Ranjan Singh is the co-founder and CEO of HealthHero, a virtual primary care platform.
HealthHero provides a range of telehealth services, such as virtual GP appointments, via a suite of digital tools. Its services are used by businesses and patients in the UK, France, Germany and the Republic of Ireland.
Founded in 2019, the company has since made a spree of acquisitions in its quest to become Europe’s leading telemedicine provider, including its purchase of French telehealth firm Qare in 2021.
The London-headquartered company has raised more than £107m in funding.
In the latest Founder in Five Q&A, Singh shares a common funding mistake that founders make, explains why misconceptions about AI are “stunting” its growth, and reveals a HealthHero initiative aimed at reducing burnout.
1. What was the most important early hire you made?
Bringing our vice president and chief of staff Kayleigh Hartigan on board in April of 2021. Kayleigh has such a deep understanding of European healthcare systems and has very broad knowledge of the public sector.
She has a very well-rounded view of healthcare markets and this has been invaluable to the growth and success of HealthHero.
2. What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?
Having come from a private equity background, my understanding of the commercial and financial operations has been really useful. It has provided a solid foundation for my own entrepreneurial journey. The first piece of advice I always give to people is: make sure your views and plans are aligned with your investors.
Too often companies are not aligned with their investors, but take the money anyway, and are burned further down the road because they don’t agree on the direction of the business. Secondly, there is such a thing as too much funding. Don’t be dazzled by high numbers, be smart and only raise what you need.
But do raise enough to last ideally 18 months or minimum of 12 months to give a clear runway for execution. Otherwise, you are constantly fundraising not building the business.
3. How do you prevent burnout for yourself and your staff?
Personally, I start my day with exercise and meditation, and make sure to take at least one walking break during the day to clear my head. As an employer, I am constantly trying to find ways to reduce stress. One initiative we have introduced is the ‘power hour’ between 1pm and 2pm, which is meeting-free!
This allows people the chance to do what they feel like: walk their dog, have a relaxed lunch, or just clear your emails! We also gave every employee two days off last year, making it a 4 days weekend in September, as a thank you for the incredible work and resilience through the pandemic. The whole company was on holiday, which was amazing for people to switch off and relax.
4. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
It has to be building a startup while raising a young family and completely redeveloping our house…all at the same time. It was insane. Looking back, I wonder what possessed me.
5. What’s the most misunderstood technology?
I think there is still a real misunderstanding of – and fear – around AI. More specifically, there’s ingrained fear about the impact it will have on our lives. Much of this fear revolves around the prospect of technology making our jobs obsolete.
In healthcare, there is a high degree of sensitivity towards the application of any kind of technology, yet the potential of technologies such as AI in healthcare is huge – if we can get it right.
These misconceptions are in many ways stunting the growth of AI. We use AI to augment our clinicians, helping them do their work more efficiently and effectively.
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative startups, scaleups, unicorns and public tech companies – is published every Friday.
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