Audax Health CEO Shares His Story
Grant Verstandig was a sophomore at Brown University when he decided to quit school over his knee injury. Grant was a lacrosse player and he was devastated when told he could no longer play his favorite sport. He searched health websites about his condition but he was disappointed with the experience. He wanted a safe place where he can communicate his experiences and share information with other patients. He dropped out of school in order to bring “the power of social networking and customization to healthcare, in a way that protected personal privacy”. Through networking and perseverance, he was able to meet angel investors and mentors who helped him put up Audax Health. He also launched Careverge and has raised over $16 million. Below is his story as he told Forbes.
I dropped out of Brown the second semester of my sophomore year and returned home to Washington, D.C. to pursue my goal of bringing the power of social networking and customization to healthcare, in a way that protected personal privacy.
I reached out to former Brown University professors, like Barrett Hazeltine, who ran the entrepreneurship program there.
Eventually the pieces began to come together. Professor Hazeltine introduced me to some incredible contacts within the Brown network, and through that network, I met a few angel investors. One was the CEO of TIAA-CREF and the former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Roger Ferguson, who was willing to take a chance on me and my start-up, Audax Health. Rick Klausner, a long-time family friend who helped set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global health program and headed the National Cancer Institute, agreed to serve as chairman. Through Roger and Rick, I met John Rowe, the former chairman of Aetna. Lastly, a Georgetown professor connected me with the founder of a health care company. He heard my pitch, and decided to introduce me to John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple.
Gaining John’s support was a major turning point for me. Not only did he become an investor in Audax Health, but he also took on the role of mentor. The ability for an entrepreneur to listen, and absorb the advice of others is a good way to increase your odds at success. I am not embarrassed to admit what I do not know. John, Rick Klausner, and many others have been vital in guiding and teaching me that it’s not about not making mistakes. It’s about being part of a team that helps you make mistakes quickly, or “fail fast” as they say, and learning not to make the same mistakes twice.
A young entrepreneur really does need a team to tell it like it is.
I formally launched Careverge, our flagship product into Beta in January, and brought on as my first customer Value Options, the largest independent behavioral health and wellness company that provides services to more than 30 million people. I’ve raised $16.5 million, and grown Audax to more than 63 employees. …
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