Building Genuine Products: Adam Jackson, Doctor On Demand
Adam Jackson, the Co-founder and CEO of Doctor On Demand shares the insights that led to the formation of the company and how they are approaching solving an access problem in healthcare.
We took a look at the healthcare space and said, “Why is it so difficult to just talk to a doctor about a minor thing, not an emergency medical issue?” Even if you have good insurance it can be hard to get in, I mean why should you have to go in for everything? Maybe you just have a question. So we started there and decided, wow technology now lets you video chat—almost any phone or tablet can video chat. We said this might be a good time to build an app that lets you actually see a doctor face to face over video.
We spent a lot of time and resources learning about the different regulations in different states. In California, they like to have a video, face to face connection. In other states, smaller states, they say,’ we’re not ready for this yet’. So we stay out of places like that.
Doctors went to med school so they can see patients and help people feel better sooner. So our platform is totally paperless. We built our own EMR so doctors just practice within our application, they don’t have to fax anything, they don’t have to call pharmacies. All they do is see patients all day long during their shifts and they can work from home. If you think about all the jobs out there that now have a work from home components like yours does, like mine does—medicine is one of the last fields that never got their work from home day. So a lot of doctors really love the flexibility.
We took a hard look at other healthcare software packages and were pretty disappointed by the user experience. So we thought this was a good opportunity for us to be differentiated amongst competitors or other analog care delivery systems. We take design very seriously. We put a lot of work into making our app, first and foremost, very user-friendly. We lead you down a very clear path of steps that you need to do before you can talk to a doctor. If we’re not usable to the consumer then it just it doesn’t matter how good the doctor is. You’re not going to get through the process.
Fundraising can be challenging. This is my third venture-backed company and it definitely gets easier as you go. But I remember being a first timer and getting ‘no’ spouted to me in in every different way possible. I would say the best piece of advice I learned—the hard way—is create some FOMO, some fear of missing out. Generating competition, whether it’s substantive or not, whether it’s real or not, I think goes a long way with creating buzz about your investment round. But at end of the day you have to deliver too. Disingenuous people aren’t going to trick smart investors. So you really have to believe that this is going to work and it may not work the way you’re proposing it to but you’re going to get there. You have to show that dedication. Before you go down the road of starting your own business, of raising the capital and building a team, do a gut check and make sure this is really something you are willing to dedicate your life—your whole life if it takes it—to making this come true and seeing this idea to fruition.
You should be solving a problem. It should be something that you will do whatever it takes to get it there you have to really believe that. Because after the funding announcement and then for a week, TechCrunch, and everybody loves you. Then all the glory goes away and you’re back down in the pits. Learn to love that phase because it may never end for you—I’ve certainly been there myself.