Today's entrepreneur: Andy Schoonover, CEO and founder of CrowdHealth
A startup is like a life raft, unlike an aircraft carrier, a bad person or two will doom the mission
Today's entrepreneur is Andy Schoonover, CEO and founder of CrowdHealth, a company that deploys a crowdfunding model to pay its users' medical bills.
After signing up with CrowdHealth, users pay a flat monthly fee of up to $175 for those aged six to 54 (the price is $325 a month for seniors and $225 a month young children); after that, they pay $500 per health event.
When a user is going to the doctor, all they have to do is tell the company when they're going and who they're seeing; while wellness checks, such as a primary care physician, OBGYN, or pediatrician, are completely covered without any additional payment required, if the user needs a follow-up with a specialist, such as surgery, the company can negotiate directly with that hospital or provider prior to the operation, and get the price lowered. CrowdHealth will even pay the bill before the patient ever gets to the doctor's office.
CrowdHealth, which is currently operating in all 50 states, and can even help people when they're overseas, recently launched with a $6 million round of funding from Next Coast Ventures and Activate Venture Partners.
After graduating with a BS in Commerce from the McIntire School at the University of Virginia, Schoonover started his career at Host Marriott Corporation (now Host Hotels & Resorts, NYSE: HST) in the Treasury, Asset Management and Acquisition and Development groups and completed transactions valued at approximately $1.5 billion.
He then moved to Silicon Valley to attend Stanford Business School where he got that entrepreneurial itch. As his friends headed off to Google, Facebook, and other high flying tech companies after graduation, Andy and Chris Hendriksen, his business school roommate, founded Blue Canyon Capital which was formed in September of 2006. Blue Canyon Capital then purchased Valued Relationships, Inc (VRI) in Dayton, Ohio. Andy became CEO and served in that role for five years. After a fourfold growth in revenues, the majority of VRI was sold to Pamlico Capital in 2014. VRI investors received a gross return of approximately 9x their investment.
Today Schoonover lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Stephanie where they are devoted parents to their daughter Grace’s legacy, younger daughter Ava, and their pup, Butler.
I am a(n):
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
VRI – CEO
CrowdHealth – Founder and CEO
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?
I wanted to start something completely different outside of an existing entity.
My favorite startups:
- Homeward out of Austin. They are totally rethinking the way we pay for homes.
- Paga out of Lagos, Nigeria. They are trying to disrupt the payment system in Africa.
- ICON out of Austin. They are 3D printing homes which could potentially change the way we care for the homeless.
Why did you start your company or why do you want to innovate inside your company?
My daughter had to get tubes in her ears. After the 15 minute procedure we were hit with and $8,000 bill that our insurance company refused to pay. I was tired of getting screwed by health insurance companies so I started looking into creative ways to operate outside the system. The culmination of that was CrowdHealth.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
The hardest thing to do is to get people to change their behavior. They can have a terrible experience with an industry of companies (i.e. health insurance) but will stick around because the know evil is perceived as better than the unknown good.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?
Paying attention to what others think. If it really is disruptive then most people will think you are crazy. If they don’t think you are crazy, then someone else has already done it.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
- You can have conviction for your product or service but also be humble.
- A startup is like a life raft, unlike an aircraft carrier, a bad person or two will doom the mission.
- The path to success is littered with failure. Failure is not an if, but a when. Do you fast, do it often, and make sure you learn from those failings.