Brenda Schmidt and Redesign Health: A new approach to de-risking healthcare startups

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare

Host Eric Thrailkill is joined by Brenda Schmidt, Head of Enterprise Growth at Redesign Health, to discuss how her company’s mission-driven innovation platform is building transformative healthcare companies from the ground up. 

“A year ago you could have a great idea and a good PowerPoint and go out and raise capital,” Brenda shares. “But that’s not the case anymore.” As Brenda explains, investors now require evidence of market traction, such as a million-dollar annual recurring revenue (ARR), before even considering funding.

To be clear, Redesign is not an accelerator or incubator for early stage companies, nor are they a venture capital fund. Armed with a team of approximately 50 research experts and industry advisors with their pulse on the problems in the marketplace, Redesign offers a unique platform that assists with all the aspects of running a company, such as engineering, vendor selection, legal, policy, and accounting services. They also customize business plans to rapidly achieve market validation.

Redesign Health has a unique approach to de-risking startups and supports the growth and scaling of these companies through a combination of both people and technology. 

“We can really be a slingshot to growth,” Brenda says, “both through capital, resources and the platform, that really de-risks and advantages these companies.”

Since their inception four years ago, they have launched 45 successful startups, with 25 more in the works this year alone. And the innovative solutions identified by Redesign’s team become shared services among all their operating companies, allowing them and their founding partners to grow exponentially.

“It becomes a flywheel,” Brenda explains. “We do one, we learn, we build the next one. It gets faster, so you get better at it…And I think it’s just unprecedented speed and scale in the industry that really is trying to redesign health.”

While Redesign Health initially focused on direct-to-consumer businesses, they have recently shifted their focus to business-to-business technology companies. “We’re really leaning into B2B technology businesses that can drive value-based care, alternate types of care, data analytics,” she shares. “We think if we can solve those, we really can accelerate innovation in healthcare.”

In her role as Head of Enterprise Growth, Brenda leads a team responsible for “corporate innovation.” They work closely with over 200 healthcare providers through strategic partnerships to identify inefficiencies and develop solutions. This function, Brenda explains, is crucial in ensuring market traction and attracting investors. 

“More and more we’re finding that the folks who are closest to patient care and understand what’s driving inefficiencies in their organizations are our partners,” she says. “So now we’re going to our partners and saying, what are the opportunities? Where should we be looking? Help us really way upstream with problem identification, and we’ll build those and we’ll build those with you.”

Some of the key challenges Brenda and the Redesign Health team intends to tackle are the changes required for providers transitioning to value-based care. “If you think about a business that has both a fee for service and value-based care operating model, it’s two very different operating models,” she explains. 

To assist with that transition, Redesign launched Syntax, an SaaS-based enterprise tool that helps payors and providers model out their value-based care contracts. “Syntax is gaining a lot of traction,” Brenda reveals, as the platform also helps payers make informed decisions at the point of care, ensuring that they are maximizing the value-based care incentives.

By generating their own ideas like they have with Syntax, and providing capital and support to the founding teams of companies working to address the industry’s pain points, Redesign Health’s approach to building healthcare startups sets it apart from traditional accelerators and incubators and allows them to accelerate growth and innovation throughout the healthcare industry. 

With their new focus on B2B technology companies and a strong commitment to solving healthcare problems like clinician burnout, Redesign Health is well-positioned to make a significant impact on the future of healthcare.

This conversation was captured at the 2023 ViVE Conference in Nashville. Stay tuned for more exciting interviews from the event.

About Brenda Schmidt: Brenda is currently the Head of Enterprise Growth at Redesign Health, a mission-driven innovation platform that builds transformative healthcare companies from the ground up. Previously, Brenda founded Viridian Health and Solera Health to create new models for whole-person care. She also led Coplex, a venture studio partnering with corporations to validate, design and launch new healthcare companies. She has received numerous awards, including EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Best MedTech CEO 2019, Becker’s 102 Women Healthcare IT Leaders, and 2019 Phoenix Top 10 Business Leaders.  Brenda continues to teach entrepreneurship at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, serves as a Director of Delta Dental of Arizona, Startup AZ Foundation, Solera Health, Big Data Studios and Rivia Health, contributes to FierceHealth as an Editorial Board Advisor, and writes for Entrepreneur Magazine. 

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