Lessons Learned from Lyft’s Entrance to Healthcare

We have a few mantras around AngelMD. One of those is “invest in what you know.” But recently we’ve also been focusing on the idea of “innovate where you are.” The theory is the same — you know more about the area in which you’re already working, so it makes sense to put your money or your work there.

Over the years, we’ve seen many instances where non-healthcare companies have used this same idea to break into the market. The latest of these comes from Lyft, an on-demand transportation company. Lyft is working toward building out a healthcare business unit that helps patients travel to non-emergency medical appointments. They company is focusing on its own wheelhouse, and then making key hires to help it transition into a new vertical.

Windpact is a great example of this idea. The company’s CEO is a former professional football player. He knew about the dangers of the sport, and he hired the right people to help build the solutions. Today Windpact is finding success outside of football, while still staying true to its roots, and even being recognized by the NFL.

The idea isn’t new, but it seems to come up more often these days. A few months ago, while we were at the Health:Further conference in Nashville, we heard these same suggestions. Dr. Suzanne Manzi, the Lead Investor for the AngelMD Syndicate for Neumentum, echoed the sentiment.

“I’ve seen promising companies, but sometimes they’re run by people who don’t have experience in the market that they’re trying to enter. They can have a great product, but the odds are stacked against them if they lack the background.”

That said, branching outside of your area of expertise isn’t forbidden territory. It’s a move that you have to handle in the right way. As Dr. Jack Lewin shared with us, it’s important to follow your passion, but it’s critical that what you’re following aligns with your experience. If that passion is too far removed, then find someone who can bridge the gap for your company. Otherwise you’ll be chasing problems that don’t exist.

Dr. Lewin’s example is HealthPals. Dr. Rajesh Dash started the company as little more than a lab with a single purpose. However, the market dictated that HealthPals could have a much larger impact than a single lab could provide. By partnering with the American College of Cardiology, HealthPals has been able to transform its business, while still holding true to its roots.

As the AngelMD network continues to grow, we see new companies join every day. There is nothing more motivating than watching a cardiologist, radiologist, or internist build a company that changes their field. Innovate in what you know, or connect with an expert in the AngelMD network. Are you next?

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