Move carefully, and whatever you do don’t break anything

Building a healthcare start-up is about people, the usual rules of start-up world don’t apply.

18 months ago I decided that I wanted to change the world of medicine by building a start-up that was going to solve many of the issues we see with health inequality today. I wanted to build something big that could revolutionize the way people approached healthcare, but I had no cash and just an idea. And although I had been a doctor for over a decade, and published widely in the academic sense, I had never built a healthcare company. I was naive.

Turns out, building a company is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. If I were coaching my future self I would say, “Zeeshan this is going to be hard, building a company is hard, building something in healthcare that matters is even harder, get ready to give up a bit of your soul.” Most of you will know why its hard - I don’t need to tell you about that. But I wanted to share my experiences so those of you who are doing the important work of defining the future of healthcare don’t make the same mistakes as me. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Build your team with people who are are better than you. I wouldn't describe our lead data scientist as an objectively beautiful man, but he is probably the smartest person I know and every day I see myself falling for him a little bit more (I’m totally straight, but in awe of him). I actually feel like that about our entire team. Bringing together bright people is the best offensive strategy to prevent your start-up from failing.

Zeeshan Akhtar is CEO of Scout Health, a disease prevention platform. Find out more at www.scout-health.com.

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