Monthly Archives: February 2020


Featured Founder: Jerry Beinhauer of Apaly Health

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Jerry Beinhauer, Founder of Apaly Health, software that lowers healthcare costs by enabling direct contracting between employers and providers.



What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

I often joke that I am part physician - part techie nerd.  As far back as I can remember, I have always had a love for healthcare and technology.  Throughout my life, these interests have often carried me down several distinct, frequently separate, but sometimes briefly intersecting career paths.  Prior to medical school, I worked in network engineering. During medical school, because of my technology background, I served as a technology consultant for healthcare providers (medical students will do pretty much anything for money or FOOD).  After residency, I started a hospitalist practice. However, I had always felt the strong desire to merge my passions together into a single parallel trajectory.

My inspiration to launch Apaly Health was triggered by my profound belief that as the U.S. healthcare system developed into the massive industry that it is today, a core concept was frequently being overlooked: PEOPLE.  The fundamental and most important event that drives everything in our entire healthcare system, is the physician - patient interaction. Without this interaction between PEOPLE, nothing else matters.

This is why at Apaly Health, we believe that healthcare should revolve around this interaction between the patient and physician, and that all other components in our healthcare system should exist to seamlessly support this process, while creating an epic experience, improving health and wellness, and lowering overall costs.

The Apaly Health family has set out on a journey knowing that we may never be able to totally re-create the U.S. healthcare system into the industry that we envision, but our passion drives us every day to strive toward that end.  We are working to build a company that will be around, and deliver ongoing value in healthcare, for the next 100 years.


What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

Our long-term vision, as I mentioned above, is to re-focus and support the U.S. healthcare system back to its key fundamental event: the physician – patient interaction.  Our first step on this path, is to address some of the problems being experienced by self-funded employer health plans and healthcare providers through the provider network approach to interaction: 1) tremendous added costs to employers, 2) lower reimbursement to providers, and 3) the limitations of non-direct collaboration between them.

Our software enables these self-funded employers (whose employees and family members number over 100,000,000 lives in the U.S.) and healthcare providers (hospitals, physician practices, imaging centers, labs, etc.) to directly contract with each other in a simple and scalable fashion.  We deliver value to both sides and alleviate the typical administrative burdens that can often be experienced when direct relationships are established.  This helps them both focus on delivering quality care and an epic experience.  This is designed to serve as our initial step in supporting our long-term vision.

What gets me excited to go to work every day is the PEOPLE.  In this context, people includes the patients and physicians that I previously spoke about, but also our Apaly Health family members.  I am excited to be focused on creating a solution that is going to improve the lives of millions of people, but I am even more excited to be working with people that share the same belief.  We are beholden to each other like a family.


Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

I'd say the biggest challenge we had faced was what is called “the cold start problem.”  Just as is the case in any two-sided marketplace, with our participants being self-funded employers and their benefits advisors on one side, and healthcare providers on the other, there is a tendency for each side to delay or stall their involvement until the other side adopts first.  It boils down to perceived value, or lack thereof.

Participants on each side want to experience immediate value, and they may not be compelled to participate until that value can be validated through participation on the other side.  This is not an uncommon problem in a two-sided marketplace, and we spent a lot of time learning and iterating our offering to address this.  We looked to other companies that have two-sided marketplaces and assessed how they addressed the different ways to tackle this cold start problem.

We realized that the key factor in our case to overcome the cold-start problem was to first define and deliver a very small fair exchange of value to each side individually, with low barriers to entry, and then incrementally expand on this value exchange to drive participation.  This then compels the parties to participate on a step-by-step basis that starts shallow and continues to go deeper.


Where do you see your company headed next?

From a short-term perspective, our goal is to continue delivering value to our customers and remain very focused on the direct contracting solution I described.  In the intermediate and long term, we will continually look to add value and drive toward our ultimate vision of changing the healthcare system for the PEOPLE.

We purposely structured our solution and operations, even down to our technical architecture, to be able to support a modular, scalable approach to support our vision. This enables us to be very agile and nimble, supports our ability to continually measure and learn from our customers, and ultimately more easily deliver additional products and features to perpetually increase our value.


Give us a tactical piece of advice that you’d share with another founder just starting out.

I think some of the key things that I've learned over the years, which has been tremendously valuable, is to continually test your assumptions, iterate, and don’t be afraid to make a justified pivot.  Follow a process and build a culture that encourages the expression of new ideas and doesn’t penalize or punish failure if those ideas fail.  Most importantly, determine what you believe in, find other people who share that belief, dream BIG, and be persistent in your resolve to execute on that dream to change the world.


Learn more about Apaly Health on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Keep up with the latest in Tampa Bay startup news, local talent interviews and founder resources.
Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.


Lessons Learned Coaching Early-Stage Tech Startups


Over the last year, I've had the chance to shape Tampa Bay's newest startup hub, Embarc Collective and how it supports Tampa Bay's startup talent. Working directly with our startup community gave me the chance to support passionate entrepreneurs at all stages across various industries (44 companies at the time of writing). Each week I engaged with bright and talented people creating game-changing businesses despite the notorious startup success rate. Being a co-founder of a health tech startup (didn't work out but learned a TON) and later experiencing the investment side of the table, I had the utmost empathy but also the wherewithal to push them forward

Coaching startup companies requires relentless honesty and candidness with founders and their teams as soon as possible - quick feedback loops. It's critical to couple hard truths with compassion and empathy, and always deliver the negative feedback privately. Also, by evangelizing courage, and believing in these startups teams, they can push through the troughs of despair and come out on top. Coaching is all about building relationships and getting the best out of people.

My time at Embarc Collective has taught me a few things about motivating startup talent to stay accountable to their goals, and these are also lessons that I encourage founders to use with their teams.


Be coachable

Honesty, humility, persistence, hard work, and a constant openness to learning is critical to success. When coaching, or interacting with people in general, I find the most important thing to do is be fully present and listen with undivided attention. Equally as important, pay attention to the tone and body language of your coachee as this is where the truth is hidden. Make it a habit to respond with a question - ideally, one that reframes the problem, but at least one that draws out more of their thoughts on the matter. Help them think through how the decision should be made. Inspire iteration.


Create milestones you can stick to and be transparent with your team

It's easy to lose the forest for the trees when building a company. An example of this is over-customization for certain customers, which can be the death knell to some companies - know your 'no'. By creating a reverse roadmap (starting with the end goal and working backwards to the present), and including team members in the discussion from a feasibility and community perspective, a unified movement is formed. Row in the same direction. Measure progress.


Leverage your community to be accountable

Leverage your peers, co-working mates, or your friends and family to create a support system that can rally you on during the tough days and check-in on you to make sure you're on task. Be vulnerable and tell them what you're going to accomplish. Establish frequent, and agreed upon, check-ins to discuss progress and ask for help. Don't be stubborn.


Know how to ask for help...and listen

Great companies aren't built alone. It's important to know when to ask for help and when to muscle through the problem. A solid coach or mentor can help you identify when this is case, but this is also why teams are assembled, right? Oftentimes it's hard to admit where you're weak points are when you need to be strong to carry your startup. However, leaning into your weaknesses, accepting them, and asking for help will build you and your business up.


Take care of yourself

Make sure to carve out time in your busy schedule to decompress and pull away from work. Your family, friends and external relationships matter. They help add context to your story and may even remind you of your 'why' again. A good coach can help you realize when it's time to take a break. Be sure to keep your well-being top of mind, as impossible as this may sound.


Building at Embarc Collective and being able to establish the coaching methodology, milestone-based curriculum, pairing companies with their coach based on fit, and overseeing the support of 44 Tampa Bay startups has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I look forward to supporting the community even further on my next mission.

So, what's next for me? My long-term professional goal happens to be running an investment fund based here in Tampa Bay. I will be joining Skyway Group Private Equity as a Vice President, and I'm thrilled to begin that journey. My personal email address is, so please keep in touch.


Keep up with the latest in Tampa Bay startup news, local talent interviews and founder resources.
Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.


Improving Website Security


Cybersecurity is a priority topic for many companies, and for good reason. We’ve all seen the headlines about catastrophic data breaches compromising customer information and permanently damaging the company’s reputation.

Every year the number of companies who experience cybercrime is growing. In 2018 there were more than 351,000 breaches reported to IC3--a dramatic increase of roughly 18% when compared to 2016. More shocking? average breach costs $3.86 million in damages. It’s easy to see why increasing website security is your best chance to avoid a growing and costly problem for business owners, especially startups focused on establishing their reputation and encouraging growth.

Focus on these key security tactics when working on your website.


Start with a solid foundation: choose a secure CMS

If your website were a home, the content management system (CMS) would be the foundation. Essentially, it’s the back-end of the site where all your front-facing digital content is managed and updated. There are many popular CMS platforms out there, with WordPress being the most commonly used for startups.

In fact, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, largely because it’s free and offers a wide array of plugins and templates. It’s also a known fact that it is not the most secure platform.  Alternatives like Sitefinity come with a price, but are known for reliable security as part of the CMS architecture. If you’re building or updating your startup’s website, be sure to compare multiple CMS options and vet security features of each.

If you’re partnering with an agency or external partner for your web development project, make sure that your partner has a full understanding of your business and unique needs to choose the best option for your security. While it may be costlier upfront, a data breach can have catastrophic costs for your business.


Using HTTPS will increase website security

HTTPS is a way to encrypt the data that your visitors send between their browser and a web server. It protects personally identifiable data like names, emails, phone numbers, logins and credit card data. This is a relatively quick and immediate way to increase website security.


Some of the security benefits of HTTPS include:

  • It keeps the contents of your web traffic private.
  • It protects users’ internet data from being compromised over public WiFi networks.
  • Some ISPs inject ads into users’ unencrypted web traffic. HTTPS can prevent this.


Having your website on HTTPS has other added benefits, including:

  • SEO benefits: Google factors in HTTPS as part of the overall search ranking, giving HTTPS websites an advantage in search results over HTTP sites.
  • Brand trust: HTTPS allows for a padlock and “secure” tag next to your website URL in the address bar of a browser, building immediate trust with website visitors.


When browsing in Chrome, non-HTTPS sites are labeled by Google with a grey “Not secure” tag next to the URL. To see if your site is secure, using Google Chrome, input your domain into the address bar and if there is a green secure tag to the left of the address, or if there is a padlock, you are secure. If nothing appears, you are not running HTTPS and thus, not secure. This could taint how your website visitors perceive your brand, especially since 60% of all web traffic comes from Google Chrome.

At Bayshore, we’ve helped many customers upgrade to HTTPS.  Click here to learn more about this essential website security upgrade.


Keep your software up-to-date

A very simple but often overlooked preventative measure for website security is keeping all software and plugins up to date. New ways to hack websites come out daily and the developers of your website’s software push out updates to provide you with the latest counter-attack measures. Every update you ignore opens the door to your data just a bit wider to hackers.

To increase website security, install updates to the software that runs your website right when they come out. You’ll be able to take advantage or the latest patches and bug fixes that contribute to overall security. It’s really that simple.

Most software and plugins will provide alerts when an update is available, or allow you to set up an auto-update. Consult with your IT team to figure out the best option. While it’s a more manual process, you can also set up periodic meetings and use a software checklist to see if any updates have been released. It doesn’t matter how it happens, just make sure it does.

This is also a practice that should become mandatory for any software that touches sensitive data within your company

These are just three methods your company can use to increase website security. There are many other factors to consider and steps to take when building a secure website environment. Do you research, partner with an experienced resources if you’re updating your website and make sure your teams are trained on security best practices to avoid a costly cybersecurity problem in the future.


Our partners at Bayshore Solutions contributed this guest post.



Keep up with the latest in Tampa Bay startup news, local talent interviews and founder resources.
Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.


Top Business Leaders Join Jeff Vinik To Form Embarc Collective Founders Circle

Tampa Bay startup hub Board of Directors expands with the addition of top local business leaders


Tampa, Florida — Six key business leaders in Tampa Bay will join Jeff Vinik, Board Chairman of Embarc Collective, Owner of Tampa Bay Lightning, Co-Owner of Strategic Property Partners, to form the Embarc Collective Founders Circle. Embarc Collective is the innovation hub that helps Tampa Bay’s startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies. Located in downtown Tampa, Embarc Collective opened in early January.

“I could not be more excited to welcome such incredible entrepreneurs to the Embarc Collective Founders Circle,” Vinik said, “This has been a team effort from day one, and we are very fortunate to have expanded our ranks with some of the top business leaders in our region. Under Lakshmi Shenoy’s outstanding leadership, there’s virtually no limit to what Embarc Collective can accomplish over the next 5-10 years.”

The Founders Circle includes:

  • Steve Jenkins, Beach Park Capital LLC, and Carole Jenkins, President, Jenkins Charitable Foundation
  • Jason Kuhn, Owner, Kuhn Automotive Group and Courtney Kuhn, Entrepreneur
  • Steve MacDonald, Partner, Florida Funders
  • Brian Murphy, Founder and CEO of Reliaquest

Founders Circle members will be recognized at Embarc Collective’s Official Ribbon Cutting on February 4 and receive permanent recognition at the entrance to Embarc Collective. 

The Founders Circle will be focused on tracking Embarc Collective’s success on three core fronts: attracting, retaining and developing entrepreneurial talent in the Tampa Bay region. In the next quarter, this group is expected to grow to 8 Founders Circle members.

“I am honored to be a part of the Embarc Collective Founders Circle and am excited to continue to work to support the growth of high performing technology companies in the Tampa Bay Area,” said Brian Murphy, Founder and CEO of ReliaQuest, “Understanding the resilience and drive needed to build a business, I look forward to supporting this community of entrepreneurs as they build impactful companies.”

This group will join the current Board of Directors, which includes Vinik, Dr. Rebecca White, James W. Walter Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa, Dave Felman, Shareholder at Hill Ward & Henderson, and Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective. The board provides strategic support and organizational sustainability. 

"I am grateful to have the experience and guidance from this braintrust to ensure this organization and the startups we support can achieve ambitious growth goals,“ said Embarc Collective CEO Lakshmi Shenoy, "With their help, we can achieve the mission of Embarc Collective to help Tampa Bay's startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies."

Embarc Collective is currently open to its startup member population and will host a public Open House on February 12 following the Synapse Summit, register here. Other upcoming Embarc Collective events are listed here.


About Embarc Collective:

Embarc Collective is a 501c3 nonprofit that helps Tampa Bay's startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies and current supports almost 40 early-stage technology startups. The support from Embarc Collective is hands-on and driven by the specific goals and needs of each startup being supported. Later in 2019, Embarc Collective will open its 32,000 square foot innovation hub in downtown Tampa.


For press inquiries, contact:



Keep up with the latest in Tampa Bay startup news, local talent interviews and founder resources.
Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.