Depending upon where we live, we may take for granted the relatively easy access to the resources and facilities that we need for the medical treatment we require. Not everyone is so lucky, however, nor is every town equipped for medical or dental procedures beyond the routine.
Saket Agrawal, the CEO of OFFOR Health, is working to change that. His company is looking to bring that needed care to underserved areas by turning the available offices into operating rooms, saving time and money for patients that may have otherwise encountered a barrier to healthcare access.
Mary Juetten: Little bit more about the company?
Saket Agrawal: OFFOR Health, Inc. based in Columbus, Ohio and was founded by three anesthesiologists that were childhood friends who all grew up in the area and came back to practice. Luckily, Columbus, and Ohio overall, is a great place for entrepreneurship with great talent, an ecosystem that is looking to help foster the next big thing, and coupled with a great cost of living.
Juetten: When did you start?
Agrawal: Our company started in July 2016. At the time, I was working in the Bay area, and the co-founders (who I had also grown up with) had been talking about a company they co-founded. I just started ideating with them on what the challenge or pain point in the market that they were solving. Ultimately, those conversations grew and they asked me to move back to Columbus and join as CEO. After some thought, I decided it was the right time to bet on myself.
Juetten: What problem are you solving?
Agrawal: Delivering care to patients in their local community – who have difficulty in getting the healthcare they need due to location, time, or economics. This includes a variety of medical areas, but initially OFFOR Health grew from our oral health focused business called SmileMD.
SmileMD is focused on the problem of access to pediatric dental sedation – there are millions of pediatric patients that have extensive oral health needs that cannot be solved and children’s hospitals have very long wait times of 12 months or more. So the children each year who need sedation for a complex dental procedure have difficulty actually getting it due to a myriad of reasons: time commitment, distance, wait times, new location. OFFOR Health solves this by partnering with dentists to take care of their patients by bringing the OR to a familiar setting– SmileMD brings in equipment, meds, and an expert care team (anesthesiologist, registered nurse, paramedic) – so that patients can easily get the care they need in a fraction of the time and in their local community.
To date, we’ve helped patients save over 300,00 miles traveled, 33,000 months of wait time and increased the amount of patients served by 155% over the past year.
Juetten: Who are your customers and how do you find them?
Agrawal: Our customers primarily consist of medical and dental offices. They have the patients, but instead of referring them out or booking operating room time at a hospital, they can do the procedure in their own office. We use a variety of methods to find our customers, relying mainly on referrals and Territory Business Managers (“feet on the street”) to drive demand. We are also actively in the process of building up our marketing team as we continue to expand, to ensure there is enough awareness out there for our services.
Juetten: How did past projects and/or experience help with this new project?
Agrawal: I learned about Venture Capital (VC) space and fundraising while living in the Bay area for a decade – many friends were heavily involved in it, so I was ready when I joined OFFOR. Healthcare was new to me, but with the involvement of the co-founders at first, it helped me get up to speed on how we best operate. And the tech side is something that I have strong experience in, so once we secured Series A funding – we accelerated that aspect of the business, bringing in a CIO and developing proprietary technology, to enable our expansion in an effort to better serve more patients.
Juetten: Who is on your team?
Agrawal: Our team is composed of experienced clinicians, venture capitalists and technologists who are eager to reinforce our mission and help increase access to care for patients.
Board of Directors:
- Saket Agrawal – CEO, OFFOR Health
- Navin Goyal, MD – Co-founder of OFFOR Health, CEO & Co-founder of LOUD Capital
- Ajay Satyapriya, MD – Co-founder of OFFOR Health, Board-certified Anesthesiologist
- Eric Bell – Managing Partner, SpringRock Ventures
- Chris Bowers – former SVP, Centene
- Saket Agrawal – CEO, OFFOR Health
- Mike Glick – Chief Growth Officer (started in Feb 2020)
- Michael Mancuso – Chief Information Officer (started in Apr 2021)
- Todd Kohl – VP Logistics & Operations (started in Oct 2020)
Juetten: Did you raise money?
Agrawal: Yes, seed round with founders, friends and family. Then Series A, which we raised in January 2021 – total of $6M with SpringRock Ventures as the lead investor, and others joining in such as AXA Ventures and LOUD Capital.
Juetten: Startups are an adventure — what’s your favorite startup story?
Agrawal: While I don’t have a favorite story that comes to mind, I love reading and hearing about various startups and their founders’ journeys. I enjoy learning about how they overcame the numerous challenges they faced and really deep diving into the decisions they were presented with and the process of determining the right — or wrong — course of action. Ultimately, a startup is made up of thousands of obstacles and challenges and you are forced to make trade offs constantly. You hope you’re making the right ones that allow you to build your story and hit the next milestone.
Juetten: How do you measure success and what is your favorite success story?
Agrawal: We measure success in our ability to learn, adapt and ultimately make a positive impact on society. We are truly focused on delivering better outcomes for our patients as well as delivering a positive experience for our providers. If we can do those two things successfully, we will have a model that adds value and can change the way healthcare is operating today. What we are doing is extremely complex and difficult with many stakeholders, but the payoff will be if we can truly create value for all the various stakeholders.
Favorite stories are about companies that truly understand the root problem that they are solving and leverage their solution to do more than where they just got initial traction. A classic example, Amazon hit on the ease of online ordering. They focused on that pain point and did not just focus on their success in book delivery, which allowed them to truly solve the problem and leverage that focus to deliver everything under the sun.
Juetten: Any tips to add for early-stage founders or CEOs in growth mode?
Agrawal: My advice to leaders in growth mode is to stay focused on understanding the fundamentals of the problem you are solving and once you truly understand it, it will give you the conviction you will need to execute to provide a solution. If you know your story and impact, then you will be able to convince others to come on board to go on the journey with you. Also, build a team of believers.
Juetten: What’s the long-term vision for your company?
Agrawal: We want to continue to enhance on-site healthcare delivery – and can do so by delivering the best platform that drives value to all our stakeholders. Delivering a platform that enhances the lives of not only our patients, but our client offices and provider base.
Importantly, we are not only focused on patients, but those servicing them. We want OFFOR Health to be a new path for clinician careers so they are not relegated to choose between only healthcare systems or group practices to join. They can actually choose to work with us and build a lifestyle and run their own business but with the power of OFFOR Health removing the challenges of a lot of traditional clinical environments.
Thank you to Saket for giving me some time, and congratulations on both a creative solution and admirable ambition to improve access to needed medical care. As we all are painfully aware, our health system has been tested and strained in various areas. I particularly appreciate the tip to find believers. #onwards.