VisiQuate CEO Brian Robertson is a serial bootstrapper. In fact, he always 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. We’re not in the heart of Silicon Valley, but up in Sonoma County. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but I was only there for two weeks. My dad was in the Navy. His family was from the Midwest and we were 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. I’m on the Russian River Valley side for the wine enthusiasts out there. It’s a good area.
It’s turned out to be a very good spot for business too, because we host a lot of 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?” 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. Maybe it’s not unique considering how schools are impacted. I did most of my studies at San Diego State. I could get my final finance course.
I have a bachelor in Finance, Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance. I needed three classes and it would take me a few years at San Diego State even though I was in my senior year.
I was home for a family reunion where we had people in the Central Valley. They were a part of the CSU system and they had the same classes, so I finished at California State. I would say it was great, because I had family in the area and I met friends.
I immediately finished my bachelor’s work and got my master’s at Saint Mary’s College out here in Moraga, California, in health service administration. Some of the people that I was working with at the time were going through that program. Historically, it created a lot of hospital administrators, but at that time, it focused on managing care and capitation. A lot of things were happening in healthcare, and they broadened it so that it was a diverse curriculum around all things healthcare.
Sramana Mitra: What year are talking about when you finished your masters?
Brian Robertson: 1995.
Sramana Mitra: What happens 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 did their nights and weekends program. I stayed on with them 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. I did that 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. I did revenue cycle consulting in healthcare.