“Solve real world problems that impact many people.” – Asif Khan
Asif Khan, Co-founder of Caremerge, recently took some time to share his initial founding days of Caremerge and gave us a chance to get to know his entrepreneurial spirit. He will be pitching tonight to Chicago’s top business leaders at the Momentum Awards, in hopes of being crowned Chicago’s Coolest Startup.
What was the trigger that ultimately led you to start your own company?
“With over 10 years in healthcare including a stint at GE Healthcare in a leadership role, I thought that I had things figured out. Until my mother got terribly sick and was put on ventilators in a developing country where she volunteers along with my father. Once I got there I saw my dad flipping through paperwork and didn’t have all the necessary information to share with the physicians. I was pretty upset with him and started to give him a tough time that he didn’t have his act together when it came to caring for my mother. Then he asked me a very simple question that forever changed everything for me. His question was ” Asif, you’re a global manager at GE Healthcare Technology, can you tell me which medications you took three months ago or which doctor your wife goes to see?”. I was speechless. It made me realize that as advanced we are in the western developed countries, we are as far back as a developing country when it comes to accessing medical information about your loved ones. Caremerge was born.”
Did you have any fears? What were they?
“Initially, yes. Not anymore. Primarily because we are getting great adoption by our customers and actual users (nurses, senior care staff, etc.). Every time we see our customers (nurses, senior care staff, etc.) using our solutions, we get hugs and comments like “we love you guys!”– primarily because we have made profound difference in the way they provide better timely care for the elderly, therefore making a big impact on the quality of life for everyone they serve.
It’s funny, the fears are now different that others may think. Its more about customer satisfaction, their experience, and making sure we continue to provide top quality products and support as we grow quickly.”
What was the trigger that made you find the courage to take that initial leap into entrepreneurship?
“I have always been an entrepreneur deep at heart. I was more like an intrapreneur (if there’s such a word) at GE. Always changing things for the better, introducing newer products by working collaboratively among various businesses and leading cross-functional teams. Caremerge was more like a natural progression for me after getting tons of experience at a great company like GE.”
One of the hardest things entrepreneurs struggle with is building an audience. What’s your advice for building the right audience?
“Solve real world problems that impact many people.”
What’s the one question you don’t get asked, but wish you did because you have a great answer?
“How are you overcoming the roadblocks currently facing big healthcare companies and innovating at such fast pace?”
What challenges/failures did you face as you started the company? What steps did you take to work through those challenges?
“We faced many challenges and figured out a solution for almost all. One thing that took the most time, was raising capital.
We spent most of 2011 in various senior care communities trying to understand the real problems that the providers, elderly and the families were facing. After much research and feedback we started building the solution and had a few paying customers. The next step was to solidify the solution and leverage earlier wins to gain more traction, for which we needed capital. That was one of the main challenges we faced to get to the next level. Eventually, we were very fortunate to find a strategic investor from EU (Poland). “