Equipment Sharing for Health Systems- GrowthLab Customer Highlight

July 15, 2020

This segment strives to highlight some of GrowthLab’s awesome customers. We want to highlight their growth as well as a few things that the company is working on for the future. 

Growth — The company’s growth story… what drove their entrepreneurial bug? What drove them to start the business? 

Lab — If there was one thing the company could execute on in the next 12-18 months, what would it be?

This segment is highlighting Cohealo. Cohealo is based out of Boston, MA and works as an equipment sharing company for Health Systems. Cohealo saves health systems money by sharing equipment between facilities, increasing equipment availability, eliminating rentals, and reducing capital expenses.

What is the Company’s Growth Story and What Drove You to Start the Business?

Cohealo is a healthcare technology company that is now about nine years old. We started in Miami, Florida and graduated, so to speak, to Boston, Massachusetts. We help health systems save money by analyzing the use of their surgical medical equipment, primarily by sharing it and redeploying it between sites on demand. 

Our interest in starting the company was a combination of a classic startup story and an unmet need from the market. One of our founders was actually selling surgical equipment to hospitals and I just happened to sit next to him in graduate school at the University of Miami. I was at the university to expand my business horizons and was interested in looking at different challenges for my career. My Cofounder told me about the challenges he was facing while selling surgical equipment. An example of this was that one hospital would acquire equipment but never use it. The sister facility down the road desperately needed the same technology but didn’t have the budget. He was frustrated with trying to get that equipment into the doctor’s hands and he just couldn’t get it there. I have an operations and logistics background, so I was thinking, well, why not just move it?

That’s what gave us the initial idea for Cohealo. We were looking at other companies at the time, Zipcar, being a great early fractional ownership model that we were interested in. Other industries were also leveraging sharing economy principles successfully… seeing that healthcare by nature was so conservative, we thought, how can we bring a similar idea to this industry?

For me personally, it was a challenge joining a new industry that I’ve always been interested in, but was intimidated by. When you think of healthcare, you think of the doctors and all the training they go through to get where they are. Building a company to support this industry was an interesting challenge that I wanted to take on which initially led to the start of the Cohealo.

We have obviously been through a lot of different challenges during our last nine years. We’ve taken many different roads to get where we are but it has led us to an interesting point in our company’s current life cycle.

In terms of people, we currently have about twenty two team members in the company. We are happy with this, considering we started with just three people. We are in multiple health systems on both coasts across the country and have even expanded into the United Kingdom. We are now technically an international company, which is nice to be able to say. We’re on our path to being a fully viable company, long term.

If there was one thing the company could execute on in the next 12-18 months, what would it be?

The big focus for us over the next 12 to 18 months is really on growth. When you’re building a business in healthcare, you measure your leaps and bounds in months and years, whereas maybe in a traditional B2C company, you can experience that viral growth on a daily basis. What we do in enterprise health care takes a long time. So for us, we spent the early part of our company’s life cycle really focusing on product market fit… proving our business model, value models, and core customers. Now, both because of our longstanding position in the market and being first to market on this model, we’ve built a brand.

We are also getting a lot of inbound interest because of COVID. Unfortunately, the pandemic has put a big strain on healthcare costs. Now, we have a lot of health systems saying sharing is not a “nice to have”, it’s actually a “business imperative”. We’re getting a lot of interest in our company inbound as well as what we traditionally do. Now, it’s about capitalizing on that interest and going out into the market in a big way. In the next 18 months, we’re actually going to probably double our company size and most of that will be on the growth side; sales, market sales, and marketing. Ultimately, it’s all in the name of adding new clients, bringing our value to the greater market, and then making sure we can scale in support of that. What is going to keep me up at night over the next 18 months is making sure we have enough process and product in place to support that growth.

What I’ll say about my experience with GrowthLab is that they’ve been fantastic partners in the life cycle that we’ve been in. We are in the stage where we’ve had multiple iterations. We actually had an in-house finance and accounting team but then we moved to a partnership arrangement with GrowthLab. GrowthLab has been very supportive, they came in to help us with some of our existing finance debt that was from either processes or things that we’ve done. GrowthLab had to clean up and restructure our debt to help us improve upon and put in some process and some new ways of doing business for us. Working with GrowthLab has really taken a big burden off of me personally. In the time that we started transitioning, I was owning a lot of the financial work and it was a big distraction for me. I needed to focus on scaling the company or core operations. From that perspective, they’ve done a really good job of taking the reins and taking out some of the debt, improving it, and helping us set the stage for scaling and growth. I’ve been really grateful for the work that they’ve done.

–Brett Reed, President of Cohealo 

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