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Building a Healthcare Company from Rhode Island: ShapeUp CEO Rajiv Kumar (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Mar 30th 2014

Sramana: What has your overall financing strategy been for the business? I know you raised $1.3 million in your early angel rounds. Have you raised additional funds?

Rajiv Kumar: We raised $8 million dollars during our first Series A, and this past fall, we did a $5 million Series B.

Sramana: Where are you in terms of revenue run rates?

Rajiv Kumar: We are well into the 8 figure revenue run rate. We were EBITA positive last year and we grew our top-line business by 60% last year. We are projecting similar growth for 2014.

Sramana: When you bring in new capital, what levers are you pushing with that capital?

Rajiv Kumar: We believe our growth lever is on the product innovation side. We need additional products that we can cross sell and up sell into our customer base. We are doing quite a bit to expand the breadth of our offering to include nutrition, emotional well-being, and financial well-being. We are also digging deeper into healthcare. We are going into biometric screening and health coaching.

Sramana: You have based a lot of your value proposition on social interaction. I find it curious that you are going into financial well-being since that is typically something very private.

Rajiv Kumar: I agree that there is a very private aspect to your financial well-being, just like there are private aspects about personal health. We take whatever we can to make social and we make it social. I think that same thing goes for financial wellness. We can promote budgets, savings plan, and we believe people are willing to share savings opportunities.

Sramana: What is happening in Rhode Island in terms of entrepreneurship development? What kind of community are you in?

Rajiv Kumar: There has been a substantial increase in support for entrepreneurs in the last 5 years. When we started, there were no accelerators, incubators, or advisor networks. The business plan competitions that I mentioned were the extent that existed. Since then, accelerators have started which have shared spaces. Brown is helping out and now a Founders Network has been created. Funding is starting to align around it and local governments are making equity investments in startups.

We opened our office in 2005 in a district where there really were no other startups. There are probably 50 different startups within three blocks of our office today. Things are really starting to pick up and that is exciting.

Sramana: What about angel networks?

Rajiv Kumar: There are probably close to a dozen networks now. Unfortunately we only had one VC firm which has since left and went to Boston. That’s not a big problem because once you get to the point of raising money, capital is available in a lot of different areas. The key is to have funding to help during the early stages. The great thing about Rhode Island is that it is a very small place. Our city only has 100,000 people and everybody knows each other. That makes it a little easier to get startups funded.

Sramana: Fantastic. I really enjoyed hearing your story, thank you for sharing it with us.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building a Healthcare Company from Rhode Island: ShapeUp CEO Rajiv Kumar
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