ZocDoc's Cyrus Massoumi: 'I Was Not Exuding Huge Amounts of Confidence'
How I Did It: ZocDoc
On one day Cyrus Massoumi went door-to-door hawking ZocDoc, the doctor-appointment scheduling site, security guards kicked him out.
00:07 Cyrus Massoumi: She picked up the phone call and she called the security officer downstairs in the building, who when I then left the building, told me I could never come back again.
In 2007, Cyrus Massoumi co-founded ZocDoc, a site that helps patients schedule doctor appointments.
00:23 Massoumi: People thought that we weren't likely to succeed. That people wouldn't book doctor's appointments online. That it would be really difficult to get a critical share of doctors and patients to use us fast enough to make this a viable business. Longtime investors have always held the conviction in recent times that doctors don't want to pay money for stuff. Doctors won't adopt technology. They won't be [00:43] ____ to technology. And this is a universal thought that people thought of and held dearly and so, we had to prove them wrong. I would literally go doctor to doctor. It was quite humbling, I left my strategy consulting job at McKenzie and I became a door-to-door sales person of original ZocDoc products.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2007, Cyrus visited hundreds of dentists in New York City, trying to sign them up to ZocDoc.
01:09 Massoumi: I remember one, it was a dentist office specifically, in midtown Manhattan and I got to their office and I remember they seemed to be relatively busy. But there were a lot of people around doing paperwork and what not. And I'd never... This was one of the first few cold calls I ever did and so, clearly, inside I was not exuding huge amounts of confidence. And so, I just basically interrupted them and I think they were just having a bad day or what have you. And so, apparently there had been a sign on the wall saying no solicitations or no sales or what have you. And this one woman just started getting very testy with me, picked up the phone, started calling down to security and when I got downstairs the security officer told me I could never come in the building again. It just so happened that my own doctor was in this building, [chuckle] so I had to go back a few months later. Even before we launched, my co-founders and I had a big requirement that we wanted to have enough doctors on the website, so that there is actually a scroll bar on the right hand of the site and I remember it was a couple days before launch and we only a handful of doctors on ZocDoc. And so, literally, there was no scroll bar. You'd do a search in New York and you only had a couple of doctor show up. After a lot of the no's every once in a while you would get a yes.
The site opened to the public on September 18, 2007--with a scroll bar.
02:28 Massoumi: One of the things I think was the best... The most rewarding and the things that sort of suggested to me that this is an idea would work was when doctors who told me no initially, doctors who threw me out of their offices initially, started to use ZocDoc. And, we started to see that happen time and time again, it still happens to this today. It was a very, very slow start. It took us a long time before we really figured out how to get traction with our business. It took us two-and-a-half years before we first market profitable, before we even expanded outside of our first market. And if you really have a conviction that the service you're creating, the product your creating is one that people wanna use, they will use. It's just a function of time, you just have to get yourself up there and after the setbacks, dust yourself off and really celebrate every small win that's out there and eventually the small wins will add up to a big win.
To date, ZocDoc has raised $95 million in financing, from investors like Goldman Sachs, DST Global, Jeff Bezos, and Marc Benioff.
More than 2 million patients use ZocDoc each month.
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