A partner at our law firm said this to me recently: “As far as I can tell, when you are a start-up CEO, you basically have to walk through walls on a daily basis.”
Meet Julie Lawrence, Founder of Eviset, the nation’s leading provider of business indicators and data analytics on the $200B supply side of the social care sector — e.g.food banks, housing supports, transportation assistance, adult daycare, etc., that address basic human needs before they turn into costly medical problems.
Julie’s focus in her career has been to find, enable and fund emerging models in healthcare that are deeply impactful. She believes these are innovative care models that deliver outsized health impact for people and outsized financial returns. Julie has also been actively involved with Wharton Alumni Angels as a Board Member and Investor where she invests in and helps direct money and talent towards healthcare companies for the best financial and human returns.
Julie launched Eviset in 2022 to improve health and health equity for people and communities by empowering health plan decision makers to optimize referrals for >100M people on Managed Medicaid and Medicare Advantage
The many organizations responsible for financing the health and well-being of our communities — health care systems, insurance plans, governments, to name a few — know that offering social care services to their patients and members is a win-win. Individuals experience better health, and cost savings follow.
Tell us a bit about your company
Eviset is the nation’s leading provider of business indicators and data analytics on the supply side of the social care sector — e.g.food banks, housing supports, transportation assistance, adult daycare, etc., that address basic human needs before they turn into costly medical problems.
We see huge opportunities for data-driven approaches including AI, NLP and LLMs to help the social care sector leapfrog from the current state of limited efficiency and lack of standardized quality feedback to transparent, efficient, and effective community-based care for people in need.
What stage of funding are you at?
We have some angel funding, we also are bootstrapping based on customer revenues, and we are planning to raise institutional funds.
What inspired you to start your business — what opportunity in the market are you seeking to address?
Health is big business and social care is an emerging growth trend with a big market and long tail. 1 out of every 5 Americans have trouble meeting their basic human needs, such as stable housing, adequate food, and reliable transportation. When those basic needs aren’t met, minor health problems quickly escalate into costly medical problems. Health plans and health systems are clearly incentivized to avoid that, but they are not specialized in providing those services themselves.
In the U.S. those needs (aka social care) have traditionally been met by a large, but fragmented sector of local non-profits. Now we have emerging data that shows just how impactful it can be for the health sector to contract for these services for their members — but as the health sector has been trying to forge these new relationships, they hit a wall we’ve heard described as “flying blind”, “data void”, or “black hole”. Core business indicators for the fragmented social care provider sector have been largely invisible. That has been holding back this key source of ROI and care improvement for the health sector. We’re changing that.
What is it about your personal background, experience, or perspective that fuels your passion for this venture?
What I have always loved about working in healthcare is that it maximizes engagement for both your brain and heart.
On the brain side — My co-founder, Venus Wong, and I met at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) where we were trained on how to design care models that can help the U.S. get MORE health for LESS money.
As a Wharton MBA, I can’t abide the fact that we spend 20% of GDP in the U.S. on healthcare, but our health outcomes are at the bottom of the list of all advanced economic nations. That’s just bad business! And not just for the health sector. Those wasteful costs are passed on to every employer lamenting the increased health plan rates that erode their profit margins. With that lens, high quality social care services are a no brainer.
What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?
Less than a year after we founded the company, we were selected by California Dept. of Healthcare Services as one on a very short list of high quality vendors working with social care providers across the state to help facilitate contracting with Managed Care Plans. California’s “CalAIM” program is a major transformation that identifies social care services as a reimbursable Medicaid benefit. California’s program is widely seen as a model for the rest of the nation. We’re thrilled to be a part of this from the ground up.
We’re also pretty excited about being selected for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Health Equity Initiative. It offers us lots of tech resources that are we using in our first market — Philadelphia, home to all of us WAFFA women.
More importantly, we’re honored to be recognized for one of our company’s core values — health equity. This basically means that access to good health should not be dependent on things like your income level, your race, where you live, etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the U.S. today. But — social care supports really do make a huge contribution to leveling the field and supporting health equity.
We’ve already said that the ROI on social supports makes financial sense. They also just make human sense.
What has been one or two of your biggest learnings so far?
Translating from big disruptive market vision into micro-decisions like “Feature A or B?” or even “what should I make happen this day?” is really hard.
What is an obstacle that you are grappling with as you continue to build this venture?
One obstacle? A partner at our law firm said this to me recently: “As far as I can tell, when you are a start-up CEO, you basically have to walk through walls on a daily basis.” It’s more like that.
What surprises have you encountered as an entrepreneur? Something out of left field?
I never stop thinking about this business. Can’t remember what it is like to wake up in the morning and have my first thought about something besides the company. Don’t tell my family!
How can the WAFFA community help you?
We’re especially interested in connecting with Health Plans and Health Systems that want to drive improved health outcomes and reduce costs for traditionally underserved communities like the Medicaid population, or high-need patients like older adults on Medicare Advantage.
We plan to raise a Seed round in 2023, and also welcome connections with investors who, like us, also see both a financial and social impact opportunity in the Eviset B2B marketplace.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Sometimes we will be white-boarding about an idea for a product feature or how to articulate a value prop, and then we’ll hear from a prospective customer practically the exact same words. I literally get goose bumps and do a happy dance. It’s such a great experience to be deeply aligned with the customers you serve and create from that place.