Brian is a serial bootstrapper. In fact, he bootstraps using services. Terrific entrepreneur to learn from.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background did you have?
Brian Robertson: I’m from Northern California – not at the heart of Silicon Valley but up in Sonoma County. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but I only lived there for two weeks. My dad was in the Navy. His family was from the Midwest, so that’s why we were only there for a short period.
We settled in Northern California when I was two or three years old. Other than college and some early career work, this is definitely home for me. I live in Santa Rosa, California. It’s also where our corporate headquarters is.
It’s turned out to be a very good spot for business too, because we can easily host leadership summits, client summits, and user groups. Every time I ask our clients, “We don’t always have to do this in Sonoma County. Would you like to go to Hilton Head or do something in Nashville?” But when they fill out the comment cards, it always comes back to Sonoma County.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do for education?
Brian Robertson: I went to San Diego State University and California State University, Stanislaus in the Central Valley. That story is a unique one. I did most of my studies at San Diego State. I could get my final finance course.
I have a bachelor’s in Finance and Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance. I needed three classes and it would take me a few years in San Diego State to graduate even though I was in my senior year.
I was home for a family reunion in the Central Valley. California State was part of the CSU system and they had the same classes, so I decided to finish at California State. I would say the transfer was the right choice because I had family in the area.
I immediately finished my bachelor’s work and got my Master’s in Saint Mary’s College out here in Moraga, California in their Health Service Administration. Some of the people that I worked with at the time were going through that program. Historically, it created hospital administrators, but at that time, it focused on managed care and capitation. A lot of things were happening in health care, and they broadened the topic to diversify the curriculum around all things healthcare.
Sramana Mitra: What year are talking about when you finished your masters?
Brian Robertson: 1995.
Sramana Mitra: What happened when you came out of school?
Brian Robertson: When I came out of school, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that also supported my going to school. I worked full time and I was able to do the nights and weekends program. I stayed on with this company for a year after graduation.
In the program at Saint Mary’s, I met a CFO who was working for a large medical group in Northern California. They were acquiring multiple billing systems and they had to blend a lot of operational procedures and cultures. I took a job with them early on and worked there for a little while.
I decided that I didn’t want to be a nine-to-five worker. I created my own consulting company early on in my career called Impact Receivables Group. Visiquate is my third company and Impact Receivables Group was my first one. This first company focused on revenue cycle consulting in healthcare. This is where my passion for the space began.