© 2017 500 Startups

Case Study: BenRevo

Selling to health insurers is difficult: sales cycles average 1.5-2 years, and relations with a handful of large (Fortune 100) clients can dictate the adoption of your product. Learn how BenRevo overcame these difficulties on a lean startup budget.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Closed $2.3M seed round

Signed 12 month $400K contract with United Health Care

Signed 2.5 year contract with Anthem Blue Cross

    BenRevo helps insurance companies automate their sales process by providing modern tools to their distribution channel. 

THE CHALLENGE:

  

When sales to large health insurers take months and years, it is impossible to experiment and iteratively improve upon your messaging / product. With that in mind, how can a startup survive, let alone succeed?

  • Bureaucracy at large healthcare insurers leads to 18 - 24 month sales cycles, which unfortunately is often longer than the average startup's lifespan

  • Learning about the decision-making process, motivations, and challenges of consumers takes time

HOW THE 500 PROGRAM HELPED:

  • Internalizing an experimentation culture: frequent check-ins with growth-hackers and formerly successful entrepreneurs ensured the company was planning and executing quickly on a backlog of growth strategies / "experiments"

  • Focusing on key metrics that matter: coaches provided valuable lessons on team management, and actively ensuring that all team-members were focused on certain key metrics helped with prioritization of various business function

  • Implementing proven growth hacking strategies: mentors sat down weekly to help the team contextualize and understand the results of various experiments, and provided ideas regarding strategies for future sales and marketing experiments 

  • Validating Product-Market fit: experts from healthcare helped to sharpen the value proposition to the various stakeholders involved, which - in addition to insights provided by various experiments - helped to solidify and validate product-market fit

THE RESULTS:

Closed $2.3M in seed round funding within 6 months of program

Rigorous evaluation of the results provided by organized experimentation helped Zentist repeatedly determine pain-points amongst consumers and dentists, which ultimately refined product development and marketing messaging. These efforts have helped realize sustained growth.

Signed 12 month $400K contract with United Health Care

Since joining the program in Aug. 2016, Zentist has on-boarded several hundred new dental clinics and expanded the breadth of services offered; such measures have led to an annualized GMV of $4.5M.

Signed 2.5 year contract with Anthem Blue Cross

Showing sustained growth and improvement across various key metrics helped Zentist attract investors and close a seed round of $2M.

Jimson Tharayil,

Co-Founder

Zentist started out as a medical travel platform and, because of our backgrounds being founders of previously successful consumer healthcare ventures, we did not feel confident pivoting based on the feedback and real world data. 500 Startups helped us have a constant growth mindset, and we embraced the change in our strategy immediately.

Ojas Sitapara,

Co-Founder

"Embrace what doesn’t work” is my main takeaway from 500 Startups. Before joining 500 Startups, I was an extremely risk averse entrepreneur and every failed growth / acquisition tactic was a bad experience for me. 500 really sequences your marketing DNA and reorders your growth nucleotides in such a way that you turn your failed efforts into valuable experiments you can learn from.