The $50 Million Earache
Who would have thought that an earache would lead to an idea worthy of a recent $50 million infusion of capital from DST Global’s Yuri Milner? That’s just what happened to one of New York City’s up-and-coming tech startup companies.
An Idea is Hatched
ZocDoc founder Cyrus Massoumi was on a business trip from Seattle to New York City. He suffered a ruptured eardrum on his flight. Once on the ground he spent 4 painful days seeking an Ear, Nose, and Throat (E-N-T) specialist with an available appointment. Needless to say the experience got him thinking about easier, better ways of finding immediate medical assistance.
In September 2007 ZocDoc, an online, free appointment booking service launched in New York City via TechCrunch. Initially the service was available as a trial for dentist appointments only. After beginning with just 5,000 online dental appointments in New York, ZocDoc has grown, in just 4 short years, to 5,000,000 online medical appointments, across 10 metropolitan areas, offering primary care doctors and specialties such as cardiology, OB-GYN, pediatrics, and E-N-T.
Simple, Easy-to-Access System
What makes ZocDoc unique is the ability to actually book an appointment with a doctor right online.
And for those on-the-go, well “there’s an app for that”! ZocDoc appointments can be made directly from your iPhone or Android. Patients have access to each participating doctor’s appointment schedule and are able to book both short and longer term appointments. The appointment is automatically entered on the doctor’s calendar – no phone calls required! Patients have the added benefit of reviewing doctor profiles and reviews from other patients before making appointments. An amazing 40% of appointments that are booked take place within 24-hours and 60% take place within three days. 700,000 patients per month are currently using ZocDoc to find doctors.
Doctors have joined the ZocDoc roster either through the recruitment efforts of the ZocDoc sales team in each metropolitan area or through referrals from other doctors. Participating doctors pay a flat monthly membership fee to ZocDoc. When new markets open up, they typically launch with 3 basic practices: primary care, dermatology, and OB-GYN and then begin expansion to other specialties. Participating doctors represent dozens of different medical specialties.
Since potential patients have access to each doctor’s full calendar, including time slots available as a result of cancellations, doctors are able to improve their overall office efficiency with the on-line appointment making system. ZocDoc’s system even does all the recall and reminder emails to patients. The team also provides website enhancements for the doctors to make new patient acquisition easier and more cost-effective.
The Lifeblood of the Business
The NYC Biz Space Team had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Oliver Kharraz, COO and Founder of ZocDoc as well as some of his team at their headquarters at 568 Broadway in New York City during Internet Week/WalkAboutNYC. It was a pretty exciting day for everyone – the latest market providing ZocDoc service had just launched in Philadelphia and walls were being torn down in the New York office to accommodate the company’s rapid growth! Added hype notwithstanding, it was clear that the ZocDoc team loves coming to work each day. The collaborative, open environment fosters discussion and sharing of ideas between all employees. Catered healthy lunches, downtime activities giving the team a chance to unwind and relax, and on-going employee recognition (the Monster-of-the-Week gets passed around!) helped make ZocDoc become one of Crain’s Top 10 Places to Work in NYC in 2010.
The young superstars of ZocDoc are laser-focused on achieving their vision of improving access to health care nationally and internationally. According to Allison Braley, Director of Public Relations, “ZocDoc is a very mission-driven organization and the team loves being part of an exciting ride where they are able to make a difference and see a measurable impact from the work they put in.”
Being right in the heart of SoHo and Silicon Alley makes it even more exciting for them. There’s great access to transportation, shopping, food, nightlife, and other like-minded talent – all the amenities that make recruitment for this fast-growing company just a bit easier.
What’s in the Pipeline
ZocDoc fully intends to become a national brand within the next 12 to 18 months. That’s 41 more states to go! Talk about job creation! Check out ZocDoc’s Careers if you’re ready to help reinvent health care.
With the recent investment from DST Global, the national and international expansion plan is definitely within the realm of possibility. Congratulations ZocDoc! Keep up the good work with your team and your constituents in need of better access to health care providers.