for over two decades when he finally decided to strike out on his own as an entrepreneur. He found motivation to take the plunge from his daughter, who was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“Her seizure disorder has resulted in a couple of visits to the ER and many more scheduled appointments,” he said. “After 21 years at Microsoft, where my last title was General Manager, Customer Lifecycle Management, I was certain I would start a company focused on healthcare.”
And so he did — with the help of medical informatics PhD Sigal Saar Ben-Ari. Together they co-founded Kodu Care, an online marketplace that connects patients with healthcare providers for home visits. Users enter their zip codes, preferred time slots, and patient info and Kodo Care promises to call with a confirmed appointment within an hour.
Here’s how it works:
We caught up with Gonzalez de la Fuente to learn more about his company for this installment of Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “KoduCare is building a shared economy marketplace, connecting patients with doctors and nurses delivering in-home healthcare, childcare, and nursing care. Kodu means ‘home’ in Estonian and our company is all about bringing healthcare to your home.”
Inspiration hit us when: “I heard several of my physician friends tell me how burned out they were in their jobs. Also, [it hit us] every time I had to leave the office, pull my daughter from school and drive to her doctor appointments. There had to be a better way that balanced the needs of both patients and doctors.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap and 9MileLabs.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Aligning the economic interests of family doctors and patients is our core focus and sauce.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “This one is easy. Joining 9MileLabs was a great move. It is a great organization, a solid roster of mentors, a complete and well thought out curriculum and an amazing cohort community.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “This one is also easy. As we were running as fast as we could, we hired an agency to help us build our website. While the team we hired was super talented, we very quickly realized that we needed to bootstrap even more and leverage other services like E-lance to get started.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “I am a big fan of Bill G and had the pleasure of meeting with him several times during my years at Microsoft. But I have to say Bezos. I believe Bezos has built a company culture that is focused on learning, iterating, and course correcting. We believe this is key to a startup and Bezos has somehow preserved a startup culture in a massive, hugely successful company.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Our small team is in perpetual team building mode.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Keen eye to identify challenges, balanced with a huge appetite for finding solutions.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Do it! Do it! Do it! You have so many build years in your life. Go out there and start something!”
Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the companies participating in the 9Mile Labs incubator spring cohort.