Ido Schoenberg is the chairman and CEO of American Well Corporation, a provider of online healthcare and telehealth visits. Ido has a lengthy track record of successfully leading technology companies in the healthcare field. In 1996, together with Phyllis Gotlib, he co-founded iMDSoft, a provider of enterprise software that automates hospital critical care units. He grew the company into a market leader with a multinational install base in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia. In 2001, Ido joined CareKey Inc. as chief executive officer and took the company through its acquisition by the TriZetto group. Ido served as TriZetto’s chief business strategy officer until his departure in the summer of 2006. Ido continues to serve as the chairman of iMDSoft’s scientific advisory board. He received his MD from the Sackler School of Medicine.
Sramana: Ido, let’s start by reviewing a little bit of your background.
Ido Schoenberg: I was born in Israel. I am a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare space having started four companies to date. The first company I started was iMDSoft, which I founded with Phyllis Gotlib, my wife. We sold that company about a year ago.
Sramana: What did that company do?
Ido Schoenberg: That company provides software that automates hospital critical care units. It provides automation for intensive care units, operating procedures in trauma rooms, and other critical care centers. It is a clinical information system and solution that is used around the world today.
Sramana: What was the next company that you started?
Ido Schoenberg: My next company was CareKey, and I started that company with my brother, Roy. That company has been acquired by the TriZetto group. This company does case disease and utilization management solutions. It is one of the largest in its field.
Sramana: Before we dive into American Well, there are a few things I wanted to ask you about. You have done two companies with family members. Can you talk about the dynamics of building a company with family members?
Ido Schoenberg: I never had a design or plan to start companies with family members. There are many advantages and disadvantages to working with family. In essence, when you are creating a company from scratch, it requires a strong and intimate relationship between founders. You spend most of your days, nights and weekends working together.
Doing it with a biological family member is not completely out of the question. If you start a company with your spouse, then you truly are immersed in your work life all the time. That is not that unusual for a startup. When you do a startup with a family member, there is inborn trust and comfort with each other. On the other hand, it requires you to be very clear in laying out a structured set of roles and responsibilities, especially as it relates to the rest of the team members. The other team members need to make sure that as they are working within an organizational structure, that there is no preferential treatment. We take our responsibilities to our shareholders and team members very seriously. In almost all cases, our team members became our family.