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Celebrate your wins and own your mistakes/losses
Itano attributes the foundation for his knowledge of value-based care, population health and business leadership to his time at the startup Alignment Healthcare. There, he discovered how much of an impact a company like CareCar could have on someone’s health.
CareCar's uses a market platform approach, where the company onboards independent nursing assistants and medical assistants, and people with that kind of background, to transport patients to and from the doctor using their own vehicles.
The company recently raised a $3 million round of funding led by Kapor Capital and Impact America Fund, with Concrete Rose participating as a co-investor.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t think I really chose to be an entrepreneur. I saw a problem and wanted to fix it. My choice had to do with whether or not I felt the solution was worth the risk of starting a company from nothing.
What are your favorite startups?
AirBnB, Uber, Titan, Coinbase. I like companies that make things more accessible, whether that be a financial product, taxi service, earning side income, vacationing, investing or purchasing digital assets.
Why did you start your company?
I started CareCar because transportation was an ongoing problem at my previous organization. However, it was one of those problems in healthcare that wasn’t big or sexy enough to get a ton of support for driving change. Even though everybody recognized it as a problem and hated it, it was something that people felt they could live with until the bigger issues were solved. My perspective of the larger healthcare problem is that it’s made up of thousands of these “small” problems that all need to be fixed before we will see any change. Each of these small problems hurt vulnerable patient populations. That was enough for me to take the risk and solve it. In doing so, we’ve been able to solve other problems in ancillary care and support.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
I’m not sure there is any singular most “frustrating thing” but I do think many frustrations come with the lack of resources (time, money, people) available to solve everyday problems. The most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur is working with a small group of people with limited resources and being able to actually affect the change you were seeking. The small wins in the vain of the mission, knowing that without you and your team, it wouldn’t have happened. For us, that’s seeing a patient with one less barrier to care. A caregiver with a little purchasing power. A health plan making a smarter decision because of the data we provided.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
Giving up before they absolutely HAVE to!
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
- If you're going to need it in the future, start the fundraising process long before you actually need it.
- Culture and team wellbeing are just as, if not more important, than your actual product’s market fit/viability.
- Celebrate your wins and own your mistakes/losses.
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