Featured Founder: Saru Seshadri of Constellation4 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 Saru Seshadri of Constellation4 Health, which is a healthcare technology innovator with a mission to positively impact patient outcomes by reimagining the relationship between payers and providers.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
I have been a technologist my entire career and love building products and solutions. Ultramatics, my first company, became a leading IBM Healthcare partner where we implemented large-scale enterprise health solutions for companies such as several Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations, Healthways, Cigna, Healthplan Services, and more. As I was contemplating the next innings in my professional career, I was inspired to launch Constellation4 Health due to my experiences with healthcare from many angles: My personal health, my family’s health, as an employer providing healthcare benefits, and as a technology solution provider to the healthcare industry.
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
Healthcare is broken and unsustainable! Patients are tired of surprise bills; healthcare providers are burned out due to a focus on paperwork over care and Health Insurance companies are spending excessively with no results.
Our mission to positively impact patient outcomes is very personal to our team and me.
I personally experienced surprise bills while in the hospital with Covid, and the average person pays an additional $750 in out-of-network costs each year. I also experienced major problems with access to care while being a caretaker for several family members. Almost everyone I speak to has similar stories of caring for loved ones and the frustration that comes with being a caretaker.
I have unique insights into how payer-provider collaboration works and the frictions thereof impacting patient outcomes. While policies and regulations can only address systemic issues, there is a tremendous opportunity to reimagine payer-provider experiences.
We offer four key solutions in the Healthcare industry: Provider Data Management, Healthcare Analytics and Provider Network Management to Health Insurance Companies and Referral Management to Healthcare Providers.
What makes me excited to go to work every day are the people I get to work with, partners I get to grow with, products I get to help create, and the challenge of building the company.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Covid-19 hit one month after officially launching the company. We had to reinvent the startup culture, focus on products & solutions, market fit, mission, and team-building with a pandemic going around. While remote working was not new, the sudden quarantine restrictions and 100% remote in an early-stage company brought its challenges.
We overcame these challenges because of our incredible team who persevered through every curveball that was thrown our way (including severe quarantine restrictions and the rapid spread of Covid). We were fortunate to have a great customer in Argus Dental and Vision who took an interest in our vision and partnered with us.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We have been fortunate to grow to this point without raising any outside capital. Now that we are gaining traction with our solutions and team, we are further investing in our people, partnerships, and products for scale. We plan on raising a pre-seed round in Q4 of this year with strategic investors to help catalyze our velocity.
We are proud to be a Salesforce ISV, Consulting, and AppExchange partner and building on this relationship along with our other Strategic Partners is key to continued sales growth.
There are a few key roles we also need to hire for including a CTO, sales, etc.
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.
Sales can cure many illnesses. Laser focus on finding product-market fit in rapid fashion.
With that being said, mission, culture, and core values are just as important as revenue. Embodying and implementing them is even more of a challenge while operating entirely remotely. Income is needed to realize this goal. Balancing between them is a tough act!
Build a group of Advisors and coaches who will challenge you, hold you accountable and provide strategic direction. We have an incredible Advisory Board, leverage Embarc’s group of Executive Advisors, and also are a customer of Gartner’s who is validating our solutions.
Why Tampa Bay?
I moved to Tampa Bay in 1997 and originally planned to be here for one year. I found Tampa Bay to be the perfect place to raise a family while building a company. Fast forward 25 years, it is fascinating to be here with what is happening in Tampa and St Pete’s technology ecosystem. Tampa Bay is now home and I am blessed to be connected with some great people here and contributing back to the community.