The birth of his daughter--and the subsequent onslaught of hospital bills--gave Bird Blitch the idea for Patientco, an Atlanta-based platform for medical payments. But it took a chance meeting to get his company off the ground.
After starting my previous company, a software business, I learned the importance of a great elevator pitch--one that quickly and clearly defines a problem and your solution. But I never thought I'd pitch my new business on an actual elevator.
It's always so awkward on elevators. No one talks. Everyone looks down. But one day, as I was leaving a friend's office, a woman got on the elevator with me at the fourth floor. We happened to make eye contact, and she asked what I did for a living. I explained, "Well, after my wife had a baby, we were flooded with bills from many different providers. Often, patients don't pay. And when patients do want to pay, providers don't accept the forms of payment they want to use. I'm working on a new technology platform to make it easier for patients to pay providers."
She replied, "I'm the COO of Eagle Hospital Physicians, and we are trying to solve this very problem. Would you like to come present this to our CEO?"
I bit my lip and said yes. I was off to the races--except for one minor detail: I hadn't built the product yet. For the next month, we worked a lot of nights, building a minimum viable product. In the end, it paid off, with a $699,000 two-year contract.
As told to Inc. contributing writer, Reshma Yaqub.