Unfortunately, there are a lot of barriers that stand in the way of medical patients receiving comprehensive care. One such challenge is access to specialists. And even when patients do see specialists, there may be a lack of coordination between them and the primary care provider. RubiconMD, the web based e-consult service, wants to alleviate this common challenge with the healthcare bureaucracy. By connecting primary care providers to specialists, they want to help cross the RubiconMD.
AlleyWatch got in touch with cofounder Carlos Reines to speak about the company and their latest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The current round is a $4.0 million Series A financing, led by Waterline Ventures. Dioko Health Ventures, a fund managed by FCA Venture Partners, joined Alma Mundi Fund in the round as well.
Existing investors from the company’s previous seed round also include health technology leader athenahealth and former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida CEO Bob Lufrano
Tell us about your product or service.
RubiconMD is a web-based eConsult service that enables primary care providers to quickly and easily discuss their cases with top specialists. When a primary care provider wants expert input on a case, they access RubiconMD and ask a question that’s routed to a top specialist. Specialists respond within the day, sharing their expertise, so the primary care providers can now make more informed decisions, leading to better care, improving the patient experience and reducing costs.
What inspired you to start the company?
When I was in college my grandfather developed non-operable deafness for which hearing aid devices weren’t a viable solution. Frustrated by the lack of options, I pushed hard and managed to get a large manufacturer overseas to adapt a non commercial device especially for his problem, and eventually helped him restore hearing ability. Ever since that day, when I experienced the immense reward of having an impact on improving someone’s quality of life, I’ve been driven by the potential of using technology to improve patient care.
In 2013 I met my cofounder Gil Addo, who based on personal experience in his family, had an idea to enable access to top specialist expertise remotely. Gil was inspired while traveling in India, where he looked at different healthcare delivery models and how they solved prominent access problems, and started thinking about its applicability in the U.S healthcare market. Our third co-founder, Dr. Julien Pham, who had experience the inefficiencies in the system first hand, brought the specialist expertise and that’s when RubiconMD was born under the mission to democratize medical expertise so that all patient populations have access to the care they need.
How is it different?
Healthcare today is characterized by lack of access for patients, especially in underserved communities, as well as limited resources for primary care providers caring for such populations. This results in adverse outcomes for patients, burnout for providers and unnecessary costs in the system.
To create meaningful change in the system, we have to break down institutionalized barriers, including the most fundamental one: the silo of specialist expertise. By empowering PCPs with quick, easy access to specialist opinions and insights, they can provide better, more comprehensive care— providing lasting benefit to the system as a whole.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We aspire to be an indispensable source of insight for every health provider. We believe that any well-functioning healthcare system needs to have comprehensive primary care at its core. In the U.S. alone there are almost 500,000 primary care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician extenders.
What’s your business model?
We partner with healthcare organizations to enable their primary care providers with unlimited access to specialist expertise across more than 100 specialties and sub-specialties, and we compensate the specialists for their expertise. The American healthcare market is largely fragmented but every healthcare organization benefits from providing better care and improving the patient experience.
How has the founding team’s experience at Harvard impacted the trajectory of RubiconMD?
Harvard has been a phenomenal source of support for RubiconMD. Through initiatives at the Business School, the Medical School and the School of Public Health, RubiconMD has been able to secure access to talent for hires, thought leadership from professors and researchers, and funding through grant programs or investments, all of which have had a very positive impact in the company.
What was the funding process like?
Our funding comes at a time in which growing concerns with capital dry up and IPO slowdown coexist with large financings, overall making fundraising processes more thorough and time-consuming. This obviously becomes a challenge for any fast growing business given the necessary allocation of resources to the fundraising process, which can slow down execution.
With that in mind, we’ve always believed in the importance of bringing the right partners onboard and, as such, we’ve been very deliberate with our decisions. From the first angel in our seed round to the closing our Series A, it’s been paramount for us to ensure our investors not only brought strategic value for the business, but also shared our values and vision for RubiconMD.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge in raising capital was being able to find the right balance between allocating enough resources to complete a thorough selection process for our Series A partners, while still ensuring flawless execution to support rapid growth.
Operational excellence is one of our pillars to maintaining excellent experience for primary care providers and specia
lists on RubiconMD. I’ve been humbled by the effort and ability of the team to continue delivering on our growth and service delivery while completing a very deliberate fundraising process.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The three main factors that got investors interested in our business are the team, the traction and the growth prospects. We’re very lucky to have an exceptional group of mission-driven individuals with complementary skills and a clear vision for transforming healthcare, and that’s what our investors valued the most.
Our proven record with different healthcare organizations across the country gave investors evidence of the positive impact RubiconMD has in quality of care and patient satisfaction. Such traction, combined with the current shift in healthcare towards organizations that provide better outcomes, improved patient experience and lower costs, confirmed the large opportunity for our investors to become part of the leading eConsult program that’s transforming healthcare through supporting primary care.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The company is focused on successfully delivering on our growth. Over the next six months we will continue our expansion, deploying with large healthcare providers and health plans.
Funding will be used to continue attracting top talent onboard to support the growth with improved processes and highly scalable operations. We’ll also release a product upgrade with a new set of features and interfaces to maintain workflow integration across all practice settings.
Additionally, later this year, we’ll be unveiling a whole set of capabilities related to the insights generated through data analytics on RubiconMD eConsults, uncovering even more opportunities for the providers we serve.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the
Bring onboard people who want to have an impact–and are motivated by the company’s vision. Founders may choose to raise venture funding to accelerate growth or to grow organically, but in both cases talent and execution is the most certain path to success. New York is a very attractive ecosystem for startups given the vast talent pool of the city and there are plenty of people who are looking to be inspired by a team that will allow them to have more impact and more ownership than they currently have.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
The bar at the rooftop of Hotel Americano in Chelsea is one of my favorites. It’s a really cool space with an outdoor pool, great music and great views. For dinner or drinks, it’s clearly a winner for summer evenings.