Every year, over 70 million people in the US struggle to find and book a new doctor, and no wonder: even with a recommendation from a friend, the doctor might not take your insurance, or you can’t get an appointment for 4 months.
“The spark for BetterDoctor came after years of personal struggles with the health system,” said Co-founder and CEO Ari Tulla. “I decided that there needs to be a better way to solve the problem of discovery and booking of doctors. My thesis was and still is that by taking the best from gaming, mobile and social media you can disrupt the way healthcare is delivered to consumers.”
BetterDoctor builds web and mobile apps that help you find a good quality doctor in minutes. Think OpenTable for doctors: you can select a specialty and insurance plan and book a doctor right from the app.
Joined by co-founder Tapio Tolvanen, a former colleague at Nokia who has been itching to start up for a few years, the team is passionate about solving this huge problem. “I think the most surprising thing so far has been the positive response from many wonderful doctors and other industry veterans who appreciate our effort towards simplicity and transparency.
While they are operating in the large and complex healthcare market, Tulla said they don’t consider themselves a healthcare company. “We are a local commerce player which operates in same market as Yelp, OpenTable, Foursquare and Groupon.”
As for the startup life, Tulla is a very enthusiastic supporter. “Over the last 15 years I have built multiple physical and online products, and every day has been a learning experience. The best part of building your own company is that the learning curve is even steeper than before. If I would have known how much fun building BetterDoctor can be I would probably have started already started earlier!”
BetterDoctor, one of our showcased startups at this week’s Tech Cocktail San Francisco mixer, is currently live in Bay Area and working tirelessly to improve the service with more doctors, specialties and insurance plans. The goal is to roll out BetterDoctor in multiple cities before end of the year.
Based on early feedback for their beta website and upcoming mobile products, Tulla said, “We are on a right path.”