Q&A Wednesday :: Filament Labs

Filament Labs LogoToday’s Q&A Wednesday is with Filament Labs, which had a tremendous launch at TechStars Demo Day at the Austin Music Hall a few weeks ago.

Q: Explain what you do in a way that my mom can understand?
Filament Labs is building a patient engagement platform, giving health professionals tools to manage their patients when they are away from the clinic.

Q: What was your “lightbulb” moment when you knew you had something?
It happened twice. The first occurred when we launched a product with Aetna alongside 30 well funded companies. That gave us a stamp of approval to operate in healthcare. However, the challenge for any healthcare entrepreneur is navigating the industry and finding a viable business model. The second moment is when our first paying customer approached us to pilot our product in 20 clinics nationwide.

Q: Who are the hard working geniuses behind the company?
Jason Bornhorst – Jason is the CEO and cofounder. Previously, Jason was the 1st hire at Mobiata and creators of FlightTrack – #1 travel app on iTunes for 4+ years. Mobiata was acquired by Expedia in 2010. Jason also founded University of Michigan’s TechArb, a student incubator endowed for the next 30 years.

Colin Anawaty – Colin is the CSO and cofounder. Previously, Colin created Plerts – an emergency mobile service underwritten by Lloyd’s of London and acquired by Rev Worldwide where he then spent 2 years managing product. Before that, Colin helped prototype an online game platform used by id Software for Quake Live and Riot Games for League of Legends.

Brian Gambs – Brian is the CTO and leads platform design and engineering. Brian brings over 8 years of experience in health IT through an acquisition by Web MD where he held a senior engineering role.

Q: What is the “secret sauce” that will make you shine above the competitors?
Our team is comprised of seasoned entrepreneurs with backgrounds in consumer mobile, scalable platforms, and health IT. As the industry moves from pen-and-paper and into the digital era, we are well positioned to capture and lead the market in patient engagement. We believe the Affordable Care Act will commoditize much of the industry, creating the need for healthcare companies to start operating more like consumer businesses. Aetna, Humana, and Kaiser Permanente are all great examples of the shift that’s occurring.

Q: Who are some of your first customers?
Our first paying customer is Corinthian Health, an infusion management company that operates 20 clinics across the US. Special types of injectable drugs are used to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis, crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Like dialysis, patients sit in a chair for 3-6 hours to receive treatment. These treatments occur 1-2x per month and often last for the remainder of the patients’ life. It’s been very eye-opening to learn how technology can help patients who struggle with managing day-to-day activities around their disease and drug treatment plan.

Q: The best advice we’ve received so far has been:
Focus on the whitespace. Everyone knows healthcare is a $2+ trillion dollar industry but answering “who pays?” is extremely difficult and obtuse. Affordable care act complicates that question as every facet of healthcare is undergoing significant change. To succeed, health tech entrepreneurs need to focus on the niches as even the niches are multi-billion dollar markets.

About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.

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