Five years ago I read a piece in Wired about this doc who seemed to be plucked out of the past and dropped into Williamsburg Brooklyn. Rather than join an established practice like most of his med school cohorts, he’d set out on his own to offer high quality care to the uninsured. His unconventional practice offered email, txt and even house calls to his small stable of patients.
I’ve long been a fan of subversive approaches to the current healthcare system, so when Jay and I crossed paths at Foo Camp back in 2009 there was an immediate connection around a problem and opportunity set we were both passionate about.
Problem was, Jay wasn’t working on anything fundable at the time. His first foray into medical practice had kicked off larger set of conversations around quality of care and the the future of health. that Jay found himself at the center of. As such, he had been swept up into speaking engagements and consulting gigs with many large industry players.
So rather than fund him, I used him as a sounding board for ideas and investment thesis around health. Rather than sitting down in pitch meetings, we’d often wander the west village talking through investments we were evaluating, projects he was working on and how in the world we were ever going to get a chance to work together.
Then last year he called to say he’d just met with Tumblr. Given Jay has a large following on their service, they’d brought him in to talk about their healthcare challenges. It was in that meeting that the seeds for what is now Sherpaa were planted.
At its most basis, Sherpaa is simple accessible healthcare with high cost savings to employers and an equally high level of service for employees. As it’s name suggests, Sherpaa’s aim is to help each customer navigate the ever complicated landscape of healthcare and insurance providers.This is a problem that requires more than simply throwing tech at it. The complexity of the current systems and care needs require a much more humane approach. Sherpaa delivers both a human experience and a technology fabric that knits together a network of like-minded modern medical practitioners.
From that initial call to now, Sherpaa has grown from servicing just Tumblr to a stable of up and coming and established companies in the NYC. It has grown from just Jay to a team of amazing operators and a growing network of docs.
If you’re a company in NYC I would highly encourage you to reach out. Your employees, and your bank account will thank you.
The funding round announced today will allow them to continue to build out their network in NYC as well as expand to a few other metros including San Francisco, Chicago and DC.
But today’s announcement is especially sweet for another reason. As Jay and I used to walk the west village over the last 3 years nearly every parting ended with “we really need to find something to work on together!”.
Now we have, and I couldn’t be more excited to get to work.