Q&A With Revel CEO Jeff Fritz

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When Jeff Fritz became the CEO of Minneapolis healthtech venture Revel (previously known has Healthtel) nearly one year ago, the company had about 20 employees at the time.  Since doubling that to over 40 employees, we connected with Fritz to learn more about what’s working and the future ahead:

Why did you recently decide to change the name from Healthtel to Revel?

Healthtel’s roots were very IVR centric and in today’s world there’s so much more to it — technology preferences and gamification standards. We rebranded the company to mark our new era: it’s part rebel and revolution, part revelation, and also has some reveling in it, as in celebration.

Do you feel like those elements are there for the company right now?

I do — we’re on the leading edge of a health engagement industry that is being reinvented – we’re transforming this company while making a mark on the healthcare industry. To push things forward in this space with all the moving parts isn’t easy, but we are shaking things up from within I believe.

How are you doing that?

We’re making interoperability a reality and that’s a big technology endeavor. In the past, different technologies haven’t communicated well together. We’re seen as a product that is easier to connect to to leverage more data for better health.

What are your customers paying you for?

The bottom line is to positively influence health outcomes. If we can help them get better information to improve targeted care, that reduces claims, which impacts premiums, and improves the well being of people and communities. We can see the impact our campaigns have and It feels to to be a part of that every day.

For example, through our screenings, we have identified countless people who have cancer, assisting them with earlier detection. Same goes those in need of immunizations, or health-risk assessments for nursing teams, etc. We’re kind of at the front-end of the supply chain when it comes to helping health professionals like nurses and doctors (provider organizations) or population health professionals (payers) at insurance companies.

What size or scope are these customers at?

Revel had its roots at large enterprise and we continue that today, Fortune 10 in some cases, some of the biggest organizations in the country.

What kind of fundamental changes have you seen in the mechanics of your business since then?

We’ve moved the organization up a category as far as how we organize our technology delivery. When get around 50 employees, there’s more rigor around how to build and ship SaaS, the organization of sales & marketing, broader processes for growth. Overall more operations established for scale and growth.

What kind of growth or traction have you seen in the marketplace?

Let’s put it this way, right now our challenge is to manage growth, not wonder where it will come from. Our buyers are very excited for where we can go next with them.

What is the value prop that is resonating with them in the market?

Our thing is flexibility through configurability which is different than customization. We’re giving them a wheel to steer with and providing them with increased visibility across their campaigns. The demand is there and it doesn’t take us long for people to say “I want some of that!”

What’s the sales cycle like in such a bureaucratic enterprise environment?

We’re always trying to shorten it of course, but given the regulation and government entities in the medicare and medicaid space, it’s on average 6-9 months.

Do you see parallels between Lighthouse1 – which you founded and exited that company in about a five year span – and Revel?

Yes, though LH1 was more focused on consumer-driven healthcare (think HSA’s and flexible spending), we’re dealing with the security provision of PHI (private health information) and the goals of healthcare in general. This is really conformable to me. (Lighthouse1 became Evolution1, now WEX Health, a publicly traded company.)

How is Revel funded?

We are self-funded and will be opportunistic in the event of raising money.

Opportunistic?

Yes, smart money. Someone well-versed in healthcare, close to the market who can help accelerate growth in what would be a smaller piece of a bigger pie. I’m a believer that if you build a great business, the doors of opportunity will be presented.

What’s the biggest challenge for you right now?

Healthcare is complex and we need to continue simplifying that.

How has the ACA affected the business?

The ACA did a good job of shining light on value-based-care; there’s going to be a continued focus on the outcomes for the dollars spent, which puts a lot of wind in our sails because we help organizations do just that.

What’s next for Revel?

We’re focused on building out our sales and account management teams, along with the technologists needed to keep building product. I would say both topline growth and personnel growth are themes.

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