Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with founder Dr James Freeman from GP2U.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
GP2U Telehealth uses technology as the mechanism for any Australian GP to deliver high quality Telehealth care to patients. The business idea is simple: healthcare demand and supply is mismatched. The current model insists that patients present themselves in person to a location of the doctors choosing.
Our model is disruptive and gives GPs a platform to deliver care in more efficient and patient-centric ways:
- GP2U manages all the logistics of referrals, bookings, reminders, waiting lists, prescriptions and payments
- It is perfect for time-poor patients unable to access regular health services
- The platform has been designed from the ground up to be secure, intuitive, user friendly, cost efficient and convenient
Virtual doctor visits open up a raft of patient benefits and commercial possibilities.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Like many startups we initially leveraged financing from friends family and fools. Our first goal was to be well established in this growing market as it developed and matured. We've been successful in securing a dominant position which has in turn opened up many interesting opportunities.
Key strategic alliances with partners like Terry White Chemist and Priceline Pharmacies have been established to provide fantastic growth and credibility.
As always it's important to balance growth and cash burn with revenue stream generation and live within your current means.
Startups that run out of cash, stop.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Being first to market carries with it the requirement to grow and develop the target market. Before they started nobody knew they really needed Internet banking, eBay or RSVP.
The biggest problem is reach. The statistical chance the average Australian needs a doctor today is about 1:60, therefore we need to reach a great deal of people just to secure one appointment. With a service like a GP consult, where the gross margin is as low as $12.50, the cost of customer acquisition is key.
How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?
From the beginning we adopted a practical, innovative and inclusive approach to our platform. The look and feel of GP2U exists because real users wanted it to be intuitive. Our product is not so much our idea, but something more like a crowd sourced solution. It works the way it works, and does what it does, because that's what our users wanted.
When a user tells us something "does not work" we take to opportunity to ask "how do you think it should work?" and if the idea is good we implement it.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
The GP2U Cloud based service and accompanying iOS/Android Apps of course! With this you can book an appointment, see your doctor, and get prescription medication in real time. Personally I like the App widgets the best: track your weight, check your BMI, send a picture to your doctor, scan a QR code, WebRTC video to anyone – the list goes on.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
A key piece of advice in Dale Carnegie's classic book "How to win friends and influence people" is "Arouse in the other person an eager want". In business you need other people to help you, and you need customers to wake up in the morning and want your product. Get that right and the possibilities are endless.
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