When I first saw Savvy Coop come onto the scene, I’d love their mission but wasn’t so sure about their model. Regardless of my apprehension, I wanted to support a company which I thought was offering something that was badly needed in healthcare. That was empowering the patient voice. Even more than that, it was making it dead simple for companies to get insights from patients.
It’s sad, but true that many healthcare IT and other healthcare organizations don’t take the time to ask patients. They build all sorts of great features, but don’t spend the time needed to really understand how this will work for patients. That’s true of pharma, med device companies, and health IT companies. For this reason, I’m excited to see that Savvy Coop has been so successful.
Asking patients improves healthcare and improves healthcare companies.
However, there’s so much more to the Savvy Coop story. Co-founded by Jen Horonjeff and Ronnie Sharpe, Savvy Coop is a cooperative, not to be confused with a 501(c)3 non profit. No, as a co-op, they don’t benefit from grants and other charitable donations because they’re not a charity. They want to make a profit. What makes them different is that they share those profits with their member owners and the co-op is member controlled.
That’s right. The patients own Savvy Co-op.
In fact, that’s where the story of Savvy Co-op gets really interesting. To Jen and Ronnie’s credit, they’ve literally boot strapped Savvy Co-op to where they’ve gotten today. They’ve been working tireless to build the company while battling their own chronic illnesses and receiving no pay for the work they’ve done. I’m not sure what kind of passion is required to do what they’ve done, but they have it in spades.
The good news is that their work is paying off and they have too many requests for “gigs” as they call them. Too much demand for patient feedback is amazing, but is a problem when you’ve bootstrapped the company and can’t keep up with that demand.
As a Savvy co-owner myself, I was excited to receive the email that they needed all the co-owners of the co-op to vote on changes to the bylaws that would allow for an investor to come on board and allow Savvy Coop to raise the money they need to grow with demand. While this is a no doubt arduous process for Jen and Ronnie who had to wait for the co-op to agree to the changes, it’s pretty empowering to know that I have a voice in what the co-op does.
The best news is that the co-op approved the change to the by-laws and I’m happy to share that Savvy Coop has raised it’s first round of funding from Indie.vc. This seems like a great match since investment in a coop is non-traditional and Indie.vc is a non-traditional VC.
For those not familiar with Saavy Coop, they work with all of the following types of companies:
- Digital health/Tech-Enabled Medical Devices
- Third Party Vendors (market research firms, design agencies, marketing agencies, management consultants, etc)
If you’re a company like these that is looking for feedback from patients, reach out to Savvy Coop to see how they can help you.
If you’re a patient, you can check out all the gigs they have available so you can make some money and do some good sharing your unique insights.
Congrats to Savvy Coop on this amazing milestone. I can’t wait to see all the great impact you have on healthcare as you raise the patient voice in ways that has not been done before. You can already see how they’re bringing the patient voice amidst COVID-19 and I can imagine how much more it will be needed as the pandemic subsides.