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083: How they Raised $19.9M as a Tech Startup – All the Inside Hacks with Rubicon MD Co-Founders Gil Ado and Carlos Reines

Gil Ado and Carlos Reines are the co-founders of Rubicon MD, an innovative medical eConsult service that connects primary care doctors to same-day insights from top medical specialists. Their mission is to provide better health care through their online platform that enables primary care doctors to easily and quickly access medical specialists and have online consultations (eConsults) and ultimately provide better direct care to patients. With a fragmented US healthcare system, Gil and Carlos identified a need in the market for access to specialist medical care that didnt require patients to physically be in the same room with their specialist doctor. After a lot of networking and hustle, Rubicon MD was officially birthed in 2013.

>> Show notes Link: https://www.businessgenerals.com/gilandcarlos >>

Today Rubicon is a strong, growing Venture backed Healthcare startup, which has successfully raised over $19M in funding since 2014. The company is scaling at pace throughout the US now with over 5,000 primary care providers using the platform.

The two Harvard Business School graduate co-founders partnered up to launch Rubicon on a mission to facilitate the provision of a higher level of care to patients who may not have access to specialist care due to them not having private healthcare or geographical limitations. The platform allows general practitioner doctors to have direct access to expert specialist help on a case by case basis through e-consult process.

Doctor to doctor interaction via the e-consult platform is one of their biggest wins – patients that would have previously been referred to the emergency department for specialist consultation now receive access through the eConsult process through their primary doctors, and as Gil says this is real tangible benefit that clinicians and patients are excited about.

The business launch and the first paying customer

  • In 2013 the business was launched with the first key goal being to prove that there was value in the platform and that patients would be able to access greater healthcare through the platform
  • They put a basic minimum viable product from a technology platform standpoint, they found a doctor who was willing to trial the platform and it run for a few months with a few hundred eConsults and the feedback was very positive
  • The founders joined an accelerator program focusing on how to build a business around the idea and how to find the people who could potentially buy into your idea
  • Talked and networked to as many people in the healthcare eco system  – learning, doing the research and also selling the idea at the same time
  • Discovered that groups that are at risk, ie taking care of primary health care patients will be most interested in this
  • Pivoted on the fact that there was limited supporting data for the idea so focused on finding the companies that were ready to take some risk in this space as well
  • Their first paying customer contract was from Boston, Gil and Carlos share with excitement how this client has grown and stayed with Rubicon MD for over 4 years, a testament in their minds to the value RubiconMD brings to the clinician.

Cash flow during the start up phase

  • Carlos was still completing his Harvard MBA at the beginning but working full time in the business, Gil was also full time in the business but they were scraping by and keeping everything very lean financially
  • It was a difficult beginning for the business, so they had to run their operations in a very lean way but they were determined to see the vision come to life
  • The duo managed to live through the first startup phase through their savings, family support and just sheer tenacity to make it through the early days

Access to funding

  • 2013 accessed their first seed money from an angel investor, this was enough to run their pilot
  • After this started accessing funding at this point after they had proved that there was buyer for the product, that patients will be getting real benefit and then ready to access seed money
  • [UPDATE: Following our interview with Carlos and Gil, we have learned that the duo have gone onto raise an additional $13.8M in a highly successful Series B round]

Working with mentors

  • Finding someone who helps mentor them through the different phases of the business
  • Someone who understands the space you are playing in
  • He also put in his money as the first seed money
  • This process helped Gil and Carlos stay grounded and stay focused

Temptation to give up or quit?

  • Once they saw the impact on primary care doctors and the results patients were getting, they knew they just had to find a way to get the business out there because they had established that the need was there and that their solution was of great value
  • The challenge was how to build a business around having a life, and not having a whole lot of personal wealth to fall back on, and the financial risks that arise can be very challenging
  • Gil’s wife had the stable income so this helped balanced the personal finances for them

Sharing Roles in the business as Co-Founders

  • Carlos oversees the operational side of the business, the product, data management, sales, fund raising, delivery of the products implementation for the larger accounts but more focused on the delivery
  • Gil is focused on the growth side, business development and relationship management

Business Reach

  • 35 states with USA
  • 5,000 primary care providers on the platform – an excited market and growth

Best way to connect with Gil and Carlos

Get Your Hopes Up and Maximize Your Dreams! 

Cheers,
Davis!
#TheBusinessGeneralsPodcast

About the author, Davis

My Dream of sharing inspirational success stories started many years ago and this Podcast is an amazing show that brings some of those conversations to light.

This show is dedicated to being a voice of encouragement to you because I believe God created you and I with a purpose to fulfill and I want to be here to cheer you on through this Podcast, our Blog and through our other channels of interaction via our comments section after each Podcast and Blog as well as on social media.

I love business and entrepreneurship and I truly believe you have greatness inside of you 🙂

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