Running a medical practice is not easy. Often, the practice of medicine conflicts with the business of medicine. Some factors like increased paperwork, changing regulations, and billing complications all create headaches. Managing these administrative tasks can leave very little time to grow and optimize a medical practice. PatientPop, has built a specific end-to-end marketing and growth platform tailored towards medical practices that’s easy-to-use. With the PatientPop platform, practices can integrate a single solution to modernize the patient experience by streamlining online marketing, reputation management, patient acquisition, and front office efficiency. Existing solution for practices tend to create more fragmentation rather than efficiency and PatientPop’s solution is positioned to change this. The Santa-Monica based company founded in 2014 is expanding rapidly and is nearing 300 employees.
LA TechWatch sat down with cofounder Luke Kervin to chat about the startup, its origin, future plans, and the growing LA Tech ecosystem.
Tell us about the product or service. How is it different?
PatientPop is the first all-in-one practice growth platform designed specifically for healthcare providers. Our solution helps dentists, optometrists, OBGYNs, and other healthcare providers attract more patients, modernize their patient experience, and automate routine tasks like scheduling and appointment reminders.
Prior to PatientPop, healthcare providers needed to hire multiple agencies or invest in multiple tools not specific to healthcare in order to build a website, manage their online reputation, improve their search ranking, and so on. It cost them a lot of money and time, and they often did not have visibility into the success of their efforts.
PatientPop provides everything healthcare providers need to build a successful online presence and to keep patients coming back. They can login at any time to a centralized, easy-to-understand dashboard that shows their practice results, and every provider has access to a dedicated customer success manager who monitors online performance and continuously works to ensure they get the most value from our platform.
PatientPop is designed for U.S. healthcare providers, specifically single-provider or small, multi-provider practices.
The market is large. There are 1 million active healthcare providers — including physicians and non-physicians — in the U.S. today. That number will rise in the coming years in order to meet the growing healthcare needs of baby boomers.
What is the business model?
PatientPop is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
PatientPop is the third business Travis Schneider and I have tackled together. We also co-founded ShopNation, a digital marketing platform that enabled media publications to create an online marketplace for products featured in their publications, which was acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2012. Prior to that, we worked together at StarBrand Media, an affiliate marketing platform serving the television and film industry that he co-founded.
I never imagined I would cofound a healthcare technology business. The idea for PatientPop came to me when my wife and I were expecting our first child. I accompanied her on a few doctor’s visits and was shocked and disappointed by the service: long waits, rushed visits, surprise bills, overlooked test results, and so on.
I saw an opportunity to help healthcare providers improve their practices while also providing better patient care. Travis and I did some research and learned that our platform had to lift the burden of online marketing, reputation management, patient acquisition, and front office efficiency — basically all the things distracting providers from caring for patients. We built the original SaaS product, showed it off to a sample of healthcare providers, and found the demand was enormous.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Travis and I have called Los Angeles home since our days with StarBrand Media. The LA tech scene has changed dramatically in the roughly 10 years since POPSUGAR acquired StarBrand Media and even from when we founded ShopNation in 2010.
Back then, it was really hard to get a Silicon Valley investor to fly down to LA to meet you. You could fly up to San Francisco and do a round of interviews, but there weren’t a lot of LA tech companies being funded by Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists (VCs), so getting investors interested was tough.
Today, the opposite is true. We have VCs flying down here every other week to meet us. PatientPop is definitely on their radar, and so are many of the other tech companies in LA.
LA is now this growing ecosystem of successful tech startups. I couldn’t think of a better place for a SaaS company like PatientPop to be.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We had two goals from the beginning at PatientPop. The first goal was to go from $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) to $10 million in ARR in five quarters or fewer. That’s the Silicon Valley definition of hyper growth. We were able to accomplish that in four quarters.
Our next goal is to go from $1 million in ARR to $100 million in ARR in a five-year timespan. We’re on pace to achieve this in four and a half years.
In the short term, we are focusing on product acceleration and market expansion.
Are you finding any difficulty in recruiting talent as you scale?
We have been incredibly successful in attracting top industry leaders. Some recent notable additions include Vice President of Business Development Jeb Burrows, who previously worked for Athenahealth, and Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Christophe Louvion, previously chief operating officer and senior partner at Inovexus. They join our Director of Local SEO and Marketing — and former Google employee — Joel Headley, as well as many other forward-thinking leaders.
Much of our success in attracting top talent is because people believe in the need for our practice growth platform. Our open, collaborative culture, which has been the focus of articles in publications like Forbes and helped us earn certification as a Great Place to Work® for 2017, also helps drive desire to work for us. Our location — we’re in Santa Monica, just blocks from the ocean — helps us, too.
A great deal of credit also goes to our recruiting and Human Resources team members.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Our investors, which include Toba Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and Athenahealth — the latter of which is also our partner — have invested millions to help us continuously improve our practice growth platform and reach new customers.
Vinny Smith of Toba Capital is one of the most successful technical entrepreneurs in Southern California. His last tech business, Quest Software, was acquired by Dell for about $2.4 billion. While not overly well known within the LA tech community yet, Toba Capital has become one of the most active early-stage investors in SoCal.
I’m confident that the key venture capitalists in LA know of my business partner, Travis, and I, as we’ve met with them throughout the years. One investor I would like to talk business with now is Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures.
Mark and I have known each other for about 10 years — our last business even participated in Launchpad LA, an accelerator he founded in 2009. Mark is known to be one of the top investors in LA, so I’d be happy to catch up.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
LA, specifically areas like Santa Monica and Venice, have their own vibe that influences how PatientPop operates to a certain degree.
To be “Made in LA” to us means to value the wellness of the team in addition to the success of the company. We focus a lot on work-life balance, on health, and on giving back to our community. That’s not something you always find in tech companies outside of LA.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
There are two growing movements in LA that are supporting early-stage entrepreneurship.
The first is the growth of incubators. We’ve seen a number of incubators like Amplify LA, Mucker Capital, and Idealab enter the scene in the last 10 or so years, so there are a lot of opportunities for aspiring LA entrepreneurs to get the funding and mentorship they need to succeed.
The second is the growth of angel investors. Angel investors play an important role in getting companies off the ground. They provide capital, of course, but they also provide mentorship. Some angel investors active in the LA community include Clark Landry, Evan Rifkin, and Paige Craig.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
PatientPop headquarters are on the corner of Wilshire and 2nd Street, so there are a lot of great places to eat right outside our doors.
Personally, I enjoy Italian food and sushi. For Italian, I like Felix and Scopa Italian Roots. For sushi, I like SUGARFISH — there is a location right by the PatientPop office — and Nobu Malibu.