In this company blog series, we will introduce our partner startups from the Bay area. We will dive deep into the company culture, founder stories, recruitment, and the employees in order to provide an even better picture of the experience Startuplifers is all about.
The first company on this series is BetterDoctor, which was recently acquired by Quest Analytics. We interviewed Ari Tulla, the CEO of Quest Analytics, and co-founder of BetterDoctor and Iiro Isotalo, the Director of Product Management and Startuplifer alumni.
The journey of finding the right problem
Data of the healthcare providers in the US can be complicated, confusing and even incorrect and thus, even finding a doctor can be a struggle. That’s why BetterDoctor was founded in 2011 by Ari Tulla and Tapio Tolvanen. Simply put, BetterDoctor is an engine that powers the healthcare market with accurate provider data in order to make healthcare simpler to all its stakeholders.
“BetterDoctor delivers accurate provider directory data to ensure health plans, health systems, provider groups, and doctors are regulation-compliant and can provide patients with the care they’re looking for”, the CEO Ari Tulla explains.
Learnings and new directions
In the beginning, BetterDoctor focused on a service to find a doctor and make an appointment online. They bought the data their software used and soon realized this existing healthcare data was so poor, their product couldn’t function properly. When this realization kicked in, they decided to change the direction completely and began to focus on the data accuracy side.
“It’s really difficult to completely change the direction when you already have a 30 person team and a somewhat working product,” the CEO Ari shares. “However, now looking back I’m proud we had the courage to make that shift. We are now solving one of the most acute problems in the US healthcare industry.”
The fundamental transition with the product was exactly what the company needed. Now, they have built an API which powers tools of thousands and thousands of companies, and around 300 million people are continuously interacting with data that BetterDoctor has produced.
Acquisitions and widening future horizons
On June 18, 2018, BetterDoctor was acquired by Quest Analytics. While BetterDoctor operates with provider data management, Quest Analytics focuses on providing network access and adequacy services to health plans and insurance regulatory agencies. Thus the two sides of the same coin complement each other.
The process of releasing the companies’ full potential after the acquisition takes time. Currently, the companies are building one, unified product, which combines the two products and answers to the market needs more profoundly. Ari continues as the CEO of Quest Analytics after the acquisition.
Creating a true impact
Our Startuplifer, Iiro Isotalo joined BetterDoctor in November 2014. Previously, he had worked as the Lead Designer at Futurice in London. Iiro joined the 30 people BetterDoctor team as a product designer and at that time, BetterDoctor started to focus more on data accuracy. As Iiro learned more about what is required to build a data platform and product infrastructure, his role inside the company began to grow. Today, there are product managers for each product line and Iiro is the Director of Product Management.
“When I was a child I wasn’t dreaming of working with the US healthcare system. But now I see that the work I am doing right now has maybe the biggest impact I’ve ever been able to create. We are not far from the patient, and we weren’t founded on financial motives. If there is a disease to which it’s difficult to find a doctor and we can help with that, it’s truly a great thing”, Iiro shares.
It’s all about the balance
The culture in BetterDoctor and in the Bay area, in general, is one thing Iiro appreciates. “People here are really smart and curious. I’ve had such good conversations on good readings or podcasts. You don’t have to worry that you’d have a hard time settling here as an honest Finn”, Iiro laughs.
The office rhythm has already slightly calmed down when we are just about to finish our interview. Ari gives a quick glance at his watch. It’s time to call it a day and head to the leisure activities. Today, it’s bouldering at a nearby climbing center. We are going to the same destination, so we wrap up the day witnessing Ari mastering difficult bouldering problems.
In the Bay Area, the work is demanding, but there seem to be some excellent opportunities for keeping up the balance.
BetterDoctor has hired Startuplifers interns throughout the years. Our alumni Pauliina worked as their Platform and Community Manager and later Marketing Manager. Read her story here. She also shared tips on how to land a non-technical job in the Bay Area, check it out here.