Sramana Mitra: What geography was that? Where were you based and where were you doing all of this?
Brian Robertson: I was based in Northern California. Most of my clients were from the West Coast. I was doing work for folks in Seattle, Oregon through Providence Health System.
I had clients throughout the North Bay including Sutter Home Health, North Bay Medical Center, and Tahoe Forest Hospital, to name a few. We were a boutique-focused revenue cycle consultancy that had a specialization in data management which then led to what became my second company in early 2000.
I then joined forces with somebody in a partnership capacity. We created a company called MedeFinance, which is now MedeAnalytics. That was the first company where I had taken what I had learned in the consulting practice and turned it into software. The dot-com explosion was around the corner at that time.
I had talked to clients about the idea of accessing intelligence over the web. What if you could get living and breathing reports instead of static reports? This was before we had the word cloud, SaaS, or big data and even AI. Look at how long AI has been around. It’s the same kind of dynamics.
We used the power of the web back then. We decided to take our existing relationships that both companies had before forming MedeFinance. We signed pilot agreements and said that we would do all the regular consulting and other services.
The idea of doing managed analytics over the web was a proof of concept back then, and it ended up working very well. We had to coordinate with IP. They were starting to do Hortonworks and things like that. It was great.
Instead of developing on-premise, shipping CDs, and keeping the software current in that traditional fashion, we had an application service provider, which is now synonymous with cloud. The idea of a service viewer and an application service provider was how we talked about it back in the day.
Sramana Mitra: How long did you do this consulting company?
Brian Robertson: The first company was from 1995 to 2000. Then the company that was doing analytics on the web was from early 2000. I left in late 2008. I stayed on as a consultant and helped them after they had raised a significant amount of money. I had the itch to keep my own vision going.
Sramana Mitra: The consulting company that you did from 1995 to 2000 was just you?
Brian Robertson: It was myself and a few employees in the traditional sense as well as subcontractors. My work required a lot of travel. We did a lot of real-time staffing. I had alignment with several recruiting agencies. A lot of the people that worked for me were 1099 contractors.
It was a combination of consulting around data and metrics and operational consulting, and then also focus on cash acceleration and bad debt reduction. We were doing staff augmentation for business offices.