Gene Groys, the entrepreneur behind OnShift, is taking the lessons he learned from launching that company and applying them to his new venture: MedaSync.
He isn't straying far from his expertise.
OnShift is a Cleveland-based post-acute care and senior living staff scheduling software company. Groys is now well on his way to a formal launch of MedaSync, which will offer a new software tool for nursing homes to manage rising costs and analyze clinical, financial and insurance information.
So far, MedaSync has eight customers across multiple states and has raised $650,000 in pre-seed funding, $550,000 of which came from its current round, led by Valley Growth Ventures.
"Our mission is really helping nursing homes navigate a lot of the big, immense changes that are going on in the health care environment that are impacting their ability to stay financially sound," said Ryan Edgerly, CEO of MedaSync.
Groys and Edgerly, both of whom have experience in the nursing home space, sat down two years ago in a Panera Bread to brainstorm ideas and share problems they'd heard from clients. They'd noticed some big changes in the landscape as a result of payer reform and the Affordable Care Act. They turned to a number of clients in the marketplace and people in the industry to see if they'd be willing to share their data.
"We got in and we set up shop, and we just kind of started iterating some different theories and hypotheses until we landed on where we were today," said Edgerly, who also played a strategic role in OnShift.
What they eventually came up with was MedaSync, a software tool that helps manage admissions, predict costs and monitor things like high-costs medications and equipment. On the back end, the software offers data analytics around clinical, financial and insurance information, effectively "providing a level of logic and intelligence on top of their data," Groys said.
OnShift was one of Groys' early forays into the entrepreneurial space, he said. It took time to figure out what specific problem he was looking to solve, and the work pivoted a number of times. He learned the importance of spending time validating a product and bringing on industry expertise.
"I think there's a lot of learning, but you know, also very proud of what I was able to accomplish with OnShift," Groys said
Today, OnShift has thousands of nursing home customers across the country, employs several hundred people and has raised close to $33 million, he said.
In six months, MedaSync has gotten to a point that took OnShift three to four years to reach.
"Now, we have the industry expertise, we've got product market fit, we've got the right team and we bootstrapped it up to this point instead of taking on investment to learn all those painful lessons," Groys said.
Groys and Edgerly had been funding their efforts themselves along with some grants, including $100,000 from the Youngstown Business Incubator. But as of a couple weeks ago, they secured significant funding from Valley Growth Ventures.
"Now with our recent funding, we're adding bodies, we're adding developers, we're enhancing our product," Edgerly said.
The company has five employees today, with plans to grow that to 10 by the end of the year and at least 20 by the end of 2019.
Ernie Knight, managing director of Valley Growth Ventures, said the strong team behind MedaSync helped him make the decision to support it with funding.
"If you look at Ryan and Gene, they both are experienced entrepreneurs," he said. "But even more so they're experienced in the market space that they're entering, the nursing home market. They've both had experience in a startup within that. They've worked together before, which kind of takes off the table sort of interpersonal issues because they've had a background together."
On top of that, in researching what potential customers were looking for, Knight said he found that "the predictive analytic solution that they've developed was a clear 'must-have' across the board."
Barbara Ewing, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator, agreed that the strength and knowledge of the MedaSync team "truly is a differentiator for them in the market." YBI has supported MedaSync with marketing assistance, help with pitches, making connections and more, as well as the $100,000 in capital.
"They have spent a lot of time personally engaged with the health care industry and specifically focusing on nursing care, so it's an area that they know," Ewing said. "Certainly they also both have strengths in software development and creating a business around that. So we love the idea, but in particular we love the team that they've built."
MedaSync hasn't done a big market launch yet, but Edgerly said he would guess that would be possible by the end of this year.
"There's a lot to be said of launching at the right time," Groys said. "That's how we're going about doing it."