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Healthcare Reform Through Entrepreneurship: Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer (Part 7)

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 14th 2009

SM: How did you finance this company? Is it also a venture-funded company?

SS: It was funded by a select few angel investors and a private equity firm. The private equity company that has been the principle investor over the past four rounds is Caris Partners. They are a private equity firm in Dallas.

SM: What has been your fundraising strategy? Why was there a decision to use private equity instead of venture capital? I would really like to get at an understanding of what logic was driving that strategy.

SS: I am not the founding CEO. When the founders first went out to raise money some years ago, there was a relationship between the founders and members of that private equity firm in place. By the time I took over the company, the relationship between Caris and Phytel was well established. I have maintained that relationship as they have continued to put money into subsequent deals.

SM: Where is the company headquartered?

SS: We are in Addison, Texas. That is just north of Dallas.

SM: The stars are aligning, there is political will to change, and you have a solution that aligns with all of those arrows. Given where you are in your career and mental state, do you have the will and desire to build this company to its full potential over the next decade?

SS: Absolutely. I am 54 years old. I am just chomping at the bit. What I did before I really feel good about. It was a great success and it is still going good. However, we never could figure out how to put the physician at the center of it. Now we have, and that is exactly why I am so excited. I love the people in this company and its positioning. I love the changes in our environment which are happening on a mega scale. What really has me excited is that we have a chance to make a very substantial, important, and lasting impact on the American healthcare environment. That is the kind of stuff that people like me get fired up about. The meaningfulness of the work really gets me fired up. It is profound. In the process of doing that, there is an opportunity to make some money.

For the first time in history, physicians can truly lead health improvement population management efforts. We have the tools to allow them to do it, and we have the payment structure which will reward them for doing it. Where we are right now is a very invigorating place to be. I am fired up and am really looking forward to an exciting time ahead.

SM: Is there anything I should have asked you that I did not?

SS: The planets have aligned, and it is a great solution that works. I think we have covered everything relevant to the story.

SM: It is a great story. You have the potential to build an incredible company. Good luck!

This segment is part 7 in the series : Healthcare Reform Through Entrepreneurship: Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer
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