Thursday, May 14, 2015
How Silversheet Wants To Tame Doctor Credentialing
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
What's the relationship between Internet video phenomenon lonelygirl15, and streamlining the mound of paperwork required for physicians to gain credentials at your local hospital? Nothing, except Miles Beckett, a serial entrepreneur who is best known for creating lonelygirl15 and online content provider EQAL. We caught up with Miles, to learn more about his new startup, Silversheet (www.silversheet.com), and the big opportunity to streamline paperwork in the medical field for doctors seeking credentialing at hospitals. Miles told us about the new startup, plus how he ended up back in the medical world (he started out as a physician) after a stint creating online content.
How exactly did you end up--after EQAL--creating a healthcare related startup?
Explain how that works?
Miles Beckett: Silversheet is focused on really changing the way that facilities and health practitioners operate together. Our first product is a platform, which streamlines the way of how doctors work to get approved at surgery center. If you're not familiar with it, doctors who want to work at hospitals need to get privileges there. Doctors are not employed directly by those facilities, but they do need privileges to access those facilities. The process of getting those privileges is called credentialing, which involves sending over a whole bunch of documents, recording of where you went to med school, where you did your residency, what your board certifications are, and a dozen or so other documents. You also have to keep that all up todate on an going basis. Believe it or not, right now, in outpatient settings, that's still done using paper and FAX. It's crazy. Our product totally automates that, and runs an automatic verification process, doing a background check of a doctor's records, and keeps everything up to date, and includes the doctor in that process.
Why go back to healthcare for this startup?
Miles Beckett: Underpinning my whole career has been technology and the Internet. When I left the surgery program, I was obsessed with making videos and obsessed with the Internet. It had been quite a few years where I had been producing content, and I was really focused on EQAL, running the company's operations, growing the business, and selling it. After selling EQAL, I was looking for a new opportunity in technology, and I wasn't quite as interested in producing content as I had been. To me, honestly, the most exciting area of new technology today is healthcare. I didn't think I would start a healthcare company, but looking at the opportunity, the market is huge, healthcare is a huge part of our GDP, and there is so much inefficiency in the market. Only recently has healthcare started to have some technology adoption, and only because the government has been pushing electronic health records. I am a doctor, and I have felt that frustration first hand, first from medical school, and then going through those same pain points. I thought the time was right to fix things in healthcare, and to do what I can do to built a great product and change things.
Talk about the funding?
Miles Beckett: We raised $2.9 million in a seed round, led by Upfront Ventures. We have had a whole bunch of other great investors, like Rincon Ventures, SV Angels, and lots of great angels. A lot of those were investors in my last company or were friends. I have been on the board of Tradesy with Jim Andelman, and have been friends with Mark Suster since he first moved to LA, and was a mentor at LaunchpadLA. It's a really awesome group of people, who add incredible value, and are a great sounding board. I'm excited to have them as my partners.
Anything you learned at EQAL you think you'll leverage here?
Miles Beckett: It's absolutely not my first time at the rodeo. EQAL was a successful exit, and our investors did well, we did well, even if we made a million mistakes along the way. It was the first company I started, and I learned a ton. Now, all of that blocking and tackling is second nature to me. With this business, it's been a lot easier getting things off the ground, particularly from the product standpoint. Pat Cheung, who was head of product at EQAL, worked together with me, and he's a phenomenal UX guy. We have really talented engineers on our team. From the product development standpoint, at EQAL we spent a lot of time figuring out how to build a great product. Now, we've got a well oiled machine. Honestly, I think about 80 percent of what we did at EQAL is relevant to Silversheet.
I know you're now in healthcare, but where do you think the whole online content world is today?
Miles Beckett: I still love online video, and I'm really excited for that industry. My friends, like Catherine Grace, who ran Youtube Space, is now working with Ron Howard and Brian Graves in their studio, which I think is really cool. I think we're still in the early innings in online content. MCNs are just the first wave of big acquisitions, I see lots of innovation there over the next five to 10 years, which is really cool.
What's next on your plate?
Miles Beckett: We are just growing. We have been in pilots, and we now have around 50 surgery centers using the product, and a large number of doctors. The feedback has been phenomenal. We want to go much more broadly throughout California, and soon we'll be across the nation. Hopefully, we'll be streamlining the process, cutting costs, and making all of this more efficient, and getting rid of the paperwork, which has been the bane of my existence as a doctor. You might not know it, but healthcare now is really moving out of hospitals into clinics, and occupancy rates in hospitals for inpatient beds has fallen from 77 percent to 60 percent since 1980. That, and a few other trends, is pushing a lot of patient care into the outpatient clinic. That's where we're initially focusing, because that's where the biggest pressures are, and where the regulatory burden has just been going up and up due to the Affordable Care Act. There's so much more clinics need to track, but they're still basically small businesses. For them, it's very hard to manage those regulations. Our goal at Silversheet is to help those smaller facilities adapt to the changing times, and help them keep up with the demand, plus, obviously, we'll also grow upstream to help larger facilities.
Thanks, and good luck!