As a former professional hockey player, Todd Humphrey has had his fair share of injuries, surgeries and hospital stays.
The Canadian, who played with the Flint Generals and became a U.S. citizen in 2006, said he knows first-hand the frustrations of the U.S. health care system, “especially the confusion that is so persistent when dealing with your benefits and insurance.”
“This experience plus my entrepreneurial spirit is at the center of wanting to be a part of changing the industry,” said Humphrey, who is a co-founder of League, The Toronto-based digital health insurance platform with a presence in Seattle.
Humphrey, our newest Geek of the Week, said he loves to build companies in industries that need innovation. And drawing on his sports background, working in startups continues to fuel his competitive nature.
“Our mission is centered on empowering people to be healthy, every day,” Humphrey said of League. “Along with making the health benefits experience significantly easier and better for the consumer, we envision having impacted every individual on our platform, making them healthier and happier. It’s a big vision, but we believe we can have a significant and meaningful impact on the overall health and wellness of society.”
A dad to “two awesome girls,” ages 14 and 13, The Canadian-American “proudly flies both flags” and he loves hockey, his Apple products and buying shots for Bono.
Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Todd Humphrey:
What do you do, and why do you do it? “As a co-founder of League, a tech company that is transforming the health benefits and insurance space, I have had a variety of responsibilities since our inception in 2014. Currently, I’m focused on our expansion into the U.S. and helping forge strategic partnerships with companies here in Seattle that can benefit from our platform.
“We believe health benefits should be less of a workplace formality, and more of a performance driver to better engage employees, which in turn increases productivity, retention and helps businesses stay competitive. Big companies, like Amazon and Facebook, have the resources to do this, but smaller businesses typically do not — we want to change this.
“By being part of the League ecosystem, we can provide significant value to our members not only in simplifying and customizing the experience for employers and employees, but also in helping individuals become proactive with their health and wellness.”
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “Eighteen months ago, we determined that the health insurance and benefits industry was fragmented and siloed — largely because healthcare is a highly regulated, complicated space to navigate, with little to no transparency. It is one of the remaining, and yet most important, industries where technology hasn’t had a meaningful impact. We wanted to change this and drive innovation that we hadn’t been seen before. And we wanted it to be totally consumer-driven. Did you know health care is the number one reason for bankruptcy and debt among American families? We’ve set out to build a reliable, simplified experience that puts the individual’s well-being at its center. In the end, we want people to be proactive with their health, and be better, every day.”
Where do you find your inspiration? “I’m inspired by ideas and competition. I love working with teams on building new companies and competing to win. I’m inspired by others and their stories. I love to hear about people’s backgrounds and experiences. How they got to where they are in life, and what successes or failures helped shape their path. I like to hear about their dreams and ambitions and ideas on how to change the world. All of this inspires me to want to do something to make those dreams more likely to happen. It inspires me to build and create something new that will impact society for the better.”
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? “My iPhone. I’m always on and it’s the office in my pocket. It enables me to be connected to our head office, our team, my partners, and my family and friends. Plus, I take A LOT of pictures, so having a camera always in-hand helps!”
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “I’ve got a large desk (and a $25 stand-up option) in my home office, which has a ton of light and a view. I am surrounded by pictures and memories, which makes for a happy and productive workspace.”
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) “Put your phone down for a period of time every day. Seriously, try it! Read a book, think, get some fresh air, have a conversation, and most definitely exercise. I bought a Peloton bike that allows me to work out any time, and has been an awesome addition to our house.”
Mac, Windows or Linux? “Mac, only!”
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Kirk — how can you not love the Captain?!”
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “Transporter — it would certainly beat the hundreds of flights I’m on every year.”
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … “Budget for $500K (knowing that we are going to make some mistakes and need the extra runway) and then I would collect my daughters and their friends to brainstorm!”
I once waited in line for … “Bono, at a hole-in-the-wall bar in New York City. He was with a small group, and looked like he was thirsty, so I bought two shots of tequila and now I have a ‘Bono story’ to tell. It’s a reminder that even the most famous rock stars are approachable, even more so if you offer them $50 tequila.”
Your role models: “My mom. She is simply the epitome of what a mom, grandmother, and friend should be. She is beloved by everyone who knows her; what a lifetime achievement!”
Greatest game in history: “2002 Olympic Gold Medal hockey game: Canada vs. U.S. It was Canada’s first hockey gold in 50 years, and I was lucky enough to be there!”
Best gadget ever: “Electronic Quarterback,” which launched a mere 39 years ago, and provided my brother and I hours of fun (I always won!).”
First computer: “Apple Powerbook 100 (used) — and it was awesome.”
Current phone: “iPhone 7, but excited for the advances coming with the 8!”
Favorite app: “Besides the League app (obviously), it’s Snapchat, because I can always reach my daughters (12 and 14) on it, and I mean always!”
Favorite cause: “Island Friends Guild. My daughter, Claire, is the president of the Guild and they have raised thousands of dollars benefiting the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.”
Most important technology of 2016: “Advancements of self-driving car technologies. I’m excited to see the next few years and the evolution in front of us.”
Most important technology of 2018: “Hopefully a massive breakthrough in cancer research; it is still stealing too many people from us!”
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “Put your phones down! This is especially true if you’re eating with others, spending time with your kids, and most importantly, driving.”
LinkedIn: Todd Humphrey