DI Student Spotlight: Alice Yen

Alice Yen (MBA 2017 Section I) was born and raised in North Carolina. Prior to HBS, she was based in San Francisco, where she worked for health tech startups Collective Health and Mango Health and as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. She is interested in technology solutions that seek to improve our healthcare system and plans to return to San Francisco after school.

What speaker or panel have you attended that was the most interesting and why?

There are so many incredibly panels here at HBS as well as across HBS. One of my favorite talks was by a fellow board member Yuval, who did a talk through CODE@HBS (our campus coding club) on computer architecture. Every week, we have a Lightning Talk Series led by one of our classmates on campus. We’ve seen and talked about everything from drones to machine learning to artificial intelligence. I’ve learned so much from these talks and continue to be amazed by my classmates here on campus.

What is the most interesting Boston-based startup to you and why?

I’m interested in companies that are using technology to better our healthcare system. Boston is a great place to be to do just that.
 One Boston-based start-up I’m watching is Circulation, which spun out of Boston Children’s Hospital. Partnering with ride-sharing service Uber, Circulation is offering tech-enabled transportation for non-emergency medical visits. Through Circulation, patients can schedule rides on a recurring basis fit for their needs (eg, wheelchair accessible, etc), and their ride location is synced up to let providers know they are on their way. While the company is early, Circulation is one great example of how the Boston area can integrate healthcare and technology.
 Another notable company in the Boston area that is further on is PatientPing, which is funded by Google Ventures, First Round Capital, SV Angel, and F-Prime Capital Partners. As more and more providers become part of accountable care organizations that are financially setup to think about the longer-term wellbeing of its patients, PatientPing has created a way to ‘ping’ or notify providers when one of their patients is admitted into another facility to help improve communication between provides and provider better care for their patients.

What tools have you learnt about to define your customer / market?

Here at HBS, we’ve learned about many tools to ‘define your customer,’ using design thinking and utilizing specific metrics to ensure a sustainable business model. For one of my projects, we built a business for new parents and put design thinking techniques into practice. My team and I interviewed 75+ moms and dads, looking to understand their wants and needs. Afterward, we came together to brainstorm different solutions that addressed their pain points. The process of empathizing with our customers, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping, and testing enabled us to put this toolkit to use in defining our market. Before launching, we ran surveys to test willingness to pay and sized the market, thinking about our business model, customer acquisition costs (CAC), and the lifetime value (LTV) of our customers.

Alice Yen (HBS ’17) is a member of the Digital Initiative Student Advisory Board. You can follow along as she pursues her next big thing here.