After Octane’s Aesthetics Technology Summit in early January, I got the opportunity to speak with Todd Watts, CEO of PatientFi, winner of the LaunchPad People’s Choice Award Winner. Todd took the time to discuss the growth of his company, his experience through the LaunchPad accelerator and the success that he is seeing with PatientFi.
Tell me about PatientFi and why you founded the company. What was the problem in the market that you saw that you believed you could solve.
PatientFi offers medical providers a point-of-sale financing platform that helps make elective medical procedures more affordable for patients. Whether it is a cosmetic procedure or LASIK surgery, elective healthcare is an expensive proposition for many patients. Americans have grown accustomed to paying for many large purchases on a monthly payment plan or subscription, but the same can’t be said for how we pay for healthcare. PatientFi is partnering with elective medical providers across the country to increase their sales by offering their patients our patient-friendly financing option.
Who is part of your team?
Todd Watts co-founded PatientFi with Scott Jorgensen in July 2017. Since the very early days, they put in place a Board of Directors that has not changed since. Their partners on the Board include Glenn Stearns and Louis Bucky, MD who have both been very involved in the business since 2017. Their very first hire was Derrick Hoag, who is now the Chief Product Officer. Both Scott and Todd had many years of experience across healthcare and financial services so Derrick’s background in technology was an important complement. Since then, the team has grown, and some incredibly talented employees have joined the PatientFi family.
What is the technology associated with your company?
PatientFi’s product is 100% digital and operates on an end-to-end point of sale financing platform. Patients apply online for credit on their platform. They enter in some basic information and within seconds PatientFi performs a credit evaluation, renders a decision and presents an offer unique to that applicant’s credit profile. If the patient becomes a borrower, their platform manages ongoing payments from there as well.
Each medical provider also has their own online portal where they can process PatientFi transactions, monitor activity and access PatientFi’s selling tools.
What makes it unique?
Some of the latest nights at PatientFi have been when the team is asked to simplify existing platform features, not when they are working on adding new ones. They are relentless in their efforts to make the patient financing experience simpler for patients and providers. The team loves hearing from providers that the platform is easy to use. It has become an important point of differentiation for PatientFi.
How did you get involved with LaunchPad?
In early 2019, Todd and his team were introduced by a mutual acquaintance to J.C. Ruffalo at LaunchPad. J.C. told us about Octane’s Aesthetic Technology Summit (ATS) and that LaunchPad was inviting emerging companies in aesthetics to participate in a venture competition. Challenge accepted!
How has the team helped your company?
After several iterations, the LaunchPad team was instrumental in helping them refine the company overview presentation to be clear and concise. The aesthetic industry experts on the panel also gave them some very important advice as they think about expansion plans into other medical specialties.
Tell me a little more about the journey to create PatientFi. What is your background experience that led you here? Did you leave another job to step out and be an entrepreneur?
Todd and his team worked for several years in this market prior to starting PatientFi. From their prior experience, particularly in medical aesthetics, they knew there were several unaddressed gaps in the patient financing market. First, too many patients are dissatisfied with current product offerings and can be confused by aggressive deferred interest lending promotions. Second, from the provider’s perspective, due to the historically high processing fees, most offer financing to their patients as a last resort form of payment rather than a proactive strategy to market services on a monthly payment. Lastly, no financing company had effectively designed a platform tailored to the unique circumstances of elective providers and their patients. In the summer of 2017, Scott and Todd convinced each other to rent an office and start pulling together the right partners to start another patient financing company that would be different than the rest.
Tell me a bit about the process leading up to the Aesthetics Technology Summit. What are some of the changes you made and feedback you received? What was the hardest part?
After PatientFi entered the LaunchPad competition, they went through several rounds of pitch presentations to a panel of LaunchPad judges. It is not easy to receive critical feedback on a business you have spent so much time on, but the feedback was invaluable. They worked hard to incorporate a lot of the feedback each round that they presented. By the end, the team had made substantial improvements to the company presentation. Todd said he found this process very rewarding.
What are some of the recent accomplishments you’d like to highlight? We want to hear how you are doing!
After 18 months of building the platform and obtaining regulatory licenses, 2019 was the first commercial year for PatientFi. In a very short period of time, they added over 100 leading providers as customers and built a very attractive credit portfolio for their investors and lending partners.
Where is PatentiFi headed next?
They continue to be focused on the plastic surgery market, where we expect to more than triple our footprint in 2020. Toward this effort, PatientFi will continue to announce new partnerships with financial institutions and the aesthetics industry so that they can further expand their product offering and help more patients access elective treatments and procedures.