How This Immigrant Entrepreneur Built A $5 Billion Healthcare Company

Outcome Health Co-Founder & President Shradha Agarwal

I interviewed Shradha Agarwal, the co-founder and president of Outcome Health, the Chicago-based healthcare technology company that earlier this year raised $500 million from investors such as Goldman Sachs and Google at a $5 billion valuation.

Founded in 2006, Outcome Health is building the world’s largest platform for actionable health intelligence at the moment of care.

Today, Outcome Health’s platform has a presence in almost 20% of doctors’ offices in the United States, and impacts more than 580 million patient visits each year.

In our wide-ranging interview, Shradha and I discuss, among other topics, how to transform an idea into a company, the difference between a good idea and a good company, the future of healthcare, what she learned from failure, her favorite business books, where to find the best Chicago pizza, and whether the Cubs can repeat as World Series champions.

Zack Friedman: How did you come up with the idea for Outcome Health?

Shradha Agarwal: Growing up, I had a passion for bringing people and information together.

While in college [at Northwestern], [my co-founder and now Outcome Health CEO, Rishi Shah, and I] learned of technology that allowed for this information to be highly customized and we wanted to leverage this technology in a meaningful way.

We have each had healthcare experiences in our family and saw the immediate opportunity to improve a large and critical industry.

Zack Friedman: How did you take your initial idea and turn it into a company? What steps did you take?

Shradha Agarwal: The first step for us was to validate whether our customers truly felt that pain.

We spoke with hundreds of physicians and patients as well as healthcare product manufacturers and payers to understand the industry dynamics, gaps and opportunities.

Second, we built the first iteration of our product and focused on sales of it.

We received a lot of rejections initially, but in each of those conversations, we asked our prospective customers what would make them sign up. With this feedback, we strengthened our product and started to gain sales traction.

Finally, bringing the first few people in the team in a thoughtful way is necessary – a lesson we learned much later.

Zack Friedman: What did you do to disrupt the patient experience, and how is it now better as a result of Outcome Health?

Shradha Agarwal: Our vision is to provide health intelligence to support every important decision a patient is considering with their physician.

Today, we impact about about half a billion patient visits annually by providing relevant and actionable health information to patients and their caregivers in the most critical moments of care. We have measured a variety of outcomes – increased adherence by patients, driven by greater understanding of their diagnosis as well as treatment options, as well as cost savings resulting from that.

Ultimately, this means an improved quality of life for a patient living with a chronic disease.

Zack Friedman: What does the future of healthcare look like in the U.S.?

Shradha Agarwal: We have the opportunity to personalize healthcare and leverage technology to assist the physician as well as the patient to make better decisions together.

With 18% of our GDP spent on healthcare currently, 80% of which is on chronic disease management, empowering patients to participate in their own health decisions has great potential for reducing the cost of healthcare while improving outcomes for individuals.

At a more human level, technology has the power of automating much of the clinical workflow, allowing patients and physicians to connect with greater empathy and time allocation for these important conversations.

Zack Friedman: You founded Outcome Health with a co-founder. Would…

Top Exec At FOX Sports Upbeat About NFL TV Ratings Rebounding

President/COO/Executive Producer of FOX Sports, Eric Shanks believes that NFL ratings that were down in 2016 have a good shot an improving in 2017. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Eric Shanks, the President, COO, and Executive Producer of FOX Sports, is upbeat. After a 2016-17 season in which the NFL saw television ratings drop 8%, and the preseason this year down for FOX, he’s optimistic and sounds hardly like some fans and the media that have been in near panic over how the NFL has been received on television recently.

“We were affected the least of the media partners of the league last season,” said Shanks just prior to Week 1 of the 2017-18 NFL season. “Whether it was [viewership] competition; whether it was the quality of the games, along with the presidential election and its debates, it influenced the ratings. What’s key is after the election, the ratings bounced back.”

Whether that holds is the ultimate question for the NFL and the broadcast partners. Shanks said the NFL is doing its part where it can.

“We got great first-half schedules for every [television] rights holder.”

Important news takes a bite out of most all programming and the NFL has been no different. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were a large factor in the Fall of 2016, at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, it was the weather that played a role.

Total viewership for Week 1 in the NFL (excluding Monday Night Football) saw total viewership down -13% and -14% in the 19-49 age demo compared to Week 1 of last season, according to a report by Guggenheim Securities using information from Nielsen. All networks saw declines, with NBC’s broadcast of Sunday Night Football as the exception. The biggest hit was FOX regional broadcasts.

As an example, the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers afternoon game on FOX nationally saw 22.8 million viewers, 12.7 household rating, down -18% from last season’s Week 1 New York Giants- Dallas Cowboys game. Given that both those teams…

Ground controller: Glenn Rutherford, CEO of Aerocare

Ground controller: Glenn Rutherford

From baggage handler to CEO — the incredible rise of Glenn Rutherford.

Back when Glenn Rutherford was baggage handling and cleaning aircraft for Aerocare at Newcastle Airport, he never thought for a moment he’d end up running the company. He was studying chemical engineering at the time, and working part time on weekends to support himself. And while he could have just gone through the motions, counting the minutes until the end of each shift, Glenn took it upon himself to enhance the efficiency of Aerocare’s satellite operation.

“Over the course of my time there, I sought to do things to improve the business, just as a regular worker,” he reveals. “I introduced software programs like basic spreadsheets for rosters, and a database to better manage fuel.” Naturally, his resourcefulness didn’t go unnoticed. He was swiftly promoted to supervisor and then manager, while still working just three days a week.

“I was then made redundant when the customer we had cancelled its contract,” Glenn reveals. “But I stayed in touch with the company, and three months later I was asked if I’d jump back in and give them a hand. Up until that point, I’d never planned on following this path. We’d lost the contract and I was starting a new career. But when this opportunity presented itself, I thought, ‘I like the business and I think it’s got potential, so I’m in.’”

Glenn Rutherford CEO of Aerocare

Just like that, Glenn moved to Sydney and became CEO of Aerocare. “Yes, I guess it was an unusual start,” he grins, thinking back to 1997. “We had about 35 staff then and it was certainly challenging to begin with.” Two decades on, and Aerocare now has more than 3,000 employees and is the leading airport ground-handling company in Australia and New Zealand.

Glenn explains that Aerocare’s moment of truth came four years after he took charge. “Our primary customer, Impulse Airlines, was bought by Qantas, so we found ourselves without a contract but with a bunch of capability and spare equipment.

Meanwhile, Virgin Blue, now Virgin Australia, was looking to fill the void left by the collapse of Ansett, and it asked us to take over the operations of its Canberra Airport launch. “We were invited on a Friday and were operating by the Sunday. A project of that scale would typically take weeks and we completed it in 36 hours, as per the deadline. We secured a further six contracts almost immediately because of that success.”

As well as consolidating Aerocare’s partnership with Virgin Australia, the experience in Canberra inspired Glenn to strengthen the company’s position on the domestic front. “Our multinational competitors were focusing on international airlines and cargo, so we thought we would put our focus into the largely insourced and ‘hard to get through’ domestic market,” he explains.

“We believed we could add value in that local space based on what we’d experienced in Canberra and through the subsequent contracts we picked up with Virgin Australia and later the Qantas Group, Tigerair, and internationals like Singapore Airlines and Qatar.”

“We wanted to build a robust platform before moving to international operations, and that direction has been crucial to our growth. “Asia is the largest-growing aviation region on the planet. It’s inevitable we’ll be there; we’ll…

7 Cybersecurity Questions Every Leader Should Ask

Theresa Payton

I recently interviewed the former CIO for the White House (under the Bush administration), Theresa Payton, about why marketers must start engaging in cybersecurity before crises like the recent Equifax cybersecurity incident emerge (see here for the article). As the current CEO of Fortalice Solutions, a cybersecurity and intelligence consulting firm that helps businesses and government organizations protect themselves from emerging threats, I turned to Peyton to help indentify the seven cybersecurity questions every business leader should be asking.

7 Cybersecurity Questions every Leader Should Ask Now

1) Do you have, or use a third party to, physically and digitally track using open-source intelligence?

2) Have you geo-fenced the company and travel for executives, etc.? Some companies throw large events and we encourage companies to geo-fence. Think like the adversary, track the adversary. By doing this, we have in certain cases been able to avoid an issue. As an example, we had one high profile individual geo-fenced. There was a ton of anti-Semite, misogynistic content on social media trying to discredit this high-profile individual, so much so…

Being agile a pipedream for most organisations

Being agile a pipedream for most organisations

Having an agile mindset is nothing without an agile operating model. Assess yours for success.

Despite ‘becoming more agile’ being a common business objective for many organisations that want to survive and prosper in a disruptive and volatile business environment, the reality is most will fail to realise this goal because of the myth that being agile is largely driven by company culture.

Where they falter is they neglect how important the role of operational capability is in responding to and implementing change. Compounding this is the siloed and complex operating structure of most large organisations, making agility all but an impossible dream.

Yes, you may have invested in great creative minds and leaders who can think in an agile way, but if you can’t implement these ideas effectively across the organisation, then agility, innovation and transformation will remain out of reach.

Rethinking the operational model

The business operating model is how the organisation operates, the structure, responsibilities, processes, obligations, systems and information. For change to be implemented effectively there must be a clear understanding…

Why Agile Entrepreneurship Makes Sense For Large Corporations Too

Early in the last decade, several senior scholars from the Harvard Business School undertook an expansive research project aiming to draw wide-ranging trends about business management across the 20th Century. Anthony Mayo, Nitin Nohria, and others guided the HBS Leadership Initiative that identified three categories of leadership: innovative entrepreneurs, savvy managers and transformational leaders.

As elaborated in a series of books, these distinct paths help us both to understand individual behaviors, the impact of those behaviors and to illuminate the life cycles of growth (and decline) of specific firms and industries. These cycles involve long-term changes in social, economic and market contexts.

In the 21st Century, many individuals and businesses increasingly have evolved beyond this typology. From the specific skills and behaviors of leaders to the unprecedented macro-contexts in which they are acting, successful business leadership today demands more varied and dynamic traits and capabilities.

MILAN, ITALY – OCTOBER 08: David Slocum (Berlin School Faculty Director) speaks to the class at the IF! Italians Festival 2016 at Franco Parenti Theater on October 8, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images for Italians Festival)

While creative problem-solving is regularly listed among these skills, ‘creativity,’ per se – at least when defined in traditional terms of virtuosic artistic expression and viewed as a silver bullet for resolving business problems – is not included. To take one example, Bain & Company, the consultancy, published earlier this year the results of an extensive project on the ‘firm of the future’. They posited that corporate leaders of the future need increasingly to be nimble and adopt more hybrid roles that combine creativity with other business skills: their emergent types thus resemble a venture capitalist, a professional service firm team leader, and an individual working to scale a start-up.

Bain is hardly alone in exploring the future of organizations and leadership as well as the transformations that are shaping them. Alex Osterwalder, who helped to popularize the Business Model Canvas, also recently categorized various types of innovation that can and should occur for continuing business success. Innovations in management and organization, business processes, technology and science, product and service, and marketing and advertising are more familiar historically. Building on his own research, Osterwalder also identified a further level of exploration and reinvention: ‘Business R & D’. Moving beyond conventional approaches to improving products or processes or increasing efficiencies, he focuses on the persisting challenge of driving consistent corporate growth through the ongoing reinvention of business…

Blue sky thinking: Anson Zhang, CEO & Co-Founder of One Stop Warehouse

Blue sky thinking: Anson Zhang

Anson Zhang’s dream to end air pollution is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise murky energy world. By providing cheap access to leading solar providers, he equalises the balance of power one bit at a time.

For evidence of the need for a greater reliance on renewable energy sources, one should only look to China’s ongoing air pollution turmoil. The toxic smog that blankets the nation was responsible for the premature deaths of 1.6 million people in 2013, according to research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science last year.

The research – an international collaboration of Tsinghua University, the Health Effects Institute, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and the University of British Columbia – also found that burning coal had the worst health impact of any source of air pollution in the region, responsible for 366,000 deaths, and making up around 40% of the deadly particles in China’s atmosphere.

For Anson Zhang, growing up in Fujian, China, meant he experienced the effect of poor air quality on health firsthand as his own father was tragically diagnosed with lung cancer. Making the best of a bad situation, Anson felt the call to push and promote renewable energy sources so that current and future generations can enjoy cleaner air and better health, and the environment can once again prosper. “I knew I had to play my part in changing the world,” he says.

“I wanted to help contribute to a better, brighter future for myself, for my family, and for future generations.” It’s a goal that saw him eventually move to Australia and co-found One Stop Warehouse (OSW) – a wholesale distributor of solar energy equipment, such as photovoltaic panels, energy inverters, mountings, and electrical equipment, from a large variety of solar brands and manufacturers.

I wanted to help contribute to a better, brighter future for myself, for my family and for future generations.

While studying for a computer science degree back in China, Anson befriended a fellow student named Jeff Yu, then later, when he moved to Australia to do his MBA, he met fellow student Sunny Sun. The three of them together founded OSW in Perth, after Anson was inspired by the push towards solar power in Australia at that time. It was after he had photovoltaic panels installed on his own home that the idea for starting a business in the renewables sector came to him. Jeff and Sunny came on board to set up shop, taking on strategic executive roles, while Anson became CEO.

Four years later, OSW has grown from a three-man…

How DJ Irie Built A Real Business And Reinvented Nightlife In Miami

Daymond John, Alonzo Mourning and DJ Irie at the Irie Weekend 2017 Gala

In Miami, summers unofficially kick off with Irie Weekend, one of the most star-studded events to hit the city each year. DJ Irie (born Ian Grocher) is the host and mastermind behind the four-day spectacle that started on June 29 with a fundraiser gala that auctioned items and experiences, like a one-on-one yacht sail with Shark Tank judge Daymond John that alone raised $20,000. This year, ticket sales and sponsorship dollars from Irie Weekend raised $500,000 for music education programs for inner-city youth. The itinerary continued with celebrity golf tournaments, celebrity-filled pool parties, DJ performances and concerts featuring rap artists like Nellie, T.I. and Future. This year, the sold out event attracted 8,000 attendees to nightclubs, venues and hotels throughout the city, including Eden Roc, E11even and Fontainebleau. The grand finale concluded with Kevin Hart’s birthday brunch at Miami River Yacht Club. While Irie Weekend wrapped up in early July, DJ Irie is now planning to host the first Irie Weekend in Jamaica this December and Las Vegas next Spring. Irie says he’s able to produce and scale a multi-day luxe event by relying on his own collection of enterprises that specialize in talent booking (Artist Related), sponsorship marketing (Irie Music, Corp) and event production (Irie Weekend Management). While a single DJ performance can earn Irie four to five figures in one night, his boutique agencies together employ ten full-time staff and earned about $7 million in revenue in 2016. In the following interview which has been edited and condensed, Irie explains how he went from being a DJ to building a business.

Tanya Klich: Which do you enjoy more – being a DJ or running a business?

DJ Irie: The most accurate answer to this question would be that I enjoy running a DJ/Music based business. It’s one thing to run a business but another thing to operate a business in a field that you’re extremely passionate about and engaged in.

Klich: How did you become a celebrity DJ?

Irie: I went from playing at a local skating rink to playing at every major nightclub in Miami. In 1999, marketing executives from the Miami Heat asked me to become the first official team DJ. I’m tasked with bringing South Beach party vibes to home games at the American Airlines Arena. I then became the choice DJ for NBA All-Star games and personal events for ball players and Miami-based celebrities. Now, clients from around the world hire me for private events.

During the gala, Miami Beach Mayor, Philip Levine surprised DJ IRIE by presenting him with a key to the city.

Klich: When did you launch your first company?

Irie: When I was DJing nightclubs throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, “street-team marketing” was big in hip-hop capitols like New York City and Los Angeles. I realized this had no presence in Florida or the South. I also realized my equipment crew of four to six men had nothing to do in between the set up and break down of my turntables, so why not capitalize on their downtime and train them as street-team marketers. In 1997 I created Universal Music Group and partnered with major record labels like Chris Lighty’s Violator to promote artists like Q-Tip and Missy Elliott in my region. We had dozens of promoters in Miami and Atlanta who worked part-time. At its peak, UMG was earning $400,000 in annual revenue.

Klich: What happened?

Irie: As…

How To Launch A NASDAQ Public Offering For A New Electric Car; Insights Into Arcimoto’s Strategy

The Arcimoto Team with their new Car, the SRK

Arcimoto intends to become the second pure play electric car company to make a NASDAQ public offering – the first being Tesla(NASDAQ:TSLA), of course.

  • A range of 130 miles
  • 230 mpg(e)
  • Acceleration to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds.

Arcimoto has also come up with a new label for their car: Fun Utility Vehicle – or “FUV.” They will be selling it directly to the customer, initially on the west coast. The car is available in two models: open-air and fully enclosed, for greater protection against the elements.

Check out the Arcimoto Offering Circular which provides the terms and details of their Regulation A+ stock offering. View the Arcimoto online Reg A+ offering .

Arcimoto is based in Eugene, Oregon, and has a unique and highly efficient manufacturing and development process. They are now producing their first units by hand after raising a total of $10 million prior to this Reg A+ offering. My sense is that Arcimoto has established a modern-era high water mark of capital efficiency by developing their new car with so little invested capital.

The investment research firm Zacks projects they will achieve modest scale production in 2018 and 10,000 per annum scale in 2019.

CEO Mark Frohnmeyer says, “Cutting my teeth in the games business taught me a ton about keeping it simple: Find the core appeal that yields a truly fun experience, and then build just enough of a product around it to meet the needs of the audience. Adding more stuff doesn’t always make for a better experience, and it always carries a cost multiplier in terms of development time, testing, tooling, and production.”

The combination of fun driving dynamics, easy parking, and 226 miles per gallon fuel economy, with a 130-mile range and a starting price of $12,000 – all these make the Arcimoto two-seater an intriguing purchase. At a time when many car owners are considering a transition to owning fewer vehicles, I can see…

C-Suite Radio Adds “Living Fearlessly” To Its Talent Lineup

New York, NY, August 31, 2017 C-Suite Radio, the premier source for the world’s leading business podcasts for c-suite leaders, business executives, and entrepreneurs, is announcing its newest addition to the lineup – “Living Fearlessly” with Lisa McDonald. The show is part of the network’s featured shows and focuses on empowering listeners to break the cycle of negative thoughts and actions that prevent them from reaching their goals.

McDonald’s experience as a successful author, motivational speaker and personal development coach allows her to share her vast expertise with her audience, helping them steamroll obstacles they might be facing now or will face in the future. Each week, she interviews newsmakers, entrepreneurs, motivational coaches, entertainers, athletes, philanthropists, activists, and authors who embody what it means to “live fearlessly” and thrive.