Today's Entrepreneur: Ashish Mehta, co-founder of OnlineSales
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Today's entrepreneur is Derek Streat, CEO of healthcare access intelligence company DexCare.
Spun out of Providence Health in March 2021, DexCare is a data-driven intelligence company with the stated goal of making access to healthcare easier and better for everyone. The company provides a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for health systems that works across all care settings and modalities, including on-demand virtual visits, scheduled in person visits, urgent and retail care, primary care, and even some specialties.
The company recently raised a $50 million Series B round, bringing its total funding to $71 million.
Streat is an accomplished healthcare technology entrepreneur and executive, having co-founded and/or been at the earliest stages of six venture-backed companies including C-SATS (acquired by Johnson & Johnson), Classmates (acquired by United Online), Medify (acquired by Alliance Health Networks) and AdReady (acquired by CPXi).
Prior to joining Providence as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to commercialize the DexCare platform, he served as Vice President of Digital Solutions at Johnson & Johnson - a role he assumed after C-SATS was acquired by the world’s largest healthcare company. There he led the charge to transform the organization responsible for training 250,000 surgeons worldwide into a leading healthcare quality improvement and continuous learning institution that directly advanced patient outcomes, provider efficiency, and health system value through digital solutions.
Streat is also actively involved in national healthcare data transparency efforts for the improvement of patient care as a Co-Founder and Board member of two leading data sharing organizations, PEDSnet and the Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative (IROC).
I am a(n):
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
In addition to bringing DexCare to market, I’ve co-founded and/or been at the earliest stages of six venture-backed companies, five of which I led as CEO, and four (so far) that successfully exited in acquisitions, including C-SATS (acquired by Johnson &
Companies I work or worked for:
Chief Executive Office, DexCare, Co-Founder & Chairman of the BoardCo-Founder & Chairman of the Board IROC Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative, Venture Partner, SpringRock Ventures, Entrepreneur In Residence, Providence, Vice President, Digital Surgery Solutions, Johnson & Johnson, Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman of the Board, C-SATS, Inc., Entrepreneur in Residence University of Washington Center for Commercialization, tSVP Corporate Development & Strategy; GM of Medify Business Unit Alliance Health Networks, Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman of the Board, Medify, Inc., Entrepreneuer in Residence, Voyager Capital, VP Global Microfinance Solutions & New Ventures, Unitus, Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman of the Board, AdReady, Entrepreneur In Residence Madrona Venture Group, Classmates.com
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?
I like to start, build, and grow businesses that make a difference, and I particularly enjoy working with smart, passionate people to solve challenging but meaningful problems. The solutions I've helped design often expose and utilize data in innovative ways to bring transparency to markets, thereby making them less costly – in terms of time, money, and frustration – for the primary participants. I get particularly jazzed working on large-scale problems that produce tangible societal benefit, which ultimately drew me to the healthcare industry.
My favorite startups:
Civica Rx and Truveta are two I’ve been following. Civica Rx is a nonprofit generic drug startup that was created in response to the ongoing challenge of chronic drug shortages and astronomical prices for life-saving medication. I particularly like their commitment to social responsibility, and mission to improve access and affordability of quality medicine, which has long been a key pain point in the healthcare system. It also exemplifies how a non-traditional approach can effectively break the status quo and solve a challenge that impacts millions of people. Truveta is a company that, like DexCare, began as an idea within Providence Health. They’ve built a platform that stores and analyzes de-identified and normalized health data to drive new insights in personalized medicine, support research into potential cures for rare or emerging diseases, and provide clinicians with better visibility into potential diagnoses. I’m particularly drawn to their emphasis on using data to advance health equity – for example, ensuring clinical trials have statistically representative populations.
Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?
I like working on large problems that nobody has thought to solve yet, where I can create a solution from the ground-up. Over the course of my career, I’ve developed an affinity for developing and scaling digital solutions that disrupt the status quo and solve deep-rooted systemic challenges that impact society at-large. Healthcare presented an ideal opportunity to leverage my early entrepreneurial experiences in the tech space for the greater good.
In the case of DexCare, there was already traction behind the idea of improving healthcare access for everyone, and there was some early validation from folks at Providence. This presented an ideal scenario to get involved – the idea had already been de-risked but hadn’t gotten off the ground yet. When I joined Providence’s Digital Health Innovation Group in 2020 as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, DexCare was in its fourth year of incubation at Providence, where it had been driving value for Providence’s same-day care business since 2016. In tandem, the healthcare industry was at a critical inflection point. When in-person clinics around the country shut down at the onset of COVID, digital health often became the only way to access care. In turn, COVID drove a great awakening in the valuable role consumer-facing healthcare technologies can play in delivering high quality, affordable care. DexCare further proved its value for Providence during the first COVID surge in Spring 2020. When in-person clinics shut down without warning, and telehealth visits increased 3000%, DexCare shifted all resources to a virtual setting instantaneously so there wasn’t an interruption in service for patients.
Ultimately, we envision a world where all consumers enjoy exceptional access to the best expertise to prevent, treat and cure illness. Following a year of achieving significant qualitative and quantifiable results for some of the US’ leading health systems, we anticipate industry adoption of DexCare to continue to increase dramatically as providers heavily invest in hybrid care and digital care delivery. We look forward to scaling the success we’ve had to-date by expanding into additional service lines. In particular - evolving from a direct one-to-one patient/provider relationship to a team approach where many providers and caregivers have access to the data and tools necessary to effectively treat patients, while also sharing their real-time availability so that matching engines can most efficiently and effectively allocate resources, will be key to scaling access for everyone.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
The main frustrations and rewards stem from the type of vision it takes to execute and scale an idea into a thriving business. The most innovative products and solutions are typically a byproduct of entrepreneurs who have an ultimate vision that in reality is unattainable – shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. What can be frustrating about this philosophy, particularly for entrepreneurs early in their career, is the feeling that you’re setting yourself up for perpetual failure because your ultimate vision is unattainable. On the flip side, if you do accept that you’ll never reach the destination you’ve set, you’ll be more capable of overcoming the small failures along the way and reaching milestones that wouldn’t be possible with short-sighted vision. The most rewarding parts of setting a perpetual horizon are the moments when you stop for a second to look back and realize how much you’ve accomplished.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make at various stages in their career is misinterpreting external signals. Nearly every entrepreneur has numerous people alongside their journey, from family and friends to investors and board members, and not all of those people have a realistic view of an entrepreneur’s ultimate vision and objectives. It’s all too easy for entrepreneurs to fall into an echo chamber, become trapped by group think, and fall off course. For example, I’ve seen entrepreneurs who receive venture capital funding and interpret that as a sign they’ve succeeded in bringing their vision to life. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to stay focused on the fundamental elements like accomplishing product-market fit, creating value for customers and end-users, and never settling for the status quo.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
The first lesson ties back to a concept I mentioned earlier – setting my vision on a perpetual horizon and accepting that the destination is unattainable. The second lesson I’ve learned is the importance of good execution. A great idea is worthless until it’s acted upon – simply put, ideas are cheap, execution is not. Finally, I’ve learned that investing in an idea is only half the battle. The other half is a commitment to building a business around the idea, which requires investing time and resources to create a superior design and user experience.
I produce Vator Events and enjoy the challenge. I am learning and growing a lot, being involved with Vator and loving every moment of it!All author posts
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