Sramana: Who was your first customer?
Ido Schoenberg: Our first client was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii, followed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Since then we have added a significant number of payers. If you look at the number of lives our systems cover today, you will find that number hits the hundreds of millions.
We also have a very strong leg on the provider side. We have a growing number of delivery networks like the Carolinas HealthCare System, General Hospital in Boston, and other providers. They are using our platform to interact more conveniently with their own patients as well to reach out to other patients who are reaching out to them. That aligns with our vision of being a communication tool between supply and demand.
Sramana: What you are doing is extremely interesting. Every time I go into a doctor’s office for three minutes, I think there has to be a different way to receive those results.
Ido Schoenberg: We recently announced our direct-to-consumer service that is available in 44 states and Washington D.C. We have the American Well app, and that will allow you to experience a visit and the quality of the physicians. That system is now available to anyone who wants to use it. A large number of high-deductible patients use this capability.
Sramana: Are you still based in Israel?
Ido Schoenberg: American Well is a U.S. company. We are 100% American in every way. All the development is done in Boston. We are proud of the product.
Sramana: How did you finance the business?
Ido Schoenberg: Since it was our fourth company, we started it with family and friends. Since then, many of our clients have become equity partners in the company. I have never used VCs when building my companies because I have always preferred highly strategic partners. That has always worked very well for us. I find that having clients as partners gives us tremendous insight, and I am pleased with that decision.
Sramana: Are you planning on taking the company public?
Ido Schoenberg: We are very pleased with our progress, and we enjoy the benefits of being private. The problem we are solving is very significant. There are serious hurdles we need to overcome, but there are also tremendous opportunities. At this point the company is definitely going to remain private.
Sramana: I love what you are doing, and I think it is a fascinating story. Thank you for taking the time to share.