What is the idea behind your company?
To create a highly secure, easy to use and reliable suite that helps doctors organize and communicate while sharing important information to doctors within or outside of their medical group. SimpleRounds® is a highly secure service that saves doctors and hospitals time and money. Our software works on multiple platforms- from smartphones or tablets at the bedside to a desktop at the office. SimpleRounds helps doctors organize and share information, make better decisions and reduce billing mistakes and readmissions.
How did you come up with this idea?
We saw physicians trying to coordinate with other doctors as they attempted to retain a lot of information on paper cards or slips of paper. It proved to be impossible! Doctors also let many dollars slip thru their fingers as they could not recall all the billing codes for a procedure or get too busy after seeing a patient. We also witnessed the amount of time spent in transferring patients to one another at Sign Out and developed SimpleRounds®
How long have you been in operations?
We began the company in November 2012. To date we organized a Texas “C” corporation, funded ourselves from founder resources and have the software suite in “beta” testing at 3 separate sites.
Did you seek investment when you started the company?
As a team we consciously decided not to seek other peoples’ money as we began. We wanted to prove the concept to ourselves initially. We invested our own funds and our time!
Thereafter we slapped the founders’ team’s pockets- to the tune of $175K hard money and with another in-kind team contribution of $650K+. We have recently agreed to a loan for $100K backed by founders.
Talk about how you’ve bootstrapped your startup.
We have been bootstrapping our company since the start, but are conscious that being a medically related service we should not save money to sacrifice quality. While we were looking to outsource some of our development and were unconvinced with options we found in Asia we came across a mobile development company that does “nearshoring” and specializes in the platform we are using to build our application. Their development center is based in Guadalajara, Mexico. While they are not as inexpensive as some firms in Asia they are probably the best company that can do what we need. Current personnel are not being paid. Nevertheless, we have secured a line of credit from founders that will allow us to have our application completely developed and keep us operating for the next 8 months.
What are your revenue projections?
As of October 2013 we are in startup mode and have no revenues as yet. As we begin sales we project revenues of $5-10K per month for the first six months after beginning sales operations. Our initial focus will be on medical groups, hospitals and answering services. This revenue will help us start breaking even while we start targeting large medical groups that can grow to bring us revenues of $70,000-$90,000 per month.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting your business?
As a startup we began with a blank page- no business plan and a single medical doctor with a big idea. Manuel Martinez, MD realized he needed to engage a founder group with multiple skill sets. We have a top software (Cristian Partica) with experience and interest in the mobile app space, an internet businessman (Rico Garrett) with 16 years of experience and two executives with proven entrepreneurial backgrounds (Ruben Zamorano and Jose Bravo) with both training and executive know-how. We added a marketing and sales professional (Philip Trent) and feel that our beta sites can only help us grow our business.
What is the next step for you and your business?
We need to begin SimpleRounds sales to a mid-sized medical multispecialty group and to a hospital corporation. We will want to begin sales with another city’s physician answering service. To this end we want to convert to sell Simple Rounds to our multi-specialty medical group and hospital beta test sites.
We must be sure that SimpleRounds works well regardless of users having iOS or Android smartphones. The software suite must be reliable regardless of platform. We must assure that the tablets operate well- doctors use these in the hospital setting, as do nurses and others. Our biggest threshold seeks must assure seamless operation for the doctor, the office staff or the answering service operator.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
“Skin in the game” is a must, in our view. As opposed to using other people’s money” we think that founders must demonstrate that we believe in our company and have proven this by investing well over $750K. Thus, the investor is well-served by knowing that we have 1) not taken salaries, 2) funded the project and 3) proven the concept in beta site testing.
What Texas-based resources have you found to be the most helpful?
Our beta users to date are a 35-doctor multi-specialty physician group and San Antonio’s largest physician answering service. Next is the Plano, Texas based Community Hospital Corporation whose hospitals promise to be ideal “beta” test sites. As of this date we are planning to work in Yoakum and Beaumont, Texas and in Artesia New Mexico. We have not been approached by any funding organization other than the Texas Entrepreneurs Network.