How the startup moved from New York to northeast Ohio to kick off major growth
For most Americans, it’s an unfortunate reality that finances surrounding healthcare are difficult, costly and confusing. But a Cleveland company is seeking to change that, and a new acquisition is set to turbocharge its growth. MedPilot’s software platform provides a variety of solutions to simplify confusing processes and improve the experience for all involved. From a browser-based payment platform and a dedicated support staff that helps patients to customer retention software and patient engagement help for clinicians, MedPilot provides a holistic approach.
“We help patients better understand and resolve medical expenses, but we also communicate with patients about a wide range of things,” said co-founder and chief marketing officer Matt Buder Shapiro. “We take the approach that if you can help navigate a patient through their healthcare experience, it’s not just going to resolve their balance, but they’re also going to have a better, healthier life. MedPilot includes many administrative communication functions like partner provider surveys that’s all designed with the patient at the core. We’ve worked with over a million patients and we’re thrilled to have a 97 percent satisfaction score.”
Last year, MedPilot partnered with New Jersey-based healthcare organization Vytalize Health to expand into clinical engagement, patient monitoring, care management and more. The partnership grew quickly as the companies saw value in one another, and on Feb. 17 the pair announced that Vytalize was acquiring MedPilot and its 35-plus employees. Shapiro called the acquisition “really, really exciting,” and said it will only help MedPilot grow and expand its Cleveland presence.
“We will still be in Cleveland in more than just name — Vytalize is going to be there, our headquarters are still in Cleveland, our employees are all in Cleveland,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity for us to speed up our growth and customer base. We’re able to still do what we’re doing as MedPilot while also expanding our technology. They’re really looking to double down and to invest in our Cleveland operation. Thankfully, that was not even something we needed to negotiate with them. So for us, it was a really easy and thoughtful partnership that allowed us to grow in a place that is very special to us.”
For MedPilot, growing in Cleveland isn’t just about maintaining consistency or keeping their headquarters. The company receives funding from two Ohio sources, Valley Growth Ventures and the JumpStart Evergreen Fund. They relocated from New York to Cleveland in 2018 in part because of their connections to northeast Ohio — Shapiro is from Shaker Heights, for example — but also because it was the perfect place to grow the company. So when they began talking about the Vytalize acquisition, remaining in Ohio was never in question.
“When we were considering moving away from New York, of course Cleveland was on the list because it is a very affordable city and there’s a lot of value there, but that story has been told plenty of times,” he said. “The real reason for us was that we have an incredible talent pool in Cleveland that, in my opinion, is still untapped. Especially as a healthcare company, you’re not going to find a better place with more people that are going to help you move these companies forward, and that is ultimately how your company is successful. Your people are everything. So for us, it was an absolute no brainer. There have been a ton of very, very difficult decisions over these past five years to make as a startup. I think by far, the most successful one we made was moving our company to Cleveland. That was the best decision we’ve made.”
With a merger under their belt and a new era dawning with Vytalize, MedPilot has their sites set higher than ever. Shapiro said the company has always had lofty goals to change the lives of people struggling with healthcare finances, and the new partnership only strengthens their ability to do so.
“Our initial goal and mission at MedPilot was to transform the patient and physician financial space,” he said. “Medical bills are an unfortunate reality that affect all of us. And whether you’re talking to a random person off the street or the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, everybody understands that medical bills are very confusing and usually very expensive. It’s very important for us to take that process into the 21st century. That mission still remains the same, but as a company we knew that was just part of the equation of transforming healthcare. We knew that we were just a small piece of it. We wanted to expand our scope. Vytalize’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to value-based care. We think the same way, and hopefully we’ll be able to take the next steps together.”