Health Tech: Jay Goss On How Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact…

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Health Tech: Jay Goss On How Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

The biggest generation in the US (baby boomers) are still retiring/aging..and consuming more and more healthcare services. We need to create more opportunities for healthcare to be delivered in new settings, especially the home (which is very doable now, thanks to telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and new billing codes).

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay Goss.

Jay Goss, Managing Director of Three-Sixty Advisory and General Partner of Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health, has made a career of working with early stage companies, in both consulting and operating roles (CEO, President, COO, GM, SVP, SVO). Hired by the founders and Boards of young companies (typically pre-Seed stage through Series B), he works directly with them developing and executing go-to-market strategies, and essentially getting the business from proverbial first base to second. Jay also has worked “intrapreneurially” inside large/mature companies, developing new lines of business on their behalf, including The Walt Disney Company, Reed Elsevier and Summa Group. He has significant sales, marketing, operations, product development and finance experience (routinely wearing the CFO hat for these companies), as well as working with them to raise capital from angels, celebrities, venture capital firms and strategic investors. Jay earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics & Business from UCLA, and MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I’m 52 years all-in in Los Angeles. I attended all 3 “big schools”, USC for my Masters (MBA), UCLA for undergrad (Economics and Business) and 5 different LAUSD schools from K thru 12 (I had the unique experience of being the first class to experiment with busing, which meant I got to attend a few more schools than the average kid). I graduated from UCLA in 1991, just as the internet was becoming a thing. And as a result, I was immediately attracted into the start-up world (since so many early stage companies were springing up to take advantage of this groundbreaking technology called the world wide web, and mobile after that, especially in California). I never looked back. I started and worked for/with 33 different startups in my 20s, 30s and 40s. And then in my late 40’s I did my “final” start-up: I launched a venture capital fund headquartered in Pasadena (Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health), focused 100% on healthcare, which essentially leverages my start-up credentials. We have invested into nearly 50 early stage companies (all healthcare oriented), and before it’s all said and done, I will get that number to 100+. Today, we stand as the leading early-stage healthcare venture fund in the US. Our biggest claim to fame is that we have almost 300 investors across two funds, nearly all of who are healthcare companies or healthcare executives, giving us a distinct advantage when it comes to discovering high-quality healthcare start-ups, diligencing them, and then supporting them post-investment. We invest between $250K and $3MM into the companies we invest into today, over a couple rounds of financing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I think the opportunity (privilege really) to help 33 companies get off the ground, and learn the good, the bad, and the ugly of the start-up world has been exceptionally interesting. And valuable. Had I graduated from UCLA a few years earlier or a few years later, my career likely would have gone in a totally different direction. Timing is everything.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

So true. My first handful of bosses were so instrumental in helping me accelerate my career. I had tough bosses, thoughtful bosses, and genius bosses. Each time, I learned more about business and industry. And how to manage and lead.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’m a sucker for movie quotes. I love this one, from Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” It really applies to venture backed companies. There is no point in playing it safe. The minute a founder takes venture capital they are signing up for moving as fast as possible. Anything less, and they might as well let the company die.”

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  • Execution eats strategy (and everything else) for breakfast.
  • Be on time. It’s not hard, and so many aren’t…it’s an easy way to stand out.
  • Details matter, but at the same time, don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust and inspire > command and control.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

Our venture fund focuses 100% of its energy (and capital) on healthcare. We want to financially support the healthcare start-ups that are solving the biggest problems in the world of health and wellness, run by extraordinary founders. The healthcare industry has been consistently (and intentionally) behind in adopting technology, so there is a lot of low and mid-hanging fruit to pick (and fund).

How do you think your technology can address this?

Outdated technologies like fax machines, pagers, spreadsheets and even clipboards still are prevalent in healthcare. Productivity gains and health outcomes are going to make giant leaps in the coming years; similar to what you saw in other industries over the past three decades.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

It’s just so fun (probably not the right word) to wander around any healthcare setting (hospital, dental practice, urgent care clinic, skilled nursing facility, etc.) and just observe all the tasks they do that could be improved upon by applying technology. We’re fixing that…to the benefit of all the stakeholders of the healthcare industry.

How do you think this might change the world?

Longer lives, better quality lives, less financial resources being spent on healthcare, better working conditions for the all-important clinicians.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

As AI creeps into healthcare, the decision making that doctors have traditionally done will be “complemented” by technology. That is exciting, but needs to be done very thoughtfully…frankly more thoughtful than other industries, since lives are at stake. But there is no doubt that a medically educated man/woman + machine can better diagnose and treat than man/woman alone.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

  1. In healthcare, the technology being brought to market has to be aware of the nuances of the payer world (especially in the US).
  2. Keeping the clinician in mind is important too. If the technology makes the life better for the patient, but the life worse for the clinician, adoption will be compromised.
  3. Precision medicine is coming. And to do it right means making sure different populations are contemplated.
  4. Too much of healthcare is in the category of great-but-too-expensive. Healthcare technology must focus on access.
  5. The biggest generation in the US (baby boomers) are still retiring/aging..and consuming more and more healthcare services. We need to create more opportunities for healthcare to be delivered in new settings, especially the home (which is very doable now, thanks to telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and new billing codes).

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Skate to where the hockey puck is going, not where it is.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d like to have breakfast with President Obama and learn more about what really pushed his personal agenda around healthcare reform. And if he is busy, I’d like to spend a little time with Kobe Bryant.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

Health Tech: Jay Goss On How Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.